Steve Wozniak Interview

Woz on Steve Jobs and the history of Apple.

How do you think history views your involvement with Apple?
I get more mention than I deserve. For some reason I get this key position of being one of two people that started the company that started the revolution. Steve and I get a lot of credit, but Mike Markkula was probably more responsible for our early success, and you never hear about him. In the end, I hope there’s a little note somewhere that says I designed a good computer. I’m just kind of amazed how many people say, “We owe so much to you.” They just better not act like I wasn’t a top engineer. That would upset me.

What did you think about how you were portrayed in Pirates of Silicon Valley?
[Laughs]. I was amazed. I thought it was extremely accurate in terms of personality and the way I was.

What about how it portrayed other key people?
Unbelievably accurate. The scenes were all made up, but they were presenting issues and psychological conflicts that really did happen. They even had Steve in the scene where I was showing the press a computer I built, although it was a different guy that built that with me. So there’s inaccuracies—if you want to look at it in one respect—but the personalities and the issues that were going on were extremely accurate. For legal reasons, they didn’t talk to any of the principals. They didn’t have any firsthand input—only from press stories and things that had been said. That’s partly why it was so accurate—because when people talk about themselves they don’t portray themselves accurately.

What do you generally think of the books that have been written about Apple?
I like them more if they have a bit of entertainment in them. I don’t want to read books that are business-y. There was one, “The Silicon Boys,” by David Kaplan, that had some really interesting stories. More like reading People magazine than the Wall Street Journal.

When you were at Apple on a day-to-day basis, what did you like best about working there?
Back then it was so exciting. Everything we did we were setting the tone for the world. We were the computer to have in your home. Any project you worked on had value. Today, if you work on 10 different things, one of them might have value.

Was there a particular point when it started to lose its allure?
For myself personally, there was a point where all of a sudden I wasn’t the sole engineer that was critical for everything. That was a difference for me. And Apple had such great financial success I really didn’t need to be there.

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