Apple

Turns Out Apple Didn't Start in a Garage After All

Turns Out Apple Didn't Start in a Garage After All

Steve Wozniak

You know that story about how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple in their garage?

Yeah...not so much.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Wozniak puts to rest the origin myth, calling it "overblown."

"The garage represents us better than anything else, but we did no designs there," he said. "We would drive the finished products to the garage, make them work and then we'd drive them down to the store that paid us cash."

The garage, Wozniak said, wasn't even a practical or even inspiring place to work. "There were hardly ever more than two people in the garage," he said. "Mostly they were sitting around kind of doing nothing productive."

There is a certain aura about being founded in a garage, whether you're a tech company like Hewlett-Packard or a rock band like The Replacements. 

Related: When Innovation Means Playing God

Truth is, there isn't much magical about starting anything in a garage. It's just where the space is, like a basement or a dorm room or, today, the corner Starbucks. If you have a garage, and it's not filled with, you know, cars and storage boxes full of Christmas decorations, it seems just the most logical place to spread out and tinker.

Yet we enshrine these garages sometimes as if they're temples of innovation. The garage on 367 Addison Street in Palo Alto, Calif., is actually a state historic landmark because that was where David Packard (who rented it) and Bill Hewlett founded their company.

Indeed, Steve Jobs' childhood garage at 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos was given historic status, too. (No word on whether they will tearing down the sign now that Wozniak has shut the door on that myth.)

In the end, Wozniak's admission serves a more powerful point: Ideas aren't built anywhere but in someone's brains. In the case of Apple, the hard work came from Jobs and Wozniak (and, to a lesser degree, from the Pete Best of Apple, Ronald Wayne). It doesn't matter where something is started, it usually comes down to who started a company, and what they did with their innovation in the end. Apple, despite the shattered myth, is more than proof of that.

Related: When Will Washington Start Unleashing the Power of Entrepreneurs?