Wozniak: If You Know You’re Right, Don’t Stop


InformationWeek:

Steve Wozniak, the legendary designer of the first and second Apple computer, on Thursday advised engineers working on something new to never waiver if they think they’re right.

In an interview at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Wozniak told interviewer Moira Gunn, host