What Was Steve Jobs's High School GPA? Not 4.0, or Even 3.0

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On the standard 4.0 scale, Steve Jobs, master of the universe, got a 2.65 at Homestead High School from 1968 to 1972. For those who've forgotten the number-to-letter conversions, that means he got mostly Bs and Cs.

He earned this record while palling around with Steve Wozniak and other local nerds at the Homebrew Computer Club and working at Hewlett Packard.

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This little tidbit is courtesy of Jobs' newly released FBI file, which was compiled in 1991 when the then-NeXT Computer chief "was considered for an appointed position on the U.S. President's Export Council." (If you'd like to verify the number yourself, it's on page 79 of the PDF.)

When we talk about the wonder of the United States' entrepreneurial system, I don't think we usually mean that we let kids who receive bad grades get ahead in the world. But perhaps the abilities it takes to get a perfect high school record do not perfectly overlap with the skillls it takes to build a $450 billion company. Or maybe it was just all luck.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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