Before laptops fit into briefcases, tablets were as thin as magazines, and cellphones fit into pockets, computers were as big as vending machines and certainly not portable. In 1977, Steve Wozniak changed that by unveiling the world’s first personal computer, alongside Steve Jobs. A Silicon Valley icon, technology entrepreneur, and philanthropist for more than 40 years, Wozniak has helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products. In his riveting talks, he shares his personal story, the history of Apple, and speculates on the future of high-tech.
Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple in 1976 with Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. The following year, he introduced his Apple II personal computer, featuring a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive. The Apple II was integral in launching the personal computer industry, and Wozniak is listed as the sole inventor on four Apple patents.
For his achievements, Wozniak has been awarded the National Medal of Technology, the Hoover Medal, and the Heinz Award. He has also been inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame. He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet, and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. Wozniak is also the author of his bestselling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon.
After leaving Apple in 1985, Wozniak was involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on, experiential learning and encouraging creativity and innovation by students. Making significant investments of both his time and resources in education, he “adopted” the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment. In October 2017, he co-founded Woz U — a post-secondary education and training platform focused on software engineering and technology development.
Today, Wozniak is the co-founder of Efforce, which leverages disparate applications of blockchain technology. Prior to this, he was the chief scientist at Fusion-io.