How Steve Wozniak never stopped innovating and helped Apple become the king of computers

 

When Apple Computer co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs collaborated on their first project together — a couple of years before Apple was created — it became clear what role each would play in their business relationship.

Both had youth on their side, and without it, that first project might not have happened. The pair was given four days to deliver to the Atari Corp. a circuit board for the game Breakout. They worked day and night and met the deadline.

Jobs showed his expertise of electronics and Wozniak demonstrated he could design a computer.

Jobs was a visionary and a dreamer who could pitch an idea while Wozniak was content to be an engineer all his life, working in a basement laboratory designing computers. It was the combination that helped launch the world of personal computers and put Apple at the top of this cultural revolution.

EO Thrive 2014 was largest region confab in North America

EO Thrive 2014, which took place in Cleveland, featured keynote speaker Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. The event took place over a three-day period in early October, attracting more than 300 members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization from across the globe — making it the largest EO regional conference ever in North America.

The largest membership organization in the world dedicated to peer-to-peer learning for successful entrepreneurs, EO has more than 10,000 members in more than 135 cities.

The Cleveland EO Chapter is one of the largest in North America, and was selected to host Thrive for the first time.

Over an 18-month period, Adam R. Kaufman, the 2014 chairman of Thrive, and a committee of other EO members planned the conference.

“We decided to build a theme around key questions in the life of an entrepreneur: ‘How do I sell my business?’ ‘How do I wisely buy other businesses?’ and ‘How do I raise capital?’” he says.

The theme seemed to resonate with the 320 registered attendees who represented 28 chapters, including some from as far away as Hong Kong, Perth and New Delhi.

“EO members have a thirst for learning, and they left Cleveland full of new ideas, deepened relationships, and also impressed with Northeast Ohio’s growth and hospitality,” Kaufman says.

Other speakers at the event included Eric Chen, co-founder of TinyPrints; Doug Holladay, former ambassador and Wall Street veteran; and Stewart Kohl, the Riverside Co.

“When you are falling asleep and waking up, especially in those younger days, your mind is more lucid and just goes to more places, like creativity and thinking out of the box and innovative,” Wozniak says of his energy level in those days. “Those are the times when you get really good thoughts. The trouble is you just have to be around someone or have it in yourself to know that you have the skills to build what you think of.

“You’re young, you’ve got so much intellectual energy and so much physical energy that you can work late nights.”

He later left Apple to finish his education, but it’s been reported he still receives an annual stipend from the company.

Wozniak was the keynote speaker at the recent EO Thrive Cleveland conference and shared the stage with Fred Koury, president and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc. Here are the highlights of the interview: 

FK: What I would like to do is go back to the beginning, prior to you co-founding Apple Computer, and have you share with us how you got into engineering.

SW: I had one of those elementary school projects that now I look back on and say, whoa, that was the equivalent of a master’s degree at a university and I didn’t even know it. To me, they were just the most fun projects. I was kind of great in electronics, because electronics was an analog science. You had to learn difficult mathematical equations, formulas and design things with all these little parts that fit together. So I was very good at that.

I had a ham radio license in sixth grade. That was when you had to bolt together a bunch of parts. You had to bolt them together and had instructions on how to bolt them together, solder all the wires and run the little strings to tune in your receiver and transmitter. I was an early guy in analog electronics, but somehow I also discovered digital.

In high school, we didn’t have computers, but I had a great electronics teacher who said education is outside the school too. I got to go down once a week to Sylvania in Sunnyvale and program a computer. I was like, in my mind, the star of my school. Of course I was a nerd, an outsider, because I was an electronics geek. But I got to go program a real computer!

So I never had a book, I never had a class, I just had pencil and paper and tried to formulate methods to design a computer out of the smaller parts, the little chips that were available. I did it for fun. I never thought I would even have a job designing computers. I didn’t think there were such jobs. 

FK: How do you keep innovation alive when you are growing a company? How do you stay ahead of the curve?

SW: In the early days of Apple, it was just so free. Almost everything we touched turned to gold. It was a new industry and there was a lot of positive press. The computer was built on parts connected to a printer — that changed the world for people forever. You could plug a printer into your computer. You had a part to plug into a modem. You could turn your computer into a terminal. These were new things, so this is what I loved to do. I would’ve done that anyway. Back then, the innovation was all really on me, I was the only engineer for a while.

We were revolutionary, we had the best product in the world, we had a real high price, but our product cost less to build than the ones with the low price. We had a company. We had investors. We had advisers. We had professionals around telling us how to establish a company — you need a president, director of operations, and here’s what he does. Investors were telling us all the people we needed and what their roles would be. At that time, Steve didn’t have an official title. You just participated in everything and learned how to run everything. But I hate politics, so I said, leave me out of running the company, just don’t kick me out.

I stayed in the laboratory. I wanted to do hardware, software for the rest of my life. I believe engineers are the best people in the world, and I wanted to be an engineer for life. I never wanted to move up the management ladder. Engineers are where brilliant ideas can become reality. There were a lot of great ideas, but they are not worth much on paper. You better have some working model; you better have an engineer who can build it.

When you design something, it has to work. It has to do the job. You have to take every precaution, because one little bug will come back to haunt you. That is what engineering is about, and you need that kind of precision when you are thinking out what kind of things do we put in a product. 

FK: Is innovation something you are born with or is it something you can learn?

nca_cs_Woz1

SW: My own thinking is that you are not born with it. I think everybody is born equally curious. Every little baby wants to learn everything about anything that starts to come into their eyes.

We are all born that way, but that doesn’t mean we’re all going to fit in a box and follow the same course. You have to take the same tests and you are called intelligent if you have the exact same answers as everyone else. But if you think differently and try to come up with answers that aren’t in the book, or if you challenge that thinking, you are called disruptive.

In schools there are 30 kids and one teacher, and you can’t have every kid doing everything randomly and independently. It doesn’t work in our system because of money. We don’t have one teacher per student. So we are trained all our lives to not be innovative.

I would do a lot of things outside of school. With my science fair projects, I discovered thinking about a problem and how to solve it. I was just lucky to be a creator, to create things on my own, and not just read about them in books.

I had no idea that in 1975 all the pieces were going to be there at the right price to make the personal computer affordable. I didn’t know that when I was learning. That wasn’t my goal. My goal was I wanted a computer of my own someday, because a computer sounded impressive. 

Continue reading

Steve Wozniak never stopped innovating and helped Apple become king of computers

 

When Apple Computer co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs collaborated on their first project together — a couple of years before Apple was created — it became clear what role each would play in their business relationship.

Both had youth on their side, and without it, that first project might not have happened. The pair was given four days to deliver to the Atari Corp. a circuit board for the game Breakout. They worked day and night and met the deadline.

Jobs showed his expertise of electronics and Wozniak demonstrated he could design a computer.

Jobs was a visionary and a dreamer who could pitch an idea while Wozniak was content to be an engineer all his life, working in a basement laboratory designing computers. It was the combination that helped launch the world of personal computers and put Apple at the top of this cultural revolution.

EO Thrive 2014 was largest region confab in North America

EO Thrive 2014, which took place in Cleveland, featured keynote speaker Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. The event took place over a three-day period in early October, attracting more than 300 members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization from across the globe — making it the largest EO regional conference ever in North America.

The largest membership organization in the world dedicated to peer-to-peer learning for successful entrepreneurs, EO has more than 10,000 members in more than 135 cities.

The Cleveland EO Chapter is one of the largest in North America, and was selected to host Thrive for the first time.

Over an 18-month period, Adam R. Kaufman, the 2014 chairman of Thrive, and a committee of other EO members planned the conference.

“We decided to build a theme around key questions in the life of an entrepreneur: ‘How do I sell my business?’ ‘How do I wisely buy other businesses?’ and ‘How do I raise capital?’” he says.

The theme seemed to resonate with the 320 registered attendees who represented 28 chapters, including some from as far away as Hong Kong, Perth and New Delhi.

“EO members have a thirst for learning, and they left Cleveland full of new ideas, deepened relationships, and also impressed with Northeast Ohio’s growth and hospitality,” Kaufman says.

Other speakers at the event included Eric Chen, co-founder of TinyPrints; Doug Holladay, former ambassador and Wall Street veteran; and Stewart Kohl, the Riverside Co.

“When you are falling asleep and waking up, especially in those younger days, your mind is more lucid and just goes to more places, like creativity and thinking out of the box and innovative,” Wozniak says of his energy level in those days. “Those are the times when you get really good thoughts. The trouble is you just have to be around someone or have it in yourself to know that you have the skills to build what you think of.

“You’re young, you’ve got so much intellectual energy and so much physical energy that you can work late nights.”

He later left Apple to finish his education, but it’s been reported he still receives an annual stipend from the company.

Wozniak was the keynote speaker at the recent EO Thrive Cleveland conference and shared the stage with Fred Koury, president and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc. Here are the highlights of the interview: 

FK: What I would like to do is go back to the beginning, prior to you co-founding Apple Computer, and have you share with us how you got into engineering.

SW: I had one of those elementary school projects that now I look back on and say, whoa, that was the equivalent of a master’s degree at a university and I didn’t even know it. To me, they were just the most fun projects. I was kind of great in electronics, because electronics was an analog science. You had to learn difficult mathematical equations, formulas and design things with all these little parts that fit together. So I was very good at that.

I had a ham radio license in sixth grade. That was when you had to bolt together a bunch of parts. You had to bolt them together and had instructions on how to bolt them together, solder all the wires and run the little strings to tune in your receiver and transmitter. I was an early guy in analog electronics, but somehow I also discovered digital.

In high school, we didn’t have computers, but I had a great electronics teacher who said education is outside the school too. I got to go down once a week to Sylvania in Sunnyvale and program a computer. I was like, in my mind, the star of my school. Of course I was a nerd, an outsider, because I was an electronics geek. But I got to go program a real computer!

So I never had a book, I never had a class, I just had pencil and paper and tried to formulate methods to design a computer out of the smaller parts, the little chips that were available. I did it for fun. I never thought I would even have a job designing computers. I didn’t think there were such jobs. 

FK: How do you keep innovation alive when you are growing a company? How do you stay ahead of the curve?

SW: In the early days of Apple, it was just so free. Almost everything we touched turned to gold. It was a new industry and there was a lot of positive press. The computer was built on parts connected to a printer — that changed the world for people forever. You could plug a printer into your computer. You had a part to plug into a modem. You could turn your computer into a terminal. These were new things, so this is what I loved to do. I would’ve done that anyway. Back then, the innovation was all really on me, I was the only engineer for a while.

We were revolutionary, we had the best product in the world, we had a real high price, but our product cost less to build than the ones with the low price. We had a company. We had investors. We had advisers. We had professionals around telling us how to establish a company — you need a president, director of operations, and here’s what he does. Investors were telling us all the people we needed and what their roles would be. At that time, Steve didn’t have an official title. You just participated in everything and learned how to run everything. But I hate politics, so I said, leave me out of running the company, just don’t kick me out.

I stayed in the laboratory. I wanted to do hardware, software for the rest of my life. I believe engineers are the best people in the world, and I wanted to be an engineer for life. I never wanted to move up the management ladder. Engineers are where brilliant ideas can become reality. There were a lot of great ideas, but they are not worth much on paper. You better have some working model; you better have an engineer who can build it.

When you design something, it has to work. It has to do the job. You have to take every precaution, because one little bug will come back to haunt you. That is what engineering is about, and you need that kind of precision when you are thinking out what kind of things do we put in a product. 

FK: Is innovation something you are born with or is it something you can learn?

nca_cs_Woz1

SW: My own thinking is that you are not born with it. I think everybody is born equally curious. Every little baby wants to learn everything about anything that starts to come into their eyes.

We are all born that way, but that doesn’t mean we’re all going to fit in a box and follow the same course. You have to take the same tests and you are called intelligent if you have the exact same answers as everyone else. But if you think differently and try to come up with answers that aren’t in the book, or if you challenge that thinking, you are called disruptive.

In schools there are 30 kids and one teacher, and you can’t have every kid doing everything randomly and independently. It doesn’t work in our system because of money. We don’t have one teacher per student. So we are trained all our lives to not be innovative.

I would do a lot of things outside of school. With my science fair projects, I discovered thinking about a problem and how to solve it. I was just lucky to be a creator, to create things on my own, and not just read about them in books.

I had no idea that in 1975 all the pieces were going to be there at the right price to make the personal computer affordable. I didn’t know that when I was learning. That wasn’t my goal. My goal was I wanted a computer of my own someday, because a computer sounded impressive. 

Continue reading

Apple plans Nevada solar farm in clean energy push for data centers

CUPERTINO, Calif., Tue Jul 2, 2013 — Apple Inc. said it plans to build a new solar farm with NV Energy Inc. for power supply to its new data center in Reno, Nevada, a major step towards its goal of having its data centers run on renewable energy.

Apple and other technology companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp, that build and run computer server farms have come under criticism for their high consumption of electricity and other resources.

These data centers cater to an explosion in Internet traffic, streaming content through mobile devices and hosting of services to corporations.

The new solar farm will provide power to Sierra Pacific Power Co.’s electric grid that serves Apple’s data center and when completed will generate about hours 43.5 million kilowatt of clean energy a year, Apple said in a statement.

Apple already runs its largest data center in the U.S. on solar power. The center in Maiden, North Carolina produces 167 million kilowatt hours, the power equivalent of 17,600 homes for one year, from a 100-acre solar farm and fuel cell installations provided by Silicon Valley startup Bloom Energy.

Apple CEO sees more ‘gamechangers’; hints at wearable devices

SAN FRANCISCO, Wed May 29, 2013 — Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook defended the company’s record of innovation under his stewardship, saying he expected it would release “several more game changers” and hinting that wearable computers could be among them.
“It’s an area where it’s ripe for exploration,” Cook said on Tuesday at the All Things Digital conference, an annual gathering of technology and media executives in the California coastal resort town of Rancho Palos Verdes.
“It’s ripe for us all getting excited about. I think there will be tons of companies playing in this.”
His remarks come at a time when worries are mounting that the company which created the smartphone and tablet markets is ceding ground to competitors such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Google Inc., with a slowdown in earnings growth hitting its share price.
Cook stopped short of clarifying if Apple was working on wearable products amid speculation that it is developing a smartwatch, saying only that wearable computers had to be compelling.
He added that Google’s Glass — a cross between a mobile computer and eyeglasses that can both record video and access the Internet — is likely to have only limited appeal.
“There’s nothing that’s going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven’t seen it,” he said in the near one-and-a-half-hour question and answer session.
“So I think there’s lots of things to solve in this space.”

High stakes if Apple e-books antitrust case goes to trial

NEW YORK, Wed Feb 13, 2013 — As the only remaining defendant in the U.S. government’s e-books antitrust case, Apple Inc. appears headed for a high-stakes trial that could significantly increase the personal computer company’s liability in related litigation.

Apple faces a June 3 trial date over civil allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice that it conspired with five publishers to raise the price of e-books and to fight the dominance of Amazon.com Inc.

On Friday, Macmillan became the fifth and final publisher to settle with the government. The Justice Department alleges that Apple came to agreements with each of the publishers meant to ensure that e-book prices at its iBookstore and other retailers would remain higher than those offered by Amazon.com.

At the Apple trial, to be overseen by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan, the Justice Department will seek not monetary damages but a judicial decree that Apple violated antitrust law, court papers said.

Among other things, government lawyers want the judge to issue an order enjoining Apple from engaging in any conduct similar to that alleged in the case. Such a judgment could make Apple vulnerable to steep damages in related litigation.

Apple and the publishers also face a class-action suit filed on behalf of consumers and a similar suit filed by dozens of state attorneys general. Neither suit puts a figure on the exact amount of damages sought.

Apple results spur price target cuts, shares fall 9 percent

CUPERTINO, Calif., Thu Jan 24, 2013 — Weaker-than-expected holiday sales of Apple Inc.’s iPhone reinforced fears that it is losing its dominance in smartphones, driving its shares down 9 percent in premarket trading and drawing another round of stock price target cuts.

Fourteen brokerages including Barclays Capital, Mizuho Securities USA, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Raymond James, Robert W. Baird & Co. and Canaccord Genuity cut their price target on the stock by $142 on average to $599.

Apple’s shares closed at $514 Wednesday on the Nasdaq.

Jefferies & Co. cut its rating on Apple’s stock to “hold” from “buy” and slashed its share price target by $300 to $500.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who has previously raised red flags about Apple cutting orders to suppliers, said the iPhone slowdown was “real and material” and here to stay.

“We think Apple is losing the screen-size wars,” Misek said, noting that demand was moving away from the iPhone’s 3.5-inch and 4-inch screens to screens of 5 inches offered by rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, HTC Corp. and Nokia Oyj.

Misek is a top-rated analyst for the accuracy of his earnings estimates for Apple, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Apple said it shipped a record 47.8 million iPhones in the December quarter, but this trailed the average analyst forecast of 50 million units.

Apple’s Tim Cook meets with China Mobile chairman in Beijing

CUPERTINO, Calif./SHANGHAI , Thu Jan 10, 2013 — Apple Inc.’s Chief Executive Tim Cook met with China Mobile’s Chairman Xi Guohua on Thursday to discuss “matters of cooperation,” a China Mobile spokesman said, raising hopes that a deal between the two tech giants may move forward.

“In the morning, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook visited China Mobile’s headquarters. China Mobile’s Chairman Xi Guohua and Tim Cook discussed matters of cooperation,” said Li Jun, a China Mobile spokesman, in an emailed statement.

No further details will be given due to a confidentiality agreement signed, the statement said.

Apple, which has deals with China Unicom and China Telecom to sell its iPhones in China, has yet to strike a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers.

Inking a deal with China Mobile will give Apple access to a massive subscriber base and help arrest the Cupertino firm’s sliding market share in the world’s biggest smartphone market.

In an interview with local media on Thursday, Cook told reporters that he is confident that China will become Apple’s largest market in the near future.

“Currently, Apple has 11 stores in the Greater China region, as well as many resellers. We will continue to expand in China and the number of retail stores we’ll have will exceed 25,” Cook was quoted as saying by news portal Sina Technology News.

Apple testing new iPhone, iOS 7, website reports

CUPERTINO, Calif., Wed Jan 2, 2013 — Apple Inc. has started testing a new iPhone and the next version of its iOS software, news website The Next Web reported.

Apple shares were up 2.6 percent at $546.06 in premarket trading. The stock closed at $532.17 on the Nasdaq on Monday.

Application developers have found in their app usage logs references to a new iPhone identifier, iPhone 6.1, running iOS 7 operating system, the website reported.

Apple’s iPhone 5 bears the identifiers “iPhone 5.1” and “iPhone 5.2” and is powered by iOS 6 operating system.

Developer logs show that the app requests originate from an internet address on Apple’sCupertinocampus, suggesting that Apple engineers are testing compatibility for some of the popular apps, the website said.

“Although OS and device data can be faked, the unique IP footprint leading back to Apple’sCupertinocampus leads us to believe this is not one of those attempts,” the website said.

Apple launched iPhone 5 in September and it has been reported that the new iPhone will be released in the middle of 2013.

Google says Apple patent lawsuit dismissed

SAN FRANCISCO, Mon Nov 5, 2012 – A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Apple Inc alleging that Google Inc.-owned Motorola’s patent licensing practices were unfair, Google said on Monday.

Apple had been set to square off against Motorola on Monday in a trial in U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin, involving Google’s use of the library of patents it acquired along with Motorola for $12.5 billion in May.

“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice,” a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Monday.

Dismissal of a case with prejudice means the case is over at the trial court level, though it can be appealed.

Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and

non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards,” Google said in its statement. “We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple.”

Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5 in first three days

CUPERTINO, Calif., Mon Sep 24, 2012 – Apple Inc. sold more than 5 million iPhone 5 smartphones in the three days after the new device hit the marketplace on Sept. 21, the company said on Monday.

Apple said it sold out its initial supply of iPhone 5s, as demand for its latest smartphone exceeded initial supply.

While the majority of pre-orders have been shipped to customers, many are scheduled to go out in October, Apple said.