Steve Jobs is often considered a pioneer of the technology world. Like all great people, they tend to have some quirks as well. So here are 7 actual strange truths about Steve Jobs.
1. No showers, no shoes.
When Steve Jobs worked at game-maker Atari, he was put on the night shift because of his hygiene. His authorised biographer, Walter Isaacson recalled in his biography of Steve Jobs that employees didn’t want to work with him because he never bathed and would walk around the office in his bare feet.
2. Steve Jobs doesn’t need a licence plate.
Steve Jobs drove a Mercedes SL55 AMG and managed to keep a licence plate off it for years due to a loophole in California vehicle laws. Anyone in California has a maximum of six months after the issuing of a plate number to put a licence plate on a new car. Jobs changed cars every six months to a new, identical model so he could keep the plates off. No real reason for this has ever been revealed, other than Jobs’ desire to live the “Think Different” motto.
3. ‘The chairman’s special parking spot’
Steve Jobs also routinely parked in the handicap parking spot. Apple veteran Andy Herzfield wrote on his website Folklore: “He seemed to think the blue wheelchair symbol meant it was reserved for the chairman.” Jobs allegedly parked there in order to discourage disgruntled employees from keying his car, but it often resulted in unknown parties retaliating anyway, according to Herzfield. To his credit, Jobs probably did need access to the handicap spot in the last few years when his health was rapidly declining, but he should have got a permit to do so.
4. Smelly Steve.
Though Jobs dabbled in veganism, he was actually a pescetarian most of the time, meaning he would eat fish but no other types of meat. Jobs believed that a vegan lifestyle meant his body was flushed of mucus – and that, subsequently, it meant he was free from body odour, so he didn’t need to wear deodorant or shower regularly. Unsurprisingly, co-workers say that he was very, very wrong. Actually, the possible lack of complete proteins in meatless diets might impede the body’s detoxification process, which “could make him smell even more”, nutrition expert JJ Virgin told NBC News, although the diminished mucus production levels could be true.
5. The Lisa mystery.
The Lisa, a personal computer designed by Apple during the 1980s, was named after Jobs’ then-estranged daughter, Lisa Nicole Brennan, whose paternity Jobs denied for years, claiming he was sterile. Although Jobs eventually confirmed the source of the PC’s name to his biographer – “Obviously it was named [after] my daughter,” he said – Apple’s marketing team initially reverse engineered an acronym to fit the computer’s name, saying it stood for Local Integrated System Architecture. Privately, some software developers used Lisa: Invented Stupid Acronym while computer industry pundits jokingly referred to it as Let’s Invent Some Acronym.
6. The lowest salary at Apple.
Jobs had an annual salary of $1.00 for over a decade. This isn’t unheard of in the CEO world: Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have all followed suit with a $1-a-year salary. With 5.5 million shares in Apple stock valued around $377 each in 2011, it’s safe to say he probably wasn’t missing the salary too much. Jobs joked in 2007: “I get 50 cents a year for showing up, and the other 50 cents is based on my performance.”
7. Exactly the right shade of yellow.
Jobs once called Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, on a Sunday while he was at a religious service. The urgent issue? “I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon,” Jobs said. “The second O in ‘Google’ doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?” Jobs then sent him a follow-up email with the subject line “Icon Ambulance”. Gundotra recalled this story fondly in 2011 when it had just been announced that Jobs was resigning as Apple’s CEO, praising Jobs’ attention to detail. “It was a lesson I’ll never forget,” he wrote. “CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow.