Professor’s Prologue by Dr. Robert McGrath, Assistant Professor of Management at Lesley
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
After leaving the University of California at Berkeley after one year, Wozniak invented the Apple I and then, the Apple II – moving from a family garage to a company called Apple Computers, founded in 1976, with a market capitalization of nearly $1 billion by 1983.
Steve Wozniak is a computer scientist with keen technical skills, yet his pioneering vision has always been distinctly human. He recognized that the then-dominant larger computers were not the future of personal computing, and he was driven by his conviction, proclaiming, “Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.”
Within the early structure of Apple Computers, Inc., Wozniak single-handedly created the Apple I, representing the paradigm shift to the micro-computer. Profit was not the driving motivation. According to Wozniak, “Our first computers were born not out of greed or ego, but in the revolutionary spirit of helping common people rise above the most powerful institutions.” In fact, Wozniak indicated that “I don’t care if I live in the smallest home, just so long as I have my very own computer.” That was a dream that he made a reality for himself and for millions around the world. And thus, Wozniak wrote the first chapter of the modern revolution of personal computing.
Wozniak’s spirit of creativity and innovation drives his numerous ventures. In his words, “The love in my life is starting small companies with small groups of friends. Bringing new ideas out and trying to build them.”
In this spirit, Wozniak has been involved in creating the first universal remote control, the CL 9 CORE; founding the Wheels of Zeus, or WoZ, his company that made wireless hardware to track objects such as a briefcase or pet; serving on the Advisory Board of Scottevest, which designs and manufactures a full line of clothing with specialized pockets and compartments to manage and control wires of electronic devices; and becoming the Chief Scientist for Fusion-io, a computer hardware and software systems company that designs and manufactures products using flash memory technology.
A noted philanthropist, he indicates in his autobiography, “iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It,” that early on, he felt an affinity for his “philosophy of peace” and “love for one's fellow man.” He has lived these words by teaching the fifth grade; donating technical expertise and money to various school districts; crafting the vision and being the primary sponsor for the Tech Museum of Innovation whose mission is “Imagine a new generation of science centers;” serving as the founding sponsor of the Silicon Valley Ballet: and lending generous support to the Children’s Discovery Museum. He returned to the University of California at Berkeley to earn his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and computer science in 1981. His awards include the National Medal of Technology bestowed by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, the highest honor bestowed on America’s leading innovators, and the Heinz Award for “lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers.” He also has been inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.
Mr. Wozniak’s remarkable life’s work has changed the world in which we live. He continues to inspire and challenge us to continue to pursue our passions. As he recently said, “I hope you're as lucky as I am. The world needs inventors - great ones. You can be one. If you love what you do and are willing to do what it really takes, it's within your reach. And it'll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build. It'll be worth it, I promise.”
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