Woz: Apple's Computer Wiz

Steve Wozniak talks about Steve Jobs and how to be happy

By ARVIN TEMKAR, USF NEWS Posted Fri, 04/21/2017 - 08:47

Steve Wozniak, the tech titan who helped launch the personal computing revolution when he designed and hand-built the very first Apple computer, is a consummate engineer — even engineering a formula for happiness: H=S-F.

“Happiness equals smiles minus frowns,” the Apple co-founder quipped, to an audience of about 1,800 at USF’s War Memorial Gym at the Sobrato Center April 20.

“Woz,” as he’s affectionately known to computer lovers around the world, cracked jokes, revealed his guiding philosophies, and spoke about the beginnings of Apple and his relationship with co-founder Steve Jobs in an hour-long conversation with Alfred Chuang ’82, CEO of app development company Magnet Systems.

The public event was part of the School of Management’s USF Silk Speaker Series, which was made possible by a gift from alumnus Jeff Silk ’87

Fast friends with Steve Jobs

Wozniak, a self-professed “geek,” was enthusiastic about technology and computer engineering from an early age. He recounted a sixth grade science fair project, when his father, a Silicon Valley aerospace engineer, taught him how transistors could be used to build a machine that plays tic-tac-toe.  

He met Jobs in 1971, when Jobs — five years younger — was still in high school in Cupertino, California. The pair became best friends, bonding over a love for tech and playing pranks. 

That was before Jobs became a worldwide icon, known for his stubbornness and unrelenting drive.

Jobs’ personality changed after they began Apple, said Wozniak. “He had always wanted to be one of the important people ... Isaac Newton, Shakespeare — one of the people who moves the world forward.”

Pursue your passion 

Offering career advice to students, Wozniak said to have fun, be professional, and “be doing something that you want to do.” He spoke throughout the evening about the importance of being happy and finding time to laugh.

His advice reflected his own approach of pursuing projects he was interested in, not necessarily ones that would make him a fortune. As a young man, he even distributed his computer designs for free. 

As for life, he said, be honest: “Honesty is the apex of all that’s good.”

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