Question from E-mail

Hi Mr. Woz, I just wanted to say that I just saw Pirates of Silicon Valley and was amazed at what went on way back when. I commend you for remaining the same person you've always been rather than turning into a money hungry, stuck up person like so many others do. It's so interesting to me that you made the computer that made Apple even possible, but it was Steve Job's that seemed to take all the credit.

Was the scene with the man being interviewed really true? Did Steve Job's actually demean a potential employee?? I have to say, that they portrayed him as a real jerk who was very demeaning to his employees if they did not perform to his liking. And actually, Bill Gates was no better. They were and maybe still are hungry for the power. The other thing that I found interesting and didn't realize was that Microsoft now owns part of Apple. Steve Jobs is definitely a brilliant business man but after seeing what Bill Gates has done I'd have to say that he's even more savvy! Anyway, those were just a few thoughts I had. I was just really impressed with your character and how you've remained the same person that you were when you created that first computer. I hope you don't mind my two cents. : - )

Woz

It's funny, but even with all the things that aren't said outright, a great number of people, like yourself, saw a lot of things in that movie that are totally true. The personalities were very accurately portrayed.

I designed the computers just to do it and show the world that it could be done and help them happen. Later Steve Jobs suggested starting a company to make money from it. I'd been giving out schematics for free at the Homebrew Computer Club. That's what I believed in. It was hard for me to even start the company when it looked like there might be real money in it.

I often wonder why I remained the person I always wanted to be, from late high school on. I wanted to be an engineer and then a 5th grade teacher and I wanted a computer someday and I wanted to be nice to people and I wanted to tell and make jokes and I wanted a family and home. It couldn't have come truer for me.

Comment from E-mail

Hi, I am 14 years old. My friend and I want to build an Apple 1 clone, for fun and to advance our skills. Any help that you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Woz

Noble idea. They didn't show it but I gave out schematics to my Apple I at the Homebrew Computer Club before Steve Jobs suggested starting a company. I'd gladly approve you being able to make a cheap one, but don't know how it would be possible today. If it were possible, the Apple ][ is the way to go, I assure you.

Comment from E-mail

Dear Steve, It occurred to me while reading your comments about the movie that you seem to have a natural knack for a lot of things and understanding and developing technology, amazingly, is just the tip of the iceberg. You instinctively seem to know what is important in life, how to prioritize for the things that really matter like kids, friends, etc. and the value of simply being kind to people and kind to animals. If you've found your bliss then I believe that is more of an accomplishment than anything else we are put on this earth to face. It is so hard to believe in yourself sometimes. I think if you can instill this idea in kids...to believe in themselves and be true to themselves and listen to their own intuition, then that is the best lesson anyone could give. You give that lesson every day by your own example.

I saw Larry Ellison on an old Charlie Rose show the other day. It was from 1997 I think but anyway, he was talking about how the Japanese value service to others and view being of service to others as a path toward happiness. He said being in Japan was like being on another planet because, generally, we don't appreciate people who are of service to us in the U.S. We look upon serving others as demeaning. That's a really sad thing to say but it's true. Most of the time, if we're honest about it, we reward ruthlessness. (how many people have Microsoft stock right now, in effect, making Gates even richer?) But I guess I shouldn't think of money as a reward. Only then does life even start to make any sense. It is better to give than to receive but it's a lot harder. You've followed your path, were true to yourself and to your friends and even now, have continued to be of invaluable service to others. Even by having this web page you are giving others a glimpse that good things do happen to good people. Thank you for that. Thank you for being you.

Woz

Thanks. I agree with your values. Yes, I'm very lucky to have a clean light head with almost no major worries about things ever. I'm of the opinion that you have to develop your own keys to happiness from your own logic, and that one's keys can't be told to another who can't 'feel' them. So I never take the opinion that the ways I found happiness (long before Apple) can be told to someone else (a child perhaps) and help them be happy. They have to find their own for it to work.

