To be clear, I am not questioning that Steve Jobs spent a while working for Atari; that much is indubitably historical fact. Apparently he joined the company in 1974.

Atari was founded in the summer of 1972. According to https://www.landley.net/history/mirror/atari/museum/Atari-Timeline.html by 1974, the company had not only made tens of thousands of Pong machines, but also developed a number of other games, generating millions of dollars in revenue.

According to other sources, Atari's hiring process was at least in the early days not very selective, and they had a lot of trouble with theft, which presumably led to firings, so if employee number 40 were hired in 1974, that would mean the current employee count at that time would be significantly lower.

Did they really accomplish all that with so few employees?

  • 3
    Where are you seeing the claim that he was employee number 40? That might give some context for what "employee number" means, and how it relates to the employee count and hiring practices.
    – IMSoP
    Nov 6, 2020 at 12:40
  • 3
    Note there's a difference between "was the 40th employee hired" and "was assigned employee number 40".
    – fadden
    Nov 6, 2020 at 16:07
  • @IMSoP e.g. gamasutra.com/view/news/127537/… but I think fadden et al are right, the employee numbers were not assigned in consecutive order.
    – rwallace
    Nov 7, 2020 at 0:42
  • 4
    Well... I worked there as a tech 73-75 on the Graveyard shift, same shift as Steve, same area troubleshooting 7400 series logic. Steve started after I did in 74. Looking for my check stubs, but pretty sure I was employee # 35. So that kind of narrows it down a little closer to , yes... he very likely really was employee # 40. No???
    – user25288
    Aug 23, 2022 at 22:25
  • 1
    A speculative answer was probably the best the OP could hope for at the time, back in November 2020. @user25288 you should post a new answer with your information and hope the OP is still around and willing to change the accepted answer. "Last seen this week" currently, but you have been away for a while...
    – tripleee
    Jan 17, 2023 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


Employee #159, Ronald Jardine, was hired on 1973-10-07. If Steve Jobs was hired by Atari in May, 1974, and if employee numbers were assigned in consecutive numerical order and never reused, then he should have had a higher employee number.


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