As one of the co-founders of Apple, Inc., Steve Wozniak is an icon and legend in the world of technology and computer science. He and Steve Jobs are the creators of the Apple I and II computers that established Apple as one of the major formats of home computers.
Wozniak worked hard to procure Apple computers into schools and helped design the first McIntosh computer. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan awarded Wozniak the National Medal of Technology. That same year, both Jobs and Wozniak left Apple due to the shifting priorities within the company.
Fun Facts About Steve Wozniak
Unlike Steve Jobs, who later returned to Apple, Steve Wozniak continued his tech work while staying out of the spotlight. You might not know as much about Wozniak, so here are a few fun facts:
- Steve isn’t actually his name. While friends and colleagues refer to him as “Woz” or the “Great and Powerful Woz,” many people think his full name is Steven Wozniak. It isn’t; his legal name is Stephan Wozniak.
- The first computer that Wozniak built was the Cream Soda Computer — named after the drink he and his friends enjoyed while building it.
- Due to his father, Wozniak has an extreme distaste for lying and won’t do it. He believes in telling the truth and making the ethical choice.
- Though honest and sometimes on the more serious side, Wozniak enjoys a good joke. As a prank, Jobs and Wozniak called the Vatican, claiming to be Henry Kissinger and asked to speak to the Pope.
- Wozniak and Jobs were once robbed at gunpoint in a parked car for a Blue Box, a device that created noises that sounded like a telephone operator’s console. The Blue Box made free and untraceable phone calls.
Starting Out in Tech
Steve Wozniak was a kid prodigy who built his first computer at the age of 13. The Cream Soda Computer was a small circuit board that allowed you to plug-in connectors and solder in chips.
His fascinations with electronics began as a child and most likely originated from his father’s career as an engineer at Lockheed Martin. Wozniak had the unique ability to build electronics from scratch without a formal education.
After high school, Woz attended the University of California at Berkeley. Through a mutual friend, Wozniak met Steve Jobs, who was in high school at the time. The two teamed up to build computers, and Wozniak quit his job with Hewlett Packard.
Jobs and Wozniak worked out of Job’s garage and bedroom as they attempted to create a more user-friendly home computer. They wanted to create a computer to replace the ones being sold by International Business Machines (IBM).
Life and Career After Apple, Inc.
In 1981, Steve Wozniak received substantial injuries in a plane crash. The injuries were extensive and included amnesia, and he spent two years recovering from them. He returned to Berkeley to complete his degree but dropped out again. Wozniak struggled with the constraints that academia placed on his learning and innovating.
He returned to Apple but stayed for less than two years. During the two years, he helped to create the McIntosh. To this day, he retains a ceremonial role in Apple and continues to receive a small salary.
Woz attempted several business ventures after leaving Apple a second time. He created “UNUSON” (Unite Us In Song) corporation to present music concerts. However, the business floundered and finally failed after scheduling two music events. Nonetheless, Wozniak created the first universal remote in 1987, which we’re all really happy about.
Steve Wozniak in the New Century
In the 1990s, Steve Wozniak and his friend, Mitchell Kapor, founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This non-profit company works hard to help protect the civil rights of individuals working in the digital world, including providing defendants accused of computer hacking with legal representation.
In 2002, Wozniak started Wheels of Zeus (WoZ), a company that began developing wireless GPS technology. WoZ closed its doors four years later. After that, he opened a holding company to help open innovative tech companies. This led to Wozniak accepting the role of Chief Scientist at Fusion-io, based in Salt Lake City. He later took on the same role at Primary Data.
Wozniak wrote and published his own autobiography, “iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It” in 2007. It provides valuable insight into his mindset and his work ethic.
Where Is Steve Wozniak Today?
With reality shows all the rage, Steve Wozniak made an appearance on two: Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and ABC’s Dancing with the Stars during season eight. However, he never forgot his first love of technology and computers. He also never forgot how he was unable to fit into the constraints and the strict regimen of academia.
In 2017, With his own experiences in mind, Wozniak founded Woz U. Woz U is an EdTech solution to help the next generation of tech-savvy learners to study and grow in unconventional ways. The goal of the organization is to advance the tech workforce by closing the technical skills gap through accessible tech training.
Inspired by Wozniak’s passion, Woz U has developed an extensive digital presence for non-traditional learners. whether completely new to technology or a seasoned veteran, Woz U learners can access curriculum with their laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. Woz U creates curriculum to meet the needs of each of its learners enabling them to master the most in-demand tech skills. Additionally, Woz U partners with traditional colleges, institutions and employers to offer a curriculum that empowers pupils to make the transition from training to a career in technology.
If you have a passion for technology, and you don’t fit the traditional mold for a college student, or you are looking to supplement your traditional studies, then you might be a good fit for a program powered by Woz U. If this is your year to transform yourself and become a new you, an individual who makes your dreams a reality, then Woz U is ready to help with your next steps. Please, contact us today.