17 October 2006

Woz at Microsoft

One of the cool things about working at Microsoft is the constant stream of interesting guest speakers. Recently it was Steve Wozniak. It was facinating to listen to him speak about his love for technology. I had my trusty MacBook Pro and took down some notes and fun quotes. On chip design: "I played a game: how can you design it better than before. I wanted to see if I could design something with half as many parts." On wanting a computer: I told my Dad, "I'm going to have a computer." Dad said, "It costs as much as a house." I was stunned and quickly replied, "Then I'm going to get an apartment." About his microprocessor, "I couldn't afford one, but I could build it. I could always build something for free." Woz was giving away his Basic schematics, then when Jobs found out, he said, "Let's sell it." On Human Computer Interaction: "It's a lot easier to design a computer than make it acceptable to people in their lives." On Apple's rank in early computer magazines: "Apple was always at the top of the list, you know, alphabetical order." On the small business owners in the 70s and 80s: "They didn't want a computer, they wanted a solution." On childlike learning: "What's fun for kids can be fun for adults and that's my philosophy." Someone asked what excites you? His response: "Products done really well from the people point of view." "Steve jobs never programmed in his life." Someone asked if he had any regrets to which Woz replied: "Regrets about Apple, no. Regrets about my own life? Yes, I wish I would have put floating point in Basic, but I wanted to get it done quick."


Anonymous said...

It is just so sad he's still so bitter about Aplle.
Sure people always talk about Apple with him but if he could say one positive thing about Apple from time to time he would surely hear less about apple.


David Weiss said...


Maybe this is a recent development, but during the whole presentation I didn't sense any bitterness toward Apple. Now I haven't read his new book, so maybe it's in there. He was really up beat about Apple and very positive about things there.

David Weiss

Anonymous said...

I thought you might be interested in hearing about my debut documentary on Silicon Valley, called In Search of the Valley. It features Woz and many other Silicon Valley legends.

All the best,

- Steve

Liquidmark said...

Well, Wozniak has stated in his letters section on his website that Apple still pays him a salary. And rightly so, If it wasn't for him, Apple wouldn't even exist.

It's on Woz.org

Victor Agreda, Jr. said...

I love that he could "build anything for free." I can picture him asking friends for spare parts, cobbling a circuit together ragtag over weeks when he could have bought something instead. Cool. That's the spirit that seems to drive innovation and success, that never-say-quit thing (and lots of patience). Coupled with his sense of play and joy of tech, it's no wonder he did what he did. Thanks for sharing David!

Anonymous said...

In his book iWoz, Woz doesn't seem to harbor any overt ill will toward Steve Jobs, although he does seem to be a little miffed that Steve took all of the credit for his work. His mentality seems to be that they both ended up very successful so there's no sense in holding a grudge. He does say that he and Steve are still friends, but I sense that there is a little bit of tension between them still despite Woz still almost idolizing Jobs.

Anonymous said...

I don't know Jobs, but I've had a few meals with Woz. He doesn't seem bitter about Apple either when we've talked about it or in his writings on his website, Woz.org.

He does believe that Jobs has been strongly affected in a negative way with the power and success at Apple--losing himself along the way is the sense I get. I believe that they are not good friends anymore, but also not at odds--somewhere in the middle.

I have never heard him say anything negative about Apple except for one thread, which is to make the MacOS more rock solid. But I take this as a kind of "required perfection" that I have often heard from developers.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know he LOVES almost all products of Apple especially the notebooks and his iPods. Also he thinks turning the company towards Intel was a good idea. And he attends the macworld keynotes with a big smile in his face. No bitterness at all. I think he loves Apple.

Anonymous said...

I saw him in London last night, where we basically said the same things. More or less ;)
My favourite: he said he put professionally looking stickers into the toilets in the plane when coming over, saying "Don't flush over cities!"

Anonymous said...

He might be a bit disconnected but that's okay because of his historical role in the making of Apple. Apple today has little to do with that garage founding atmosphere. It is now a huge business competing for shareholder value. Still, innovation is at its heart and it remains the most people oriented approach to technology. I despise the Windows interface. It is driven by engineers deprived of any taste for ergonomy. Apple is so much closer to people.