Steve Wozniak spoke at the Startup World Cup Finale Friday, where he talked about Apple’s early days, his own even earlier days, startup value, and some of the lessons he’s learned along the way. At the end of his keynote, he was presented with a miniature version of the Startup World Cup itself, which he accepted saying, “This one’s for Apple.”
His presentation and that final parting comment were greeted enthusiastically by the audience of startups, big companies, and venture capitalists.
Woz Tells It Like It Was
The event was billed as something where Woz would tell “untold stories” about Apple. I had my doubts about that simply because Mr. Wozniak is so generous with his time and has told so many stories about Apple and its founding.
I’m not sure that I heard anything new, but we did get treated to a terrific mix of anecdotes, life lessons, and the importance of good engineering.
Some key takeaways included:
- Good engineering is vitally important
- Serendipity, timing, and luck all play a role in the success of most startups
- If you learn how to build the blocks, you can do anything you want with them
- “Startups are the most important things we have going on”
- Education is nice, but take the opportunity to participate in a startup if it’s a good one
- Make products for yourself first—that’s how to make a great product
Now Somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of Silicon Valley
One of my favorite anecdotes from the event—and I’ve long loved this story—was about how Woz went to Berkeley to finish his degree in 1986. To fly under the radar, he enrolled and got his degree under the name Rocky Raccoon Clark to fly under the radar. Still, check out this LA Times story from back in the day.