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Steve Jobs talking about VisiCalc in 1996
In honor of the 35th anniversary of the Apple II, I posted a short excerpt from a documentary where Steve Jobs talks about the importance of the spreadsheet VisiCalc to the success of the Apple II.
In 1996 the Japanese TV network NHK ran an educational historical documentary called ""Society and Computer (Shin-Denshi Rikkoku)". As part of a section about spreadsheet programs they showed interviews with me, Bob Frankston, Mitch Kapor, Jonathan Sachs, and Steve Jobs. In honor of the 35th anniversary of the first showing of the Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire that happened this week, I posted the excerpt of Steve Jobs talking about spreadsheets. Here it is on YouTube:

Here's what Steve had to say:

There have been two real explosions that have propelled the industry forward. The first one really happened in 1977, and it was the spreadsheet. I remember when Dan Fylstra, who ran the company that marketed the first spreadsheet, walked into my office at Apple one day and pulled out this disk from his vest pocket and said "I have this incredible new program -- I call it a Visual Calculator," and it became VisiCalc. And that's what really drove -- propelled -- the Apple II to the success it achieved.

This was many years after VisiCalc was developed, so you can forgive Steve for getting the year wrong. It was in 1979 that he first saw it. (The Apple II didn't even have disks that we could buy in 1977...) In any case, it's really nice to see how fondly he remembered the program even after the Mac came out. I share this to add to the historical record. VisiCalc is mentioned in Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve, but not really in Steve's words. This helps you see more of how he portrayed it.

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