At the recent WOZ Live event in Perth, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak revealed his personal mantras for success and pointed to how his fundamental values have shaped his career.
Passionate about creative, efficient technical design, Woz views innovation as “our one truly renewable resource – as we will always have brains”.
Below are just some of the insights from the iconic technology mind of our generation, an inspiration for anyone who dreams of “doing things a better way”.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Woz first discovered microprocessor chips at the infamous Homebrew Computer Club, a hobby group whose membership also boasted Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
Unable to afford the pricey Intel chips that Gates had used to write his programming language ‘BASIC’ (which went on to be the basis for Windows operating systems), Woz casually decided to “buy a $20 ‘6502 chip’ and use this to write his own language”.
Using only pen and paper, Woz figured out every 1 and 0 for the code in his head, thus creating his own operating system – the first step in the eternal divide between Microsoft and Mac!
When Jobs and Woz set out, they “never had the industry’s best music player”.
Instead, invisible, user friendly integration between iTunes and the new iPod device was the key to their domination of the music industry.
This unique seamless integration of devices and therefore internal departments remains integral to the enduring success of Apple.
Their ability to control both the hardware and software experience allows the room for growth “no other company has”.
The iPhone was a side project running outside normal business at Apple, where the team was given complete freedom to take time and think outside the box, allowing them space to develop such a great product.
Think beyond the standard way – be a game changer
The iPhone was never created to be a phone plus computer – it was always viewed as “a computer you can carry with you, a small part of it happens to be a phone”.
This thinking revolutionised both the mobile and digital camera industries, shaping the way smartphones have become an extension of our daily lives.
Never an unused part
Apple is notorious for pushing boundaries and technical efficiency is their key.
New models of popular products cut out any pieces no longer needed – they find a better way.
Some minor functions may be lost along the way, but Apple excels at convincing consumers to keep moving ahead with new features.
Woz emphasizes the importance of continual improvements and never accepting the first design is the best.
People are what truly matter
Woz is adamant that for a company to be a success, staff need to feel like they are part of the bigger picture, a family.
This is why he famously gave out his stock options to base level employees when Apple first floated.
Knowing your market is fundamental
Jobs never did market research because he thought consumers couldn’t yet know what they wanted until he showed them.
As for Woz, in his early computer designing days, he “knew what the market wanted – because that market was me”.
As he points out, when you want the end product for yourself, nothing will stop you.
Finding your own way
Or as they say at Apple, Think Differently!
This blog is part of a series on the recent iiNet WOZ Live event in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.