 

All terms: Happiness
Question from Susan

My first Mac (which still works) was a 512 "Enhanced" with all the signatures inside. Can you tell me more about this model? Thank You, Susan

Woz

Steve Jobs felt that the early Mac should be very closed to have good control over what it was and did. But that left oversights like memory expansion. So the 128K 'first' Mac had to soon be replaced by the 512K model (as RAM prices dropped).

The original Macs had the signatures inside. It's pretty cool. Despite the fact that my plane crash had taken me out of Apple and through college and into promoting rock concerts, many of the Mac team felt that they'd been so influenced by me that they included me among the signaturees.

All terms: Mac 128K, Mac 512K
Comment from P. D.

You are the kind of person who is lacking today...I admire you greatly. I have read some of the early stories, and I commend you for being someone we can all look up to! P.D.

Woz

Thanks very much. I'm glad to have inspired so many not for being in charge of the companies that make their products.

All terms: Thank You
Comment from E-mail

Can you discuss the nature of your relationship with Steve Jobs at this time? [pre 2000]

Woz

I actually like him and what he says. I couldn't treat people the way he does but I've never witnessed it either. He's quite intelligent and makes sense, although he doesn't always listen fully. For example, I might be trying to help and he might hear it more as a worthless complaint. I do not oppose Steve in any way. I'm even amazed if he really pulls off Apple's next decade successfully. I could never manage projects well, as Steve does, now that they are so complex with so many people involved.

All terms: Steve Jobs
Question from Mark B.

I was just browsing through your website and I just thought I'd offer my two cents and ask you a question regarding Pirates of Silicon Valley.

The main character in the movie seems to be Steve Jobs, described by the director in an interview as a complex Shakespearean character. While this maybe true, I found your character equally compelling, and ironically, an opposite in many respects to Steve Jobs in desires and ambitions. After reading your comments and seeing the movie, I came away with a greater sense of the history at Apple, and your your significant role, to create revolutionary rather than evolutionary products. It was interesting for me to see that, although computers can perform many of the same functions, Apple's early focus on creativity (both at Apple and in there users) remains as compelling today as it was back then. Kudos to you for defining the essence of Apple early on.

I guess, if I could ask one question: Why was Steve Jobs so cruel, especially with regards to his own child? The director eluded to his adoption and the search for his mother but no evidence for a link was ever given. Is this one of those things that only Steve Jobs knows the answer to? Did you ever get any insight to the source of this behavior? I have to believe this is beyond the simple desire to have people perform at 110% for 90 hrs/wk.

Thanks again for creating and defining a tool millions of people can use to learn, express, and communicate ideas.

Sincerely, Mark B.

Woz

First, you are accurately observant. I look back at the importance of making computers quite unlike any that had ever been done and can see how great that was. The Apple I was the first low cost computer to come with an alphanumeric keyboard standard. I just couldn't see the waste and effort to build some general techie product that needed a lot more junk to start typing. And until you type, nothing is worth much. I'd been through the other computer paradigm my whole life before. Also, our calculators at HP had meaningful (to humans) keyboards when turned on. I also made the Apple I display on the cheapest device possible, your own home TV. I also wrote the BASIC for it. I only left out floating point after thinking hard in order to have the first BASIC for a 6502 and maybe get a little fame in my club. The Apple ][ was the first to have BASIC in ROM, the first to have DRAMs, expandable hugely on the motherboard, the first to have so few chips, the first to be completely built, the first with a plastic case, the first with color graphics, the first with hi-res, the first with sound, the first with paddles for games, the first to include built-in casette interface, the first to have color and game commands in the BASIC, etc. It was the third ever to look like a typewriter (the Apple I was the first). I'm especially that I helped the concept of computers are for games develop so early.

