Steve Wozniak at Turing Festival

Last Thursday (23/8/2012), I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend Steve Wozniak‘s first ever Scottish keynote speech which opened the yearly Turing Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. This was a huge deal to all of us here at Previous Magazine, because if you know the story of Previous Magazine then you’ll know that this digital publication you see before you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this man and his friend who started Apple from Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage. Little did they know that it would turn into the world’s largest corporation and that their story would inspire generations to come to strive to create instead of just imagine their dreams. During the keynote Steve Wozniak discussed everything from the future of technology to the possibility of Segway Polo becoming an Olympic sport. This keynote was every geek’s dream.

The keynote was held in Edinburgh’s Playhouse which seats around 3,000 people. There was not one empty seat, and there was not a single person there that wasn’t positively bubbling with excitement. You could feel in the atmosphere that something special was about to happen. One man was about to inspire thousands of people, and not for the first time.

As Steve Wozniak came on stage, he seemed humble and genuinely shocked at the response he received; approximately 3,000 people applauding in unison for around five minutes. The noise was deafening, but it was one of the best things I have ever witnessed; one man causing so many people to unite in showing him incredible appreciation.

The first thing on the cards was the development of Apple as a company, Steve Wozniak being the humble gentleman that he is mentioned was that although Steve Jobs and him had indeed founded Apple, there were so many employees that made it possible and didn’t even get recognition. He made sure to mention an investor too, whom he was positive that Apple wouldn’t have happened without.
Being two young men starting out in a garage brought us onto the subject of young entrepreneurs—these are the people who Steve Wozniak believes to be the future of technology, he mentioned this many times and even mentioned how although all of us are going through a recession, it seems to just be pushing entrepreneurs on.

It is wonderful to see someone from Steve’s generation believing in young people so much, knowing that they could do what they set their mind to. You could see and almost feel every single entrepreneur in the room smile with pride as the man who inspired them told of how he believed in them.

People don’t want to sit down and do as they’re told anymore; they want to create. They want to make something that no one else has in the past; something truly unique, and Steve Wozniak has a firm belief that if these people really want to make a change, then they will.

How Steve Wozniak justifies this claim

He’s been there. He’s done it. He spoke about how every single product he made at Apple was primarily because of his own personal want for that product. Steve Wozniak discussed many points in his life that proved his theory of making the things you want; as a child his first gadget that he fell in love with was his first ever transistor radio. His father discussed with him how everybody could have one due to the affordable nature of transistors. Steve Wozniak described how this is what made him become the technical genius that he is and further went on to tell us about how he made a floppy disk drive, that should have taken him at least a year to build, eventually only took him two weeks. How? He was being repaid with a trip to Vegas with some of the people from Apple. He didn’t do the job for the money, he did it for his passion to make wonderful, affordable equipment and for the chance to visit a city that he had longed to visit for some time.

Steve Wozniak: After Apple

After Apple, Steve Wozniak mentioned how he managed to complete one of his childhood dreams. This dream was to teach, and he did just that. He went on to teach fifth graders for eight years, and those years spent teaching have given Steve Wozniak some innovative ideas for the future of learning.

Steve Wozniak believes that a class of thirty students shouldn’t all have to try to learn at the same rate. Every human being is different and therefore they learn at a different rate. He has faith that the future of teaching isn’t just in technology; it is in technology with a personal touch. Steve Wozniak believes that technology doesn’t lead to better thinking, instead he thinks that a teacher who can take you through the steps you personally need does. Steve Wozniak’s dream for the future of teaching is a teacher per student which is actually a computer-a human touch within a machine that is tailored to each individual child, in order to get them to where they need to be at their own rate. No more one-size-fits-all education that has become the norm in the UK.
But teaching isn’t the only industry that Steve Wozniak thinks technology is going to play a huge part in, he is certain it’s going to play a huge part in all industries and even in our personal lives. Not many people these days live without any technology, we’ve all got a computer and a smartphone and even a tablet, and we all use these things to access the internet.

Steve Wozniak at the Turing Festival 2012

Steve Wozniak’s views on the internet

Steve Wozniak is open about his desire for the internet to stay open and free, like it always has been, he doesn’t condone restrictions on something that everyone was once free to roam as they wished and he thinks that the best thing the internet has developed for people is the belief that they can do anything. So many businesses today are brought to life on the internet, be it through a website or app. Previous Magazine is one of them. Google can answer almost any question we may have, the simplicity of typing a few words into a search engine and having your question answered in a matter of seconds is something that a lot of us overlook. Google can bring us news, videos, definitions, images and websites regarding whatever our question may be, and that is something that is pretty spectacular in Steve Wozniak’s eyes.

Human beings love information, and we should have the ability to search for this information without barriers.

We can’t kill the internet, we can’t switch it off, and it is hard to ignore it.

I think we all know by now that Steve Wozniak values the availability of free information, and he has always openly admitted his love of open source and API openness. However, Apple’s approach to this has always been quite the opposite. With the App Store being tightly controlled and Apple’s software only being available on Apple products – with the exception of iTunes which is available on Apple Mac OS X and Windows – how does Steve think it should be? He believes that Apple stayed close to the world by keeping everything together and having Apple Mac OS X only available on Apple devices, but he believes that improving the availability of iTunes made Apple even closer to the world with allowing almost everyone the access to iTunes. One thing he would like to change is the App Store, he believes that the App Store should be more open to developers instead of being so tightly controlled. According to him, the App Store makes it possible for many young people to start their own business, and thus being the reason he would make the App Store more open but for it to remain moderated to an extent.

Conclusion

The most important thing that stood out during Steve Wozniak’s hour long talk was his belief in the future, and more importantly in the generation that has the future of technology in their hands. He mentioned repeatedly how there is a generation out there that have the confidence to stand up and be counted, to work for what they want in life and to ignore anything that got in the way. Personally, I think that if it wasn’t for people like Steve Wozniak there wouldn’t be this generation of people. He believes in us, and that’s something that will always make someone believe in themselves.

The hour I spent listening to Steve Wozniak was the most inspiring hour of my life. He made me realise that I’m not crazy for thinking that I can create the life I want. If anything, I’m part of a majority. People are tired of being told what to do, they’re tired of being told no, and they’re willing to make their future their own. According to Steve Wozniak, your dreams are always going to “Change the world and make it better for everyone” and he believes that Apple Inc. stayed true to that.

The most important piece of advice I took from Steve Wozniak’s keynote is the importance of time. The only regret he had about Apple was how they rushed to get the first Mac computer out and didn’t spend the time that they should have on making it better.

Steve’s most important advice for all the dreamers out there today? Utilize your time, work from one mind and keep a tight team. Most importantly, you have to do it for you and make something that you want to use. Keep it fun, and never do it for the money. He trusts that those who start out with these things in mind are the ones who will end up with a product or service on a par with the quality of Apple Inc..

Steve Wozniak may have helped change the world, but when asked what the most fun thing in his life he has ever done was, his reply was simply “My first kiss.”. I think that we could all learn something from the humbleness of Woz, no matter the industry we work in. He had another commitment to get to, but he made sure to meet and get a photo with every single person that waited in a queue that filled the street. Steve thinks that it’s important to make the effort to meet everyone that makes the effort to see him, and that’s something that isn’t seen enough considering the general attitude towards fans by the majority of celebrities.

What do you guys think? Is it more important to remain upon the predefined path within our society, or to follow your dreams for the possibility of them making us wealthy in both monetary and psychological ways? Let us know your response to Steve Wozniak’s thinking in the comment section below.

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