3 Takeaways from Q&A with Steve Wozniak
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

3 Takeaways from Q&A with Steve Wozniak

Last night St. Petersburg College was hosting someone that we all know. Apple co-founder and an inventor of Apple I (and more), Mr. Steve “Woz” Wozniak. It was a great event and , to be honest, I felt quite giddy to listen to the engineer who had so much influence over the development of the personal computer.


I have never heard Woz speak, especially being present in the same room. I knew he was a little bit of a character, and he proved me right. Woz led the conversation, and moderator seemed a little bit frustrated how off-track the conversation was going. Everyone in the audience enjoyed it anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal.


Woz dropped some interesting things, and from time to time he did sound a little bitter about the way his contribution to Apple has been documented by popular films. Many times he repeated that Steve Jobs knew nothing about building a computer, and how Woz was the greatest engineer in the world, at the time.


Aside his direct approach and honesty, that was very surprising, here are the points that stuck with me the most.


1. Steve Jobs was a terrible person but People change.
During a 90 minute event Woz mentioned several stories about mistakes that Jobs made. They are well publicized so there is no reason to repeat them. However, what was interesting is how much Woz mentioned about the change that happened in Jobs between his CEO days in Apple. According to Woz, when Jobs came back to Apple, he was a much more season CEO (gained lots of experience with Pixar), but also a much improved family man and simply a human being.


2. Don’t look back.
It is well known that Woz has a passion for education and community support. The way he described how much he loved seeing young people get excited in the classroom was really cool. Someone in the audience asked if he is considering to go back to teaching at any point. To which Woz replied that even though he loved teaching and he spent 8 years doing that, he will not return to it. He explained that once he is done with something, he moves on and doesn’t look back, no matter if it was a failure or a success.


3. Happiness = Food, fun, friends.
In the age of uber productivity techniques, busy lifestyles (are we really that busy?), this simple formula resonated with me. If you are a startup founder, you must slow down at some point. Spend time with the ones around that matter, learn new things, and have fun. Because when you do make it, and you have no one to share your success with, it is quite not as fun.

What are your thoughts on Woz? Do you think he got lost in the shadow of Steve Jobs?