February 16, 2005

Steve Wozniak Speaks to Bay Area UCLA Anderson Alumni

Attendees Get a Glimpse into the “World of Woz”


Steve Wozniak speaking to UCLA Anderson alumniMore than 150 Bay Area UCLA Anderson Alumni gathered at the World Trade Club in San Francisco for an entertaining evening of stories from Steve Wozniak’s early years of developing the first home computer.

Wozniak mingled with UCLA Anderson alumni prior to his talk and answered many of their questions.  One alumna actually gave Wozniak her broken iPod, which he promised to get fixed and send back to her. 

Crowd at San Francisco's World Trade ClubWozniak humored the audience with stories of his childhood with his best friend Steve Jobs and their development of what was to become the first home compact computer.  Wozniak’s design of Apple I (which was designed in Jobs’ bedroom and built in his garage) and Apple II and his influence on the popular Macintosh was recognized when he was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985, the nation’s highest honor for America’s leading inventors.

Steve Wozniak greeted Bay Area alumniHis interest in technology began at an early age growing up in Sunnyvale, later to become a core part of the Silicon Valley.  Wozniak’s father was an engineer and exposed Wozniak to technology at a young age.  His passion for technology led to an obsession with figuring out how things worked.   He played with ham radios and would wire lines throughout the neighborhood with friends, inventing ways to communicate.  While other kids his age would come home from school and relax, Wozniak would read numerous technology manuals throughout the night.  In addition he would sneak into university technology departments at night, since they were the best places to go because “smart people always leave their doors open.”  He would read thousands of pages in manuals that were not available to the public.

Steve WozniakIn school, Wozniak played pranks on unsuspecting victims, mostly teachers.  He would bug the television monitors in the classroom so that he could turn the televisions on and off at will.  He laughed as he remembered the teachers standing on chairs holding the antennas in certain positions to get a clear picture as Wozniak controlled the frequency with a hidden transponder switch in his bag.

One day Steve Jobs came to Wozniak to start their own home computing company called Apple, which to this day, Wozniak does not know exactly where the name came from but speculates Jobs got it from the apple orchids he grew up with in Oregon.

Wozniak made it a point to say that he was extremely hesitant to leave his job as an engineer at Hewlett-Packard, until one day, a friend told him that he could stay at HP and work his way up the management ladder and get rich, or work at Apple and remain an engineer and get rich.  He chose the latter and was able to do what he loved for a living – designing computers while making good money.  He didn’t want to become a businessman.  He left that up to Steve Jobs.

There was a Q&A session at the end where Wozniak spoke candidly on issues facing Apple Computer today as well as the future of technology.  Wozniak warned that he never likes to predict the future of technology, since what is happening at the present time is most important. 

The event was a huge success and was well received by the attendees.  One UCLA Anderson alumnus from the Class of 2002 said, "Last night’s alumni event was the best one that I have ever attended.  It is amazing that you landed such an accomplished and engaging speaker.”

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management is perennially ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world.  Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment.  UCLA Anderson students are part of a culture that values individual vision, intellectual discipline and a sense of teamwork and collegiality.

Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson School of Management provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in MBA and doctoral programs, and some 2,000 executives and managers enrolled annually in executive education programs.  Recognizing that the school offers unparalleled expertise in management education, the world's business community turns to UCLA Anderson School of Management as a center of influence for the ideas, innovations, strategies and talent that will shape the future.

Contact Information

hilary.rehder@anderson.ucla.edu

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