Regis McKenna’s 1976 notebook and the invention of Apple Computer, Inc.

“At first blush, it appears to be an utterly unexceptional spiral-bound notebook,” Harry McCracken writes for Fast Company. ” Manufactured in the U.S. by the National Blank Book Company of Holyoke, Massachusetts, it’s got a light green cover and 80 sheets of narrow-ruled 8-by-10-inch paper.”

“The first sign that its contents might matter is a request haphazardly rubber-stamped on the front: ‘RETURN TO REGIS McKENNA HIMSELF.’ McKenna, as any student of Silicon Valley lore knows, is a legendary industry figure, a marketing guru’s marketing guru who promoted technical products as if they were consumer goods before they actually were consumer goods” McCracken writes. “He did his most famous work for Apple, starting in the 1970s when the company did more than any other to lift the PC out of its hobbyist origins into the mainstream, and counts Intel and Genentech among the other startups that he helped turn into giants.”

“When McKenna first encountered Apple in 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were 21 and 25, respectively. They had officially founded the company on April 1 along with gone-in-less-than-two-weeks partner Ron Wayne, were still running their startup out of the Jobs family garage (and Jobs’s bedroom, and Woz’s apartment), and had yet to ship their first landmark machine, the Apple II,” McCracken writes. “Fortunately for us, he’s an obsessive notetaker, and enough of a packrat that he kept many of the notebooks he’s filled throughout his career–including this one, which contains his jottings from when he began to formulate a marketing plan for the Apple II in December 1976… The notes he took in 1976 are the Dead Sea Scrolls of Apple marketing–a remarkable, unseen snapshot of what the company was in its earliest days, and what it hoped to become. He was nice enough to share them with me, so I could share them with you on Apple’s 40th birthday. ”

Tons more in the full article – very highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: We love the understatement:

He had a way of articulating what the personal computer could be. — Regis McKenna describing an early meeting with 21-year-old Steve Jobs

Apple’s 1976 marketing plan included Apple Retail Stores – February 7, 2014

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