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Opera Solutions' Distinguished Lecture Series: Steve Wozniak Sits Down For Q&A

Posted by Todd Higginson on Tue, Nov 15, 2011

From his early beginnings — when he would tinker with his engineering know-how to pull masterful pranks — to the creation of the Apple I and Apple II, Steve Wozniak has always blended creativity and problem solving to result in a mind-bending solution.

As part of Opera Solutions' Distinguished Lecture Series, Wozniak sat down to field questions from Anton Popov, a fellow Operaite, near our San Diego office. From targeted advice intended for entrepreneurs to Wozniak's philosophy on life to his favorite pranks, questions ran the gamut.

Because we know Wozniak's thought-leading insights run in parallel to Opera Solutions' problem solving mission in advanced analytics, we want to share with you some takeaways from Woz's Q&A:

    • On the heating-up debate of man vs. machine or man plus machine, Wozniak said, "You need the human intellect to solve a problem," because while a computer can do a million things in a second, it needs the right direction and the right guidance.
  • When asked about his favorite invention, he cited the Apple II computer because "Everything was done by hand." Literally. Wozniak mentioned, "I had to write the zeros and ones by myself [on paper]," to code the software.
  • This turned the discussion to how he created the floppy disk because of a sales event in Las Vegas. Since he wanted to see the Sin City's lights, and only three salespeople were invited, he created the floppy in a labor-intensive two weeks because THEN he could attend the event. By the end Wozniak said he "felt so good about the floppy disk, like it was a part of me."
  • A helpful nugget for aspiring entrepreneurs: "Know what you really believe in," and "If you really care about something, it's a part of you, and even if no one sees its guts, it still matters."
  • When asked about what is more critical, educational background or work experience, Wozniak delivered two insightful points: 1) "You can get education a lot of ways," citing street smarts or in the workplace, and 2) "A lot of the great things you can do can't be found in books."
  • One Operaite’s question took a more philosophical path, asking Wozniak about his thoughts on life. He said, "Truth is the apex of all good," because he figured out as a young mathematician that "Everything works out to one answer, and to me that represents truth."

In addition, Wozniak enlightened Operaites further with only four words: “Life is about happiness.”

Topics: Machine Learning, Events