These days, Steve Jobs’s business acumen is legendary, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, when Steve first went on a fund-raising expedition to get money for the original Apple I in natal Silicon Valley, he was described as a secretive “joker” who couldn’t trust anyone and had a “flakey” partnership with Steve Wozniak.
The letter was written by Mike Rose, who back in 1976 ran an advertising agency in Los Altos. Bloomberg notes:
The note is wonderful in part because it reveals how much Silicon Valley has changed in 35 years. In 1976, two guys trying to launch a tech company from a garage in the heart of Silicon Valley were flakes. Today, someone in Rose’s position might well ask for a piece of the action — payment in the form of a small bit of stock, perhaps?
The note also shows us that in some ways, the 21-year-old Jobs was not too different from the man he later became. Jobs may have struck Rose as a “joker,” but the young entrepreneur is concerned about secrecy (“Wouldn’t trust me,” Rose writes) and drives a hard bargain (“wants it for nothing”).