Steve Wozniak - Melbourne

Whilst walking through the Melbourne CBD, my natural instinct is to watch 2-3 metres in front of my trajectory so I don’t get taken out by some 14 year-old playing Pokémon GO.  For some reason on Wednesday the 27th of July, when I had finished another day of that sweet tertiary education, I decided to be fearless and look wherever my eyes desired.  Truly reckless behaviour.

I am aimlessly gazing at whatever is slightly above my eye-line when I see the face of Steve Wozniak go passed on a tram.  Think Inc. Presents ‘The Woz’ in Australia.   I knew he had an Australian Visa, but wasn’t aware he was doing talks! So I joined all of the other ignorant people who use look down at their phone whilst walking, and left a note to myself; Wozniak Ticket.

Surprisingly there are a lot of tickets left. And a special section for university students at a discount price. Great. 1 ticket please.  Don’t have friends. Don’t care.  I get to hear a talk from one of the great computer engineers and fathers of the personal computer in a months time.

Easy part done.  Month goes by quickly. Now it's Saturday the 27th of August 2016.

Now I've got to catch a train from Ballarat to Melbourne on a Saturday evening. The hard part.

Train runs 20 minutes late, then a poor motorcyclist gets hit by a tram in Flinders Street so there is no public transport going past Flinders Street Station.   It’s 18.12 and the talk starts at 18.30.  Margaret Court Arena is 1.1km from here. Easy walk.

As per usual these things never start on time so I am all sweet.  Unbelievably the auditorium isn’t full.

DrJordan Nguyen comes on stage and introduces himself. Cool. Great. Look, I’m sure at another time I would be interested in his story and what he has accomplished, but I’m here for The Woz so segway him out and let’s goooo.

Woz's entrance onto the stage is slightly premature.  Whilst the intro video is running he casually wanders from behind a curtain and stands in a dark section of the stage.  An appropriate reception follows.

I love that he is dressed like a nerd too. All black except for an expensive pair of fluoro Nikes. Solid.

The next 95 minutes is rapid fire talk with a full body of enthusiasm and accurate recollection.  Steve knows his shit. Well. Really well.

The first 5-10 minutes isn’t easy to concentrate because of the people who feel the need to take photos with the flash on.  Your photo holds no social currency, please wait until the end when the lights go up.

Back to Woz.  He’s starts with stories of his intellect shown from a young age and how he used it for both educational and social advantage.  “A prankster” is what he claimed to be.

His recalls building his first transistor radio from a kit, building processors, The Bluebox, early years of Apple, working for Atari and, of course, Steve Jobs. 

I enjoyed his debunking of myths, especially the idea of two young men starting a company in the garage.  Woz says "No". It was 3 men, Jobs, Woz and Mark Markkula, and it was done in the house.  Woz the engineer, Jobs the visionary/salesman and Markkula the mentor/investor.

From the way he spoke, what he spoke of and his general manner, Wozniak would appear to be a very humble and compassionate man, who is completely undriven by financial gain.  This is highlighted by his story of giving away shares to other early employees of Apple, before their IPO.

Amongst the tech-heavy and incredible brain power that the conversation was centred around, my take away was a very simple one.  Friendship.  Wozniak spoke of the early days of his friendship with Steve Jobs.  When they were young men with similar interests in music and technology, and how those things took a backseat to the bond they had.

"I was happy to just have one friend. Steve Jobs was my best friend."

 Image: Sneaky iPhone photo by me

Image: Sneaky iPhone photo by me

- This video gives some insight into what he spoke about -

- This is also really good -