Steve Jobs rejected the first health app, or how startups worked in 1977

Posted: , posted by Luis D.

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Gather round, dear readers, it's story time. In 1977, newly recruited cardiologist George Diamond was working on devices and methods to improve diagnostics of heart diseases at LA's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His brilliant mind and a complex probability theorem aside, he didn't have very much to work with - a TI-59 programming calculator with a whopping 1kb of RAM, which he used to write the first health app. It was a program that calculated the probability of heart disease based on test results, and we trust that he didn't name it “Heartie” or “Probabilify”.

Diamond quickly maxed out the calc's memory, so he went to one of Santa Monica's first computer stores and did what many creatives still do today - he bought an Apple computer. Using the $2700 (at the time) Apple II, which had significantly larger 48kb RAM memory, along with two floppy disk drives, Diamond wrote the “complete” first health app - a program which analyzed multiple diagnostic tests for diagnosis of coronary disease. Pleased with the result, he decided to give the whole app startup thing a try – decades before it was even a thing! Alas, one couldn't simply whip up a Kickstarter page back in '77, so Mr. Diamond had to pitch his project the old-school way - by phoning Apple in Cupertino. Which he did. A secretary put Steve Jobs on the line, and minutes later, the two arranged a meeting. The rest of the story is best told in the words of George Diamond himself:

At the time, it seems Steve Jobs was only interested in building the best computer possible, and everything else was a "distraction". So George Diamond thanked him, flew back to LA, and proceeded to become Dr. George Diamond, MD. Meanwhile, Apple became Apple, and is currently gearing up to introduce its first health app, Healthbook, which will debut in iOS 8 - a mere 37 years later.

via Forbes


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