Steve Wozniak created WOZ in 2017 to develop the innovators of tomorrow. As a fellow computer scientist and programmer, Wozniak understands innovation in technology perhaps better than anyone.
Working alongside friend Steve Jobs, Wozniak invented the Apple I computer, a user-friendly alternative to traditional computers.
The pair designed the Apple I computer out of Job’s bedroom and garage — Wozniak tinkered and refined the electronics, while Jobs mastered the perfect marketing techniques. In 1976, they started Apple Computers with Ronald Wayne and in 1977 introduced the Apple II, the beginnings of the tech giant that we all know today.
Besides his contributions to one of the most iconic computers ever produced, Wozniak also has a rich background in technology and some relatable interests that you might not know about. Here are five unique facts about Woz U’s Founder Steve Wozniak.
FACT 1: After taking a hiatus during his second year of school, Steve Wozniak returned to complete his degree at the University of California, Berkeley in 1986.
Wozniak began attending Berkeley in 1971, where he embraced the free spirit of a college environment. Of course, he attended classes and used Berkeley’s top supercomputer, but he also found time to have fun, pulling clever pranks and building gizmos.
However, during his second year of school, Wozniak took a temporary leave to pay for college. He worked at several companies, including Hewlett-Packard.
During his time in college, Wozniak also befriended Jobs. They worked on the Apple I and later launched a technology company. Wozniak left his job at Hewlett-Packard and extended his hiatus from school, committing completely to Apple Computers.
Eventually, Wozniak went back to finish his degree. By 1986, Wozniak graduated from Berkeley from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.
FACT 2: One of Steve Wozniak’s first projects was the “Cream Soda Computer.”
During his time in college, Wozniak designed the “Cream Soda Computer.” The computer was named after a favorite drink of Wozniak’s, which he and his friend Bill Fernandez drank when they built the computer.
The Cream Soda computer didn’t have the same modern look that computers have today. It didn’t have a keyboard or screen. Furthermore, the programs on the computer required punched cards. Wozniak shared with Emberify that it also had its faults but helped inspire the first Apple computer.
“It did work and was a good prelude to my thinking 5 years later with the Apple I and Apple II computers. You always move forward and the world of hobby computing was being born around devices not much more than my cream soda computer,” Wozniak said in an interview with Emberfiy.
FACT 3: Steve Wozniak has made several movie and television appearances.
Wozniak has made several appearances on the small and big screens over the years.
Some appearances regard his work with computer science and technology. In 1996, he was featured in a PBS documentary series “Triumph of the Nerds” which highlighted the rise of the personal computer.
In 2009, he competed in “Dancing with the Stars.” He was partnered with Karina Smirnoff, where he learned several routines, including the Argentine Tango. He also appeared on an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” as himself.
FACT 4: Steve Wozniak has a passion for philanthropy.
Wozniak advocated for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and helped provide funding when the foundation was created in 1990. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit organization that defends user privacy and free expression in technology. He also was a sponsor for the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet, and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
Locally, Wozniak invested time and financial resources in the Los Gatos School District. He provided elementary schools with new technology equipment as well as personal insights on innovating new technology.
For his 70th birthday, he also celebrated with a virtual fundraising event that provided donations to Jewel’s Inspiring Children Foundation.
FACT 5: Steve Wozniak’s a fan of “The Queen’s Gambit.”
In 2020, everyone needed a bit of comfort TV to get through the pandemic. Netflix released “The Queen’s Gambit” in late October 2020, and the drama mini-series became incredibly popular among both critics and audiences.
On November 13, 2020, Wozniak posted a positive review about the Netflix drama on Twitter. With the review he wrote, “Worth it in my opinion!”
Steve Wozniak Today
As Wozniak shared with Fortune in 2017, “There are many companies that are started by business people and not engineers. Engineers say, ‘What would be a cool product? What would make the world greater and better?’ That’s where I come from.”
Wozniak permanently left Apple in 1985, and since then, has explored education, philanthropy, and green technology.
In the 1990s, he taught a 5th grade class about technology. More recently, he has created a path for individuals interested in data science, software development, and cybersecurity through the founding of Woz U.
Wozniak also launched a new business called Efforce. Efforce is a blockchain-based platform that allows individuals to invest in energy efficiency projects.
Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.