Apple’s Employee No. 0

Robert X Cringely, in his wonderful book Accidental Empires, tells a rib-tickling yarn about the early days of Apple. It happened in the late 1970’s when Apple had grown beyond the point that all the employees knew each other on sight. So it was decided that, like grown-up companies, they should all have name badges.

As is the corporate way, it was deemed that these badges should be numbered and, as corporate lore decrees, the number assigned would be based on the order in which employees had joined the company.

“Steve Wozniak was declared employee number 1,” writes Cringely, “Steve Jobs was number 2, and so on. Jobs didn’t want to be number 2. He didn’t want to be second in anything. Jobs argued that he, rather than Woz, should have the sacred number one since they were co-founders of the company and J came before W in the alphabet.”

“When that plan was rejected”, recounts Cringely, “he argued that the number 0 was still unassigned, and since 0 came before 1, Jobs would be happy to take that number. He got it.”



  1. Thank you george, I’ve changed that


    Hello, David, from your North American proofreader.
    Shouldn’t “days pf Apple” be “days of Apple”?
    I had never heard this story before, but given Jobs ego, it is quit believable. I also like a computer company using zero-based counting for it’s employee numbers. That seems appropriate.
    If the numbers were printed on the badges in binary and counted up in Gray code, I might even laugh out loud.

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