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Woz: No, Apple was not started in a garage

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that the notion the great company started in a garage is "a bit of a myth."

2 min read

Steve Wozniak pours a little cold water on the idea that Apple started in a garage. Bloomberg screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you didn't start your company in a garage, it can't be much of a company, can it?

After all, a fine modern company needs a legend of bootstrapped pain, dripping roofs and hordes of chilly engineers huddled in a place only big enough for a Honda Legend.

Sometimes, though, that's what these stories are: legends.

For decades, many thought that Apple's formative years were spent with a whiff of gasoline hanging in the air. Yes, it all happened in the garage of Steve Jobs' childhood home in Los Altos, Calif. Or did it? In an interview with Bloomberg, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak poured cold water on the story.

He said: "The garage is a bit of a myth. It's overblown. The garage represents us better than anything else, but we did no designs there. 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."

Woz explained that the fledgling Apple "outgrew that garage very quickly."

He added: "There were hardly ever more than two people in the garage and mostly they were sitting around kind of doing nothing productive."

Well, yes. But it's a great story, isn't it? Once you're a success, tossing your company's history into a field of magical distortion makes it all sound a little more romantic than it probably was.

We don't need people and companies to be successful. We also want their stories to be moving, inspiring and, most of all, movie-worthy.

Who wants to see a movie about a company with a good idea that buys a big factory, employs lots of people and pleases even more? How dull.