Wozniak Formula For Success? Direction, Engineering, Marketing

By Mark Reynolds
The Providence Journal, R.I.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) One of Apple’s founders, Steve Wozniak, recently shared some of his thoughts on entrepreneurship with students at Bryant University. Wozniak highlighted robotics and artificial intelligence as areas ripe for future development and investment.


One of the founders of Apple, Steve Wozniak, spoke Thursday afternoon at Bryant University, describing the early days of the computer giant and passing lessons along to a largely student audience.

Wozniak told a large gathering of students and guests that his path to designing the first Apple computer started with mathematics, in third grade.

After his mother worked with flash cards to help him with his multiplication tables, his teacher told him he was the first boy to beat the girls.

“So I knew I was good at something and whatever you’re good at, you value and you keep it up,” he said during his exchange with Bryant’s president, Ronald Machtley.

Dressed casually in a blazer, sporting some loud track shoes, Wozniak weaved advice into his commentary.

Business direction, marketing and engineering are key ingredients for a good company, said Wozniak.

He criticized Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on various fronts, but also credited Jobs’ business forte.

“When you’re young you have the greatest mental energy and the greatest physical energy of your life,” said Wozniak, who urges young entrepreneurs to make the most of their youth and to work hard.

He described a time in his life when he held down a job at Hewlett Packard and worked on computer designs at night. He came home, consumed a TV dinner, watched Star Trek and then got to work.

“I always encourage people to know as many disciplines as you can,” he said. “Not just one tiny, tiny specific one because it’s always so much more rewarding to you in the end.”

Wozniak highlighted robotics and artificial intelligence as areas ripe for future development and investment.

But he warned about the risks of machines — such as automobiles — being dependent on the Internet, which is vulnerable to hackers.

“There is a lot of danger in there,” Wozniak said.

Wozniak said he does “a lot” to keep companies from learning about him. He doesn’t use Gmail and he uses virtual private networks to mask his browsing activities.

“I want to be in a random world,” he said. “Not just see Wozniak stuff.”

Brett Paley, a Bryant senior, was among a handful of students who questioned Wozniak.

Paley wanted to know what needs to transpire for virtual-reality goods to get into the marketplace.

Wozniak’s answer was one word: “games.” He described how important advances in video games, which have the most powerful computer chips around, provide highly valuable tech for the military.

“Video games,” said Wozniak, “can lead the technology industry in virtual reality.”

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