Interview with early Apple employee Daniel Kottke

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Daniel Kottke demos the Microwriter (Photo by Avi Solomon)

Avi Solomon interviewed Daniel Kottke at his home in Palo Alto on 2nd September, 2011. He says:

I had a wide-ranging conversation with Daniel Kottke (Apple employee #12) on Silicon Valley's innovation culture. Daniel also talked about his trip to India with Steve Jobs during their hippie years. Steve Jobs did not find miracles in the ashrams of India but he made the true magic happen in a garage in California.

Daniel Kottke interview by Avi Solomon


    1. diatribe about psychedelics

      I’m not sure diatribe means what you think it does.

      But, anyway, to each his own… I loved that part and found it really interesting.

  1. Near the end he starts talking about the use of psychedelics in handling stress to prevent the onset of cancer. I continue to think the stress that Steve Jobs put on himself certainly fed his cancer. Your body will eat you alive if you let your thoughts, worries, and fears control you.

    1. I continue to think the stress that Steve Jobs put on himself certainly fed his cancer.

      Actually, from what I understand Steve lasted longer than most people who had that particular rare form of cancer.

      Jobs lived more than seven years with his neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer while many die much sooner than that… much less run a giant tech company, show up to most (if not all?) of the board meetings and even show up to to the keynotes, etc.

      So, it would appear he handled the stress very well.  Especially considering how massively painful and crippling the disease is.  If you’ve ever just even had a mild pancreatitis, you’d know what living hell feels like.  I’ve never had it myself, but a loved one has had it and it’s a living nightmare of pain.

      I don’t think stress fed his cancer, I think Steve’s amazing resolve kept it at bay for so long.

      Ok, everyone… now let me know I’m brainwashed and worship Steve like a God.  I don’t care.

      1. Surviving seven years with pancreatic CA is prodigious. Plus, I’m not sure that the ‘stress makes it worse’ theory is valid. We used to tell people with injuries to take it easy, but it turns out that people who get back into their routine quickly and vigorously heal faster. Waiting for death might make it happen sooner than throwing yourself into your work.

  2. Also, Mr. Kottke mentions that Steve Jobs worked for Atari around 1972. I wasn’t aware of this. What was his job there? He couldn’t program, so I imagine he was in marketing?

    1. Thanks, I wasn’t aware of his involvement in Breakout, and wasn’t aware that Jobs was technical enough to design circuit boards. Did Jobs also write prototype assembly code, or was that all done by Woz?

      It also sounds like the classic manager-programmer dynamic: “The original deadline was met after Wozniak did not sleep for four days straight. In the end 50 chips were removed from Jobs’ original design. This equated to a US$5,000 bonus, which Jobs kept secret from Wozniak, instead only paying him $375.” Kind of a dick move, especially considering the bonus was all based on Woz’s hard work. With inflation, that was a $27,000 bonus in today’s economy. To come full circle, this is the money Daniel Kottke references that Steve used to pay for Daniel’s plane ticket to India….

    1. He had a rare mild form

      He had a rare form of pancreatic cancer that typically has a much longer survival rate, but it’s definitely not “mild” and highly curable.  Many die in 1-3 years while milder forms of this rare form are lucky if they live 5-10 years.

      If you get catch it early and remove it right away, you may live longer than 10 years (once again, if lucky).

      From what I understand, Steve had a more severe form of this and it is, indeed, remarkable he lived for as long as he did and remained quite active during this time as well.

      Was it a costly mistake to not remove it surgically and would he still be here if he did?  Probably.

      1. geee…wish I had medical insurance..but then, I live in the’ good old’  u.  s.  a. and don’t have a job..but –got a disease–richest country in the world-? -in what sense ?

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