Apr 16th, 2019

What I Learned From Interviewing Steve Wozniak

Yesterday I had the insane pleasure and distinct honor to interview Apple cofounder and Silicon Valley legend Steve Wozniak for a full hour on the stage of The Entrepreneurs Organization’s annual Global Leader Conference in Macau.

Woz was insightful, witty, hilarious and extensive in his answers – we talked about his early days at Apple and HP, what gets him excited in tech these days (“hacking robots and Raspberry Pis”), creating the infamous blue box (“I never used it to make illegal calls myself”), what he thinks about Silicon Valley today (“amazing things happen all over the world – Silicon Valley is one of many innovation hubs these days”) and what, if anything, he would do differently, knowing what he knows today (“nothing”).

What stood out to me personally was his response when I asked him if he believes he would have done what he did and achieve all he achieved if he would have stayed at HP (Woz famously didn’t want to leave HP to build Apple as he saw himself at HP for the rest of his life). His answer was, in a nutshell, that it didn’t matter to him – as he found happiness early in life. For him happiness is making and hacking things, a skill and passion he discovered early in his career.

It made me think: How many of us do actually know very well what makes us happy, but are trapped in the “more for the sake of more”-hamster wheel? Or think we “should” do things, as it is what is expected of us. Or follow in the footsteps of others for no good reason other than social norms. Or let our desire for social status dictate our actions.

Why don’t we all spend a bit of time to connect with what makes us happy and follow that instead of some make-believe pastiche? I am certain it will lead not just to a better life but also truer success.

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