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cold calling | November 27, 2018

Did Steve Jobs Ever Use Cold Calling at Apple?

Steve Jobs, Apple, Cold CallingWhen you think about Apple Inc., I am sure the image of a worldwide business juggernaut probably comes to mind. Over the years, Apple has relied on some brilliant ad campaigns, that went viral, to become one of the wealthiest companies in the world.

However, the idea that this business ever relied on cold calling to become successful simply doesn’t sound plausible.

In fact, the very notion that Steve Jobs would ever pick up a phone and made cold calls probably sounds preposterous, but is it?


Humble Beginnings

We all know where Apple is today, but the reality is that when Jobs and Wozniak started making Apple computers they were literally working out of a garage. They didn’t have a glamorous office space, nor did they have glitzy Madison avenue commercials going viral to help get their fledgling partnership off the ground. In fact, after the early success of the Apple I Steve Jobs was looking for some capital to help him fulfill his vision to change the world.

However, Steve didn’t have any of Ivy League business connections nor did he have any roots in the financial sector that could help him line up the badly needed funding. They apparently didn’t have enough credit to get a traditional loan from a bank. When faced with this obstacle Steve’s powerful belief in his dream motivated him to pick up the phone and start cold calling or dialing for dollars, literally.

Steve Jobs makes Cold Calls

In the movie Jobs you can see the scene, on YouTube, where Steve is crossing off the names of investors as he is telemarketing and pitching his vision. It’s clear from his experience that cold calling is a brutal contact sport and defiantly takes a toll on your patience. Since Steve was not well known at the time the business contacts he made would treat him the same way they treat us by, not transferring him to the decision maker, ignoring him, objecting continuously, hanging up on him and untimely saying no…

However, just like any successful cold calling Steve Jobs was persistent and didn’t allow himself to be discouraged by all the No’s and just kept calling. He remained undaunted the face of overwhelming negativity and kept calling the Venture Capitalists on his list over and over again, pitching his heart out to anyone that would listen to his message. In fact, he literally called all the investors in the San Francisco Bay area many times until he reached his boiling point as he could no longer contain his frustration and angrily exploded on his friends and coworkers.


Of course, Steve Jobs telemarketing experience did have a happy ending because just as Jobs reach the end of his calling list and was at the point of giving up, a miracle happened! One of the VC’s on his list had heard his message and reached out to Mike Markkula an Angel Investor and asked him to check out Steve Jobs!  The timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous as Mike came driving up in his corvette just as Steve went on a negative rant caused by his cold calling exhaustion and disappointment.

Mike Markkula was impressed with Apple and shared Steve’s vision in the future of the PC and made the initial capital injection into Apple Computer Inc.  This proves that if you make enough calls to the right contacts eventually you will hit pay dirt with cold calling and that’s just what Steve Jobs did! With his early success in telemarketing he was able to ‘retire’ his cold calling role and ride off into the sunset as his Apple Stock exploded and Apple ultimately became a worldwide brand.


The truth is that the Apple Empire owes its success to the tenacity of Steve Jobs early cold calling efforts. While it may have seemed a far-fetched idea that a successful CEO would resort to dialing for dollars this is exactly what happened. This shows that businesses shouldn’t look down on telemarketing because if that’s the only resource you have at your disposal then you should roll up your sleeves and start making some cold calls just like Steve Jobs did. Who knows if you are as persistent and unrelenting as he was perhaps you might be building the next Silicon Valley Unicorn out of your Garage!

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