Steve never forgot how his life had been turned around by a teacher who recognized he was a troublemaker in elementary school because he was so bright that he was bored, and through bribes and encouragement put him on a constructive path. Steve gave back what he had received from Mrs. Hill through a deep commitment to making computers available at significant discounts to schools, students, and faculty.
I once saw the effect firsthand. Steve and I were visiting an elementary school in Cupertino one day where the kids all had Apple computers. We were looking over their shoulders as they worked, noting with pleasure how they seemed to have mastered the machines and were able to work productively with them to speed their learning.
Late in the day, the teacher delivered us a note written by one of the kids. It read, “Mr. Jobs thank you for introducing me to the new Macintosh, I never ever thought I would be able to use a real computer in my life.”
This was the kind of reward Steve needed to keep pursuing his art. For him, it was always personal, a quality I have found to be a major driver for anyone to become highly productive. He took the praise not for himself as a person but as what he was doing on behalf of that user, multiplied by every Apple user, everywhere.