Commodore, Atari, and Some Venture Capitalists, Refused to Fund Jobs and Wozniak

(p. 196) After Commodore turned us down, we went over to Al Alcorn’s house. He was one of the founders of Atari with Nolan Bushnell, and he was the one who’d hired Steve to do video games there two years before.

Now, I knew Al knew me. He knew I had designed Breakout, the one-player version of Pong. I remember that when we went to his house I was so impressed because he had one of the earliest color projection TVs. Man, in 1976, he would have been among the first people to have one. That was cool.
But he told us later that Atari was too busy with the video game market to do a computer project.
A few days after that, venture capitalists Steve had contacted started to come by. One of them was Don Valentine at Sequoia. He kind of pooh-poohed the way we talked about it.
He said, “What’s the market?”
“About a million,” I told him.
“How do you know?”
I told him the ham radio market had one million users, and this could be at least that big.
Well, he turned us down, but he did get us in touch with a guy named Mike Markkula. He was only thirty, he told us, but already retired from Intel. He was into gadgets, he told us. Maybe Mike would know what to do with us.

Wozniak, Steve, and Gina Smith. iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2006.

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