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

Gather round, dear readers, it's storytime. In 1977, newly recruited cardiologist George Diamond wasworking on devices and methods to improve diagnostics of heartdiseases at LA's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His brilliant mind anda complex probability theorem aside, he didn't have very much to workwith - a TI-59 programming calculator with a whopping 1kb of RAM,which he used to write the first health app. It was a program thatcalculated 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'smemory, so he went to one of Santa Monica's first computer stores anddid what many creatives still do today - he bought an Apple computer.Using the $2700 (at the time) Apple II, which had significantlylarger 48kb RAM memory, along with two floppy disk drives, Diamondwrote the “complete” first health app - a program which analyzedmultiple diagnostic tests for diagnosis of coronary disease. Pleasedwith the result, he decided to give the whole app startup thing a try– decades before it was even a thing! Alas, one couldn't simplywhip up a Kickstarter page back in '77, so Mr. Diamond had to pitchhis project the old-school way - by phoning Apple in Cupertino. Whichhe 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 thewords of George Diamond himself:

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

via Forbes



1. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

You know you're a genius when you can make an app with a calculator

3. timukh

Posts: 295; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Yeah this part struck me too!! Impressive!

6. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

The calculator handles the probability part. As Diamond mentioned, he ran out of memory with the TI calculator. He then went looking for something with more memory and found the Apple II. The TI 'programming' is analogous to macros in Excel - you record a series of keystrokes that are then played back each time the 'program' is run. Not taking away from Diamond's accomplishment, just clarifying.

9. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

I don't get it

10. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

If you look at each key on the TI calculator, it performs a certain function depending on whether you press the key itself or in combination with another key ([2nd] + [6] calculates the arithmetic mean or average). The program function of the TI calculator stores a set of key presses. When the program is run, it automaticcally does the key pressing instead of you having to do it each time. Diamond ran out of memory to store his data + program (key press) instructions, so he went looking for a larger computer and pitched his idea to Steve, who said no thanks.

12. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Thanks for the clarification. Sorry, haven't been to school for a while

2. Lt.Green

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Two people ahead of their time. Simply admirable.

4. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Nice story! And I can understand Jobs' answer in this case, regardless of how admirable the doctor's work may have been.

5. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

brilliant words spoken from Steve Jobs. both gentlemen were in their own elite class. still not sure of the title of this article though.

7. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

I think Mr. Diamond could use Masa's ambitious soul

8. Gaurav008

Posts: 328; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

That quote though. Much awesomeness!

11. garyII

Posts: 160; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

nice !

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