Last week, Open Road Films released the first clip from jOBS, which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. This scene depicts an early meeting between Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) and Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) where the discuss the future of personal computers. As it turns out, Steve Wozniak himself viewed the clip, and reveals that there are many things wrong with it, including the fact that it was he who saw the value in personal computers, not Steve Jobs, as depicted movie.
Check out the clip, and then read on for Steve Wozniak's own personal insight.
"Not close...we never had such interaction and roles...I'm not even sure what it's getting at...personalities are very wrong although mine is closer...don't forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn't around and didn't attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future."
He went on to speak more about the Homebrew Computer Club, which was founded in 1975 in Silicon Valley, which included members such as video game pioneer Jerry Lawson, creator of the first cartridge-based video game system, who also developed the software for the Atari 2600. Steve Wozniak revealed that Steve Jobs' loftier ambitions didn't come until much later.
"Totally wrong. Personalities and where the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club. Steve came back from Oregon and came to a club meeting and didn't start talking about this great social impact. His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I'd given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed. He always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs (this was the 5th time). The lofty talk came much further down the line. I never looked like a professional. We were both kids. Our relationship was so different than what was portrayed. I'm embarrassed but if the movie is fun and entertaining, all the better. Anyone who reads my book iWoz can get a clearer picture."
He went on to say that he hopes the movie is very popular, but he hopes the meaning behind his early ideas is portrayed correctly.
"It's only one clip. The movie should be very popular and I hope it's entertaining. It may be very correct, as well. This is only one clip. But you'll see the direction they are slanting the movie in, just by the dialog style of this script. I never wore a tie back then. I wore blue jeans and the same style blue button-up shirt every day of my life. I was not like a professional in demeanor ever. Here is a reply I gave to someone on Facebook a few minutes ago:
The fact that it didn't happen is unimportant. The important thing is whether the meaning portrayed is correct.
It's ok to make up a dramatic scene but is much better if it sort of happened and had the meaning portrayed. But this is only one short clip of the movie. The entire movie may be very good. But the initial exposure to the social meaning of a technology revolution went in a very different direction in those early times.
A more accurate portrayal would be myself in the Homebrew Computer Club (with Steve Jobs up in another state and not aware of it being inspired by liberal humanist academics from Berkeley and Stanford and other places speaking of these high social goals. I decided then and there to help them reach those goals by designing a computer that was affordable. I gave it away to members of this club to help them. My goal was not money or power. In fact, when Steve came down and came to the club and saw the interest, he did not propose making a computer. Rather, he suggested we make a PC board so that others could build my computer easier. This PC board is just a component, like the ones Steve would sell at Haltek, a surplus electronics store. By the way, the Apple I was the 5th time I designed something just for fun that Steve found a way to turn into money, and the Apple ][ was the 6th time. We always split the proceeds."
We'll have to wait until jOBS is in theaters to find out how Steve Wozniak feels about the entire package. Will it hold the true meaning of this story, or will it veer off the path into fantasy land, portraying Steve Jobs in a less than truthful light.