- April 19, 2016
For reference, we’re not condoning doing anything illegal, it’s just a good example.
Known as blue boxes back in 1960s-70s they allowed anyone to switch long distance calls.
For example you dialed a long distance number (e.g. one side of the US to the other), you then used the box to become the ‘operator’ and could route your call as you wanted and to wherever you wanted. e.g. ring England, then ring Rome and then back to the US. Allowing anyone to pretend they were anywhere when dialing.
The two founders of the company started to sell them and made about $6000 (or around $76,000 in today’s equivalent money) before narrowly avoiding the police…. the two founders Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak later went on to start the company Apple.
So what is the point of this story we hear you say? Well, the point is your first idea might not be your best one but if you keep working hard on something eventually you will make it.
We were so fascinated by them (blue boxes) that Woz and I figured out how to build one. We built the best one in the world; the first digital blue box in the world. We would give them to our friends and use them ourselves. And you know, you rapidly run out of people you want to call. But it was the magic that two teenagers could build this box for $100 worth of parts and control 100’s of billions of dollars of infrastructure in the entire telephone network in the whole world…
Experiences like that taught us the power of ideas. The power of understanding that if you could build this box, you could control 100’s of billions of dollars around the world, that’s a powerful thing. If we wouldn’t have made blue boxes, there would have been no Apple.
For reference, the Blue Boxes don’t work anymore before you get any ideas.