For an interview published in the Financial Times back in 2006, journalist Richard Waters hauled himself to a nondescript corner of the Californian city of San Jose to meet with a corpulent computer scientist called Steve. As Richard walked into a vinyl-clad diner called The Hickory Pit, Steve sat – bearded and burly – hunched over some sort of hand-held device, engrossed in a game of Tetris.
The setting of the interview was unusual for the FT. The salmon pink daily is more widely known for its profiles of the buffed and manicured business elite, lounging in grand villas, chalets and penthouse pads, preferably in Davos or Cannes. But Steve – eating cherry pie in a washed-out T-shirt – had certainly earned his column inches: 30 years earlier, together with another Steve and an electronics industry worker called Ronald, the Hickory Pit’s favourite tech geek created what would later become the world’s largest publicly traded company.
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