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Steve Wozniak speaks out about Steve Jobs

An interesting conversation took place on Google Plus this week.  Steve Wozniak talks about the new movie “Jobs” and provides some rare insight into Jobs and Apple’s history.
If you’d like to join the conversation and view his comments “in context” of the conversation flow, you can read the entire stream on Carms Perez’s G+ page. The following are Steve Wozniak’s comments in the conversation.
 Steve Wozniak

Aug 19, 2013

Actually, the movie was largely a lie about me. I was an engineer at HP designing the iPhone 5 of the time, their scientific calculators. I had many friends and a good reputation there. I designed things for people all over the country, for fun, all the time too, including the first hotel movie systems and SMPTE time code readers for the commercial video world. Also home pinball games. Among these things, the Apple I was the FIFTH time that something I had created (not built from someone else’s schematic) was turned into money by Jobs. My Pong game got him his job at Atari but he never was an engineer or programmer. I was a regular member at the Homebrew Computer Club from day one and Jobs didn’t know it existed. He was up in Oregon then. I’d take my designs to the meetings and demonstrate them and I had a big following. I wasn’t some guy nobody talked to, although I was shy in social settings. i gave that computer design away for free to help people who were espousing the thoughts about computers changing life in so many regards (communication, education, productivity, etc.). I was inspired by Stanford intellectuals like Jim Warren talking this way at the club. Lee Felsenstein wanted computers to help in things like the antiwar marches he’d orchestrated in Oakland and I was inspired by the fact that these machines could help stop wars. Others in the club had working models of this computer before Jobs knew it existed. He came down one week and I took him to show him the club, not the reverse. He saw it as a businessman. It as I who told Jobs the good things these machines could do for humanity, not the reverse. I begged Steve that we donate the first Apple I to a woman who took computers into elementary schools but he made my buy it and donate it myself.

When I first met Jobs, I had EVERY Dylan album. I was a hardcore fan. I had bootlegs too. Jobs knew a few popular Dylan songs and related to the phrase “when you ain’t got nothin’ you got nothing to lose.” I showed Jobs all my liner notes and lyrics and took him to record stores near San Jose State and Berkeley to buy Dylan bootlegs. I showed him brochures full of Dylan quotes and articles and photos. I brought Jobs into this Dylan world in a big way. I would go to the right post office at midnight, in Oakland, to buy tickets to a Dylan concert and would take Jobs with me. Jobs asked early on in our friendship whether Dylan or the Beatles were better. I had no Beatles album. We both concurred that Dylan was more important because he said important things and thoughtful things. So a Beatles fan was kind of a pop lamb to us. Why would they portray us in the movie as Dylan for Jobs and Beatles for me?

And when Jobs (in the movie, but really a board does this) denied stock to the early garage team (some not even shown) I’m surprised that they chose not to show me giving about $10M of my own stock to them because it was the right thing. And $10M was a lot in that time.

Also, note that the movie showed a time frame in which every computer Jobs developed was a failure. And they had millions of dollars behind them. My Apple ][ was developed on nothing and productized on very little. Yet it was the only revenue and profit source of the company for the first 10 years, well past the point that Jobs had left. The movie made it seem that board members didn’t acknowledge Jobs’ great work on Macintosh but when sales fall to a few hundred a month and the stock dives to 50% in a short time, someone has to save the company. The proper course was to work every angle possible, engineering and marketing, to make the Macintosh marketable while the Apple ][ still supported us for years. This work was done by Sculley and others and it involved opening the Macintosh up too.

The movie shows Steve’s driving of the Macintosh team but not the stuff that most of the team said they’d never again work for him. It doesn’t show his disdain and attempts to kill the Apple ][, our revenue source, so that the Macintosh wouldn’t have to compete with it. The movie audience would want to see a complete picture and they can often tell when they are being shortchanged.

And ease of computer came to the world more than anything from Jef Raskin, in many ways and long before Jef told us to look into Xerox. Jef was badly portrayed.

And if you think that our investor and equal stock holder and mentor Mike Markkula was Jobs’ stooge (and not in control of everything), well, you have been duped.

Jobs mannerisms and phrases are motivational and you need a driver to move things along. But it’s also important to have the skills to execute and create products that will be popular enough to sell for more than it costs to make them. Jobs didn’t have that success at Apple until the iPod, although OS X deserves the credit too. These sorts of things people would have wanted to see, about Jobs or about Apple, but the movie gives other images of what was behind it all and none add up.

 Steve Wozniak

Jan 19, 2014
Thank you so much for your dear expression.

The real thing everyone can agree on is that we are all thankful for Apple, what it means as well as the great products. What a journey.

Jan 19, 2014

I enjoyed “Pirates” more.

Josh Gad wanted the Jobs movie to include my giving stock to early garage members (about $20M of today’s dollars) after the company gave them none. They might also have shown how I sold a ton of my own pre-IPO stock to employees so that another 40-80 of them could benefit from our IPO. Each of them got about a house out of it.

Jan 20, 2014

Actually, Jobs was not fired. He could have been well funded to develop any product, even something like the NeXT, right at Apple. He was removed from running Macintosh because he had no good constructive ideas that were needed to save the company. He felt that some small adjustments in pricing, and diverting funds from our revenue source, the Apple ][, would make the Macintosh an instant success. The Macintosh was great and was the future in the eyes of those who displaced Jobs. But it was time to be adult and realistic. Hard work to build a Macintosh market would be needed. I’m sad too that the Macintosh wouldn’t sell just on its own.

Jobs decided to leave, telling me that he felt his life was about making computers and that he couldn’t do it at Apple. In the end, his life was about using computer technology for consumer products, even today’s smart phones. He actually had a string of failures trying to develop the next computer. It’s possible that he really left out of spite, wanting to challenge Apple, or out of embarrassment over the Macintosh failure in the market.

Still, he had plenty of wealth that came all from the Apple ][ to invest in NeXT and Pixar and that gave him the chance to mature as an executive.

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