Daniel Kottke, January 2007
April 4, 1954 |
Bronxville, New York, U.S.
Daniel Kottke (born April 4, 1954) is an American computer engineer and one of the earliest employees of Apple Inc. Lukas Haas portrayed him in the 2013 film Jobs and Marcus Giamatti portrayed him in the 1999 TNT film, Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Kottke was Apple Employee Number 12. He assembled and tested the first Apple I computers with computer designer and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs's garage in 1976. Prior to the formation of Apple, Kottke was close friends with Jobs, whom he met at Reed College. The two men traveled to India backpacking around in search of spiritual enlightenment. Kottke spent an additional eight years with Apple debugging Apple II printed circuit boards and building Apple III and Macintosh prototypes as well as working on the design for the Macintosh keyboard. The Apple II gained a sizable amount of popularity, eventually becoming one of the best selling personal computers of the 1970s and early 1980s. Kottke was one of the original members of the Macintosh development team and his signature can be found embossed on the internal wall of early production Macintosh computers.
However, as biographer Walter Isaacson documents, despite Kottke's Employee #12 status and his engineering contributions to Apple, Steve Jobs refused to grant his former "soul mate" any stock in the new company. "I will give him zero," said Jobs. Steve Wozniak later gave him some of his own shares in Apple.
In addition, in 1982 when Time Magazine featured a major, but unflattering, profile of Jobs that actually made him cry, he publicly "berated" Kottke for confirming the fact to Time that he had a daughter, Lisa Brennan, whom he had basically abandoned.
In an interview with Slashdot, Kottke states that he consulted on early versions of the screenplay and notes that "Ashton's very good. I have no complaints with him at all, no complaints with his portrayal of Jobs. The complaint that people would rightly have about the film is that it portrays Woz as not having the same vision as Steve Jobs, which is really unfair." He also said that the early versions of the screenplay "were painful. Really painful. I forwarded the first draft to Mike Markkula because they wanted his feedback, and Mike took such a bad reaction to it, he wouldn't have anything more to do with the project. By the time it got to the fourth draft, it was okay. It wasn't making me cringe." Kottke also outlines various areas that were both accurate and inaccurate in the film. Bill Fernandez was part of the same interview but states that he didn't see the film because "the whole thing is a work of fiction, and I don't want to be upset by all the things that the screenwriter has invented and don't represent the truth." Kottke responded that he didn't think of the film as fiction because "I was involved early on in the film, and they really, sincerely tried to make it as accurate as they could."
In the same interview, Bill Fernandez and Kottke commented on the characterization of Rod Holt (portrayed by actor Ron Eldard). Kottke disputed the characterization, noting that: "What completely cracked us all up is the scene where Rod arrives for the first time. Rod comes up wearing leathers, riding up on a motorcycle with long hair […] he’s like this motorcycle dude. It just cracked us all up." Fernandez, who had not seen the film at the time of the interview, was also surprised by this portrayal. Holt, however, (according to Kottke), "thought it was hilarious." As for why he may have been characterized this way, Kottke states that, "Rod was really into dirt bikes. And I never saw him riding one, but he talked about it all the time. So the author just had him riding up on a motorcycle. I liked that guy. I met him on the set. I had no idea who he was when I met him because he doesn’t look at all like Rod, he has long straight hair and he’s wearing leathers." Fernandez, who was equally amused by this vision of Holt responded by asking, “Who could this possibly be in the Apple universe? […] It seems to me that there’s a lot of fan fiction about Apple Computer and about Steve Jobs, and I think that this is the biggest, flashiest piece of fan fiction that there’s been to date.
In an interview with Slashdot, Kottke states that Pirates of Silicon Valley was "a great movie. Noah Wyle was just uncannily close to Jobs. Just unbelievable. I found myself thinking it was actually Steve on the screen." He also states that in the film there were "all these scenes of the garage where it’s like half a dozen people working, busily carrying things back and forth, and oscilloscopes" when he [Kottke] "was really the only person who worked in the garage. Woz would show up once a week with his latest to test it out, and Steve Jobs was on the phone a lot in the kitchen."
- "India visit gave a vision to Steve Jobs." India Today, October 13, 2011.
- "Interview: Apple Employee No. 12 Dan Kottke on Company’s Earliest Days and the College Steve Jobs." KQED, November 25, 2011.
Photographs and videos
- Edwards, Jim. These Pictures Of Apple's First Employees Are Absolutely Wonderful - Business Insider, December 26, 2013.
- Mac@30 Rod Holt, Daniel Kottke and Woz discuss Early Apple, Macintosh Anniversary, January 27, 2014.
- "Apple Early Employees".
- "India visit gave a vision to Steve Jobs". Indiatoday.intoday.in. October 13, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Hertzfeld, Andy, Signing Party
- Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9.
- Assar, Vijith (August 16, 2013). "'Early Apple Employees Talk Memories of Steve Jobs, New Movie". Slashdot.
- Vink, John (October 1, 2013). "The Cast of Jobs". John Wants Answers (KMVT 15).
- Media related to Daniel Kottke at Wikimedia Commons
- "Apple History: Dan Kottke" at the Wayback Machine (archived February 15, 2001), AppleInfo.net