An American engineer, technology entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist for more than forty years, Stephen Gary Wozniak is widely regarded as ‘the Brain of Apple’, ‘father of the personal computer revolution’ etc. He co-founded Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which is today the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalization of $2.4 trillion. In addition, he has also designed the first commercially successful personal computers Apple I and Apple II and helped design the Apple Macintosh (now MAC).
Date of Birth: August 11, 1950
Net Worth: $100 Million
He prefers to be addressed as “Stephen,” as his mother used to do. On his 71st birthday, we bring some less known yet interesting facts about Steve Wozniak.
1. In 1971, Steve Wozniak met Steve Jobs through a mutual friend Bill Fernandez. To little surprise, Wozniak and Jobs hit it off immediately as both shared some common interests in electronics and computer design.
2. In 1975, Wozniak began designing and developing the Apple I, the computer that would make him famous. By March 1, 1976, Wozniak completed the basic design of the Apple I computer. He created the computer’s hardware, circuit board designs, and operating system entirely on his own. While working at HP, Wozniak proposed the design but was turned down. Steve Jobs then advised Wozniak to start his own business where he can build and sell bare printed circuit boards of the Apple I. Wozniak, who was initially sceptical, was eventually persuaded by Jobs that even if they were not successful, they could at least tell their grandchildren that they had founded their own company. Interestingly, Wozniak sold his HP scientific calculator and Jobs sold his Volkswagen van to raise the funds needed to build the first batch of circuit boards.
3. On April 1, 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne (administrative supervisor) co-founded Apple Computer Company, which later became Apple Inc.
4. Wozniak set the price of the first Apple computer at $666.66. He was apparently fond of repeating digits because it was “easier to type”.
5. Steve Wozniak also designed Apple II, Disk II floppy disk drive, Apple Desktop Bus, etc. He had also been leading the initial design and development phase of the original Apple Macintosh concepts from 1979 to 1981. Later Steve Jobs took over the project.
6. On February 7, 1981, Wozniak took a temporary leave from Apple due to a plane crash. Later that year, Wozniak returned to Apple as “Apple product development”, instead of playing a role of an engineer. However, by early 1985, Wozniak had left Apple for the second time, claiming that the company had “been going in the wrong direction for the last five years.” He then sold the majority of his stock.
7. In October 13, 2017, Steve Wozniak co-founded Woz U — an education and training platform for individuals, higher-ed institutions, and businesses, mainly focused on software engineering and technology development.
9. Steve Wozniak is the sole inventor on Apple’s four patents which are titled – ‘Microcomputer for use with video display’, ‘Controller for magnetic disc, recorder, or the like’, ‘Apparatus for digitally controlling PAL color display’, and ‘Digitally-controlled color signal generation means for use with display’.
10. Philanthropy: In 1990, Wozniak helped in the establishment of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, providing some of the organization’s initial funding and serving on its founding Board of Directors. He is the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
11. Honors and awards: In 1979, Wozniak was awarded the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award. In 1998, he was named a Fellow of the Computer History Museum for co-founding Apple Computer and inventing the Apple I. In 2014, he was awarded the Hoover Medal, a prestigious honor given for “outstanding extra-career services by engineers to humanity,” and was inducted into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame. On June 19, 2015, Wozniak received the Legacy for Children Award from the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
12. In March 2017, Wozniak was listed 18 on the list of the 200 most influential Philanthropists and Social Entrepreneurs by UK Richtopia. In 2020, he was ranked #33 on the list of “Top 50 Keynote Speakers in the World“.
11. He has captured his life history in his autobiography titled ‘iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It’. It eventually became the New York Times best-selling autobiography.
12. He was also appeared on some television reality shows including ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, The Big Bang Theory, My Life on the D List, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Celebrity Watch Party.
My goal wasn’t to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers.
I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners in the future
The above lines depict his passion for engineering and building things. Helping others is one of the most noble ways to express gratitude to the visionary for his philanthropic deeds.
The article is a part of the B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from across Industries, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marrisa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.
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