Great Voz tells everything

Original author: Hardy Green
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Throughout Apple's story, we publish an interview with Steve Wozniak to BusinessWeek.
On the eve of the publication of his memoirs, Apple creator Steve Wozniak tells how passion and luck led to the creation of an epoch-making personal computer.
Hardy Green, editor of the BusinessWeek magazine column, took this interview from Wozniak on May 20, 2006, at the annual book exhibition BookExpo America in Washington.

Inventor of Apple I, Apple II, and the original Apple software, Steve Wozniak, is a living legend. Legendary are his intricate relationships with another Apple founder, Steve Jobs, and the jokes that Woz made with his colleagues in the most critical moments of Apple’s formation. This fall, Wozniak will publish a memoir, “I, Woz: From a Computer Enthusiast to a Cult Figure: How I Invented a Personal Computer, Founded Apple and Got a Lots of Fun” (iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It), written with technical journalist Gina Smith-Norton.
Note by the translator. The book is published, you can buy it on Amazon .

Your bewitching story has already become the subject of many books and articles. What prompted you to write your memories right now?
Along with the well-known in my history, there are also little-known moments. A couple of times I was already offered to write a book, but I did not have enough time, and I had to return the advanced money. About a year ago, my friend asked if she could write my book. And we did this together, which ensured the release of the book.
The time that we spent on this would be enough to write two books. First, I used to tell stories into the microphone, and then she processed them. Then we did it all again with the processed text so that the story ultimately sounded in my style.
Could you give an example of a little-known story included in your book?
This is a story about a television jamming station that I built in my first year of college. I made the students of the University of Colorado move forward, as they decided that it would be possible to achieve better signal reception. Once, one guy spent the last half hour watching the movie “Mission Impossible” with his hand in the center of the screen and his foot on a chair, thinking that it was necessary to create a ground loop.
I also describe how we worked at the time on projects all day with virtually no sleep. But I found that in this state brilliant ideas came to me. For example, I realized that color, if you find a way to implement it at no additional cost, can be very good for computer games.
The exact date and time when the world changed is indicated in the book. This happened when I was working on Apple I. All previous computers had a panel that resembled an airplane cockpit. All subsequent computers had a keyboard. Here is what has changed.
What are the key lessons you have learned about creativity and innovation?
Schools cut us off from creative development. This is because education must be guaranteed to everyone. Therefore, the government is engaged in it, and that is the whole point. In addition, we teach children at school to do everything according to strictly defined rules, not to cross the line, not to shy away from new topics.
Each time you do something for the first time in your life, you must do it better than others did before you. You are aware of all the most advanced components. I knew all the best chips existing at that time and used them to perform functions for which they were not originally intended. Poor design is the result of people not wanting to work hard. If you put maximum effort, you can make devices that work easier.
Then the iPod. He owes his success to the fact that he is a computer companion. The computer has taken center stage in our lives. Do you feel that your past has been misrepresented at times?
Right The press tried to present the case as if I were at odds with Apple. They set it up like I left Apple because I was crazy. But I left to found a company that was engaged in remote management, while I remained an Apple employee. Until today, they are trying to provoke conflicts between me and Steve Jobs. But we never quarreled. There is not a single person who would ever see us quarreling. We are just people of different types, but I am not a conflict person.
Do you have the feeling that Jobs robbed you all the time, for example, in the case of the Breakout game, which you invented, and he received money from Atari?
He was always more interested in money. In the case of Breakout, he just asked me. I had a job (in Hewlett-Packard), and this money was enough for me. He always did business, and I always did design. It’s not about the fact that one is good and the other is bad, it’s just different things, that’s all.
Steve rejected the offer to write a preface to this book. But there really is nothing bad about him. Perhaps he misinterpreted something.
This spring, you and former Apple CEO Gil Amelio founded Acquicor Technology. In essence, this is a venture capital fund. What is happening there right now?
We soon went public and raised about $ 200 million. So now we have a significant amount of money under management, and there is a time limit during which we must invest 80% of the money. Shareholders must approve each transaction.
Will your new company’s book help bring you back to the spotlight?
I don’t think so. But maybe on television they will ask me questions about Acquicor. Someone may hear about the company and become interested in it. Our plan is to find problematic companies, buy them and turn everything upside down there.
How do you assess the current state of affairs with innovations in the computer industry?
The industry is now so mature that there is very little room for innovation. There are many small companies, but they are not noticed. There is a feeling that instead of fifty computer-producing companies, only ten can remain, and there is room for only two operating systems. Almost no undeveloped sites. Nevertheless, Google and Yahoo are very innovative companies.
I know that you are teaching.
I teach in the fifth grade, in my other class there are children from sixth to ninth grades, and I teach teachers, all this in local schools. At times I taught seven days a week. I look forward to the day when the computer will act as a teacher. We have not yet achieved this, because we have not yet dealt with the problem of artificial intelligence. As soon as we make a robot that can brew a good cup of coffee, we will have a sufficient level of artificial intelligence. Then we will have 30 teachers per class of 30 people, and computers will guide each student at a pace appropriate to his abilities.
Have you ever thought about why you, and not someone else, were able to invent so many things?
My whole book is about that. I was lucky, I received random impulses in the right direction, and all this merged into Apple II. I was in a favorable environment, in Silicon Valley. My father supported me. I came across the right books. A lot happened by accident.
But deep down in your heart you will always know when you come across what you want to do for the rest of your life. The only reasons I did what I did was love and passion, and I wanted to do it better than anyone else.

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