An interview with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak By Sachin Kalbag
He is the "other Steve", but to geeks around the world, he is the real deal; the man who practically invented the personal computer and changed the world. Steve Wozniak, supreme geek of the 1970s and the maker of the Apple II computer which brought about a worldwide computer revolution, was in Bangalore on Saturday to speak to a bunch of young entrepreneurs and achievers of the Young Presidents Organisation who wanted to hear the story of the most-loved technology brand in the world -- Apple.
Wozniak took time out during his Bangalore visit to speak to Sunday MIDDAY.
Excerpts from the interview:
What brings you to India?
This is the first time I have come to India; in fact, this is the first time I have been invited which is strange because about two years ago, I did three keynotes all around the world for Infosys (Infosys Technologies, the Bangalore-headquartered software firm). And I kept telling all the top executives that I would love to come to India some day and I never got an invitation until this one.
When you see these young guys in India, do you believe they will break the mould of India being the back office hub for the world when it comes to developing world-changing software products?
Yes, I do. And I have a reason. I see a lot of technical enthusiasts, a lot of engineers in Silicon Valley. I see a lot of Indian people. I see a lot of people from Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore. But look at the Indians. They are bright, they are enthusiastic, they are hard-working. They have all the attributes to become successful in Silicon Valley. Some of the great engineers and technologists in Apple and all the other big companies like Google and Microsoft are Indians. So clearly they have got some inner skills and abilities. I think then it just means having a sense of clarity and the level of confidence, and they could make it big.
You were not scared of failure?
We were not scared. These young people. they are trying something that the formulas of life tell you will not succeed. They think differently and are not scared. They don't think, "What if I don't make any money?" Look, it doesn't matter if you don't make any money. Because you don't have any money to begin with. Steve Jobs and I did not have any money to begin with. I guess in America, the environment to create successful businesses exists and people around you encourage you to do that.
Is that why the Apple II became so successful?
Apple II became successful because of various reasons. Steve Jobs had a large part to play in it, and he knew where he wanted to go with it. It was an excellent product. Steve Jobs sought the best things in the world. He knew that I was the best designer, and that Apple II was the best computer, and that's why he wanted both. We were best friends, though. So that helped.
It was excellent because it came from my one mind. I controlled the entire environment of how that computer was built. It worked so well that very few parts did very much. Only because, I wanted a computer for me. And it had to be that beautiful.
We all knew Jobs was going to die some day because of his cancer. But did it hit you hard when it actually happened?
It was a shock. It wasn't really hard emotionally because we had expected his death for so long. So it was not something to tear up about. But, ah, Steve Jobs was such an important part of my life that sometimes I tear up.