Steve and I are very different. Mainly, I want to be an engineer and make neat things for my own fun, forever. I told Steve and Mike Markkula that I wouldn't expand Apple into a real company because I had to quit HP (I'd designed all the Apple stuff moonlighting for a year!). I loved HP. But I finally realized that I could do it and not have to run it. From the start, Steve wanted to run a company and learn the ways to. Otherwise, what was his contribution? He didn't design any of it.

Steve's management style has left a lot of bad impressions. I never saw it personally and it was different than I would have expected from knowing him. I don't think that he was ever cruel to his daughter, at least as far as the movie. He may have indirectly been cruel to the mother. Well, here's my take on that. All the people that lived in the Cupertino house with the two of them agreed that it was Steve's child for sure. I'm assuming he didn't like her idea to have the baby. But he wasn't in control. I think that's why he said "I don't know" about why he was being this way. He couldn't pinpoint the fact that he was being told by someone else what was going to happen. Does this make sense. It's my theory. Taking that into account, it's understandable. He had strong feelings to fight this baby thing and it came out the way it came out, maybe not exactly intentionally.

I don't get a lot of insight into Steve's behavior. A lot of it, or what infuences it, is more secret than in people like myself. But he always seems to be thinking well and just wanting to do things that make sense most of the time. Sometimes Steve doesn't listen fully but he tries to.

Comment from E-mail

You are one of my favorite people in entire world. After seeing Pirates of Silicon Valley, I understand the differences between you and Jobs in 80's. I m being curious about today's relationship between you and Jobs? Has Jobs changed a lot today comparing to early 80's? Like people say, "Wine gets better when it matures in time.."

Whether or not Steve has changed (I believe that he's much better than before) a person like him is needed to carry mankind ahead.

Also, Apple has made a comeback into computer industry and how do you feel about it. Standing mighty PROUD? :)

Woz

I'm very glad that Apple is the only company that can make great strides in new directions. A few, like Sony, try but they are trapped by Intel and Microsoft. I'm only proud when people have a better life because they have good computers. When the industry makes positive changes that affect individuals I'm happy.

Comment from E-mail

Hello, I am hoping to contact Mr. Steve Wozniak. I have become interested in the history of personal computers over the last year. Did you see the TV movie PIRATES of Silicon Valley? After seeing that show, I read the book Infinite Loop, which is all about the evolution of Apple computer- very interesting story! Good thing for Steve Jobs that there was and is the WOZ! Are you interested in DVDs? Computer games? The game everyone is holding their breath for now is Quake3- Arena. The 3D videocard accelerators on the market these days are awesome. I currently have a Matrox G400 Max running on a P3-450 machine. I will probably buy an Intel Coppermine 667 next year- he he, it is the only 1990`s processor that has not ended in 0 or 6.My favorite DVD is the DTS version of Saving Private Ryan.Anyway, I was hoping that you might be an E-mail/chat pal!Please E me back! You invented super breakout for Atari! I used to love that game.The classic 1980s game I still like is Centipede.

Woz

Hi, this is Woz.

I'm interested in almost everything fun and technical, especially entertainment things like DVD's. I don't have time for all the great computer games but I have sons and I get to see them all. I play a few but I play those few for years and years. I'm hooked on Snood and Spades Deluxe right now. Occasionally I play Solitaire. I play a lot of Tetris on Gameboy and I play very well.

I'm glad to hear that you have such extremely good computer equipment. It's amazing how much a good graphics accelerator can add.

It's best not to get in a lot of email with me. Thousands have the idea. I get 200 emails or more a day and am totally consumed by it and I miss out on family time even. But I do like hearing about what people out there are doing and how they feel.

All terms: Breakout, email, Games, Tetris
Question from E-mail

Hi, I watched the TNT movie, The Pirates of Silicon Valley and I was wondering if you quit your job at Apple because of Steve's behavior during his "leadership" time at Apple, and also what computer were you designing just before you quit?

Woz

I never quit. I just left the direct site to develop a remote control on my own. There was a lot of mistaken publicity along the lines that I left because of things that I didn't like there and it's totally wrong.

All terms: Apple