Interview of Steve Wozniak

Posted on August 8, 2006  Comments (5)

Excellent interview of Steve Wozniak from Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston, to be published in a few months.

I said, “No, I’m never going to leave Hewlett-Packard. It’s my job for life. It’s the best company because it’s so good to engineers.” It really treated us like we were a community and family, and everyone cared about everyone else. Engineers—bottom of the org chart people—could come up with the ideas that would be the next hot products for the company. Everything was open to thought, discussion and innovation. So I would never leave Hewlett-Packard. I was going to be an engineer for life there.

Sounds like Google today, see: How Google Works focused on engineering and Enginners at Google Make Decisions.

I was partly hardware and partly software, but, I’ll tell you, I wrote an awful lot of software by hand (I still have the copies that are handwritten) and all of that went into the Apple II. Every byte that went into the Apple II, it had so many different mathematical routines, graphics routines, computer languages, emulators of other machines, ways to slip your code in and out of an emulation mode. It had all these kinds of things and not one bug ever found. Not one bug in the hardware, not one bug in the software. And you just can’t find a product like that nowadays. But, you see, I had it so intense in my head, and the reason for that was largely because it was part of me. Everything in there had to be so important to me. This computer was me. And everything had to be as perfect as could be made. And I had a lot going against me because I didn’t have a computer to compile my code, my software.

The book consists of interviews with founders of technology companies exploring the initial efforts to create a new company. Interviews include: David Heinemeier Hansson, Evan Williams (founder of blogger), Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist), Joel Spolsky (who we have referenced in various posts on our management improvement blog), Ray Ozzie, Paul Graham and many more.

5 Responses to “Interview of Steve Wozniak”

  1. CuriousCat: Dangers of Extrinsic Motivation
    August 10th, 2006 @ 8:11 am

    “Instead of training developers on techniques of writing reliable code, you just absolve yourself of responsibility by paying them if they do. Now every developer has to figure it out on their own…”

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » iWoz
    October 26th, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

    Every engineer—and certainly every engineering student—should read this book. It is about the thrill of invention, the process of making the world a better place, and the purity of entrepreneurship…

  3. CuriousCat: Programmers at Work
    March 3rd, 2008 @ 8:48 am

    Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google: “If you want to know what programmers do, the best thing is to read their code, but failing that (or in addition to that) you need to read interviews like this…”

  4. CuriousCat: Engineers Should Follow Their Hearts
    August 21st, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

    Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder is a great engineer and full of wonderful quotes for engineers to take to heart…

  5. Anonymous
    July 23rd, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

    as an engineer I loved the book, great inspiration for a student like myself

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