Monday, June 24, 2013

Time for another Woz story - and I'm kinda sorta in it (kinda sorta)

Steve Wozniak left the company once known as Apple Computer many years ago, but still makes comments on Apple and other computer products frequently.

And he will make those comments to anyone.

Back in October 2011, I wrote a post that described how Wozniak happily answered questions from a woman who was not a professional interviewer. Just giving back to the community, as it were.

Fast-forward to June 2013. Perhaps you've heard that a film about Steve Jobs is coming out, and that it stars Ashton Kutcher. Admittedly some people plain just don't like Kutcher, but it seems that the movie is getting some deserved criticism even before its release, just based upon the trailer. In a Los Angeles Times article, Chris O'Brien wrote:

Woz, the guy who actually built the original Apple computers, might be a tad dismayed to see one of the lines that proclaims: "It only takes one person to start a revolution." Because, you know, it took two.

I shared O'Brien's article, as well as the quote above, on Google+, and it started a conversation. Other people took objections to other portions of the trailer, I snuck in a mention of Mike Markkula, and Joachim Kessel added a comment on the other Steve:

Who did all the work and created the first Apple computer?
+Steve Wozniak !
I hope this is not once again a movie focusing only on the fancy good looking, eloquent guy.
Where are the engineers, that have built Apple?

Now when Kessel offered his comment, he tagged Wozniak in the comment. This notified Wozniak that there was a comment in Google+ that mentioned his name. (Facebook and Twitter offer similar tagging functionality.) Now I bet that Wozniak gets a ton of these tags every day, asking him about everything from long distance calling strategies to dance moves. And, in this case (and probably in many others), Steve Wozniak chose to respond:

Only 1 person?

Apple only had one successful product for the first 10 years, and that was the Apple ][, which kept pouring in revenues. The Apple ///, LISA and Macintosh, all under Jobs, failed. The Macintosh market was only built up in the 3 years after Jobs' departure, by others.

The revolution beginning with the iPod was later as significant and come under a [different] Jobs, a more measured and cautious and patient one.

The statement itself is not surprising; John Sculley quotes Wozniak as making a similar statement about the Apple II in his autobiography. But perhaps there are some people who haven't heard it before, or who believe that everything that Jobs (or Bill Gates) touched immediately turned to gold.

Now we just have to wait for the TechCrunch commenters who will criticize Kessel, Isaac Garcia, Morgan Hayes, and myself for our inept interviewing. :)

P.S. Here's another account of a Woz encounter - from someone who was prepared.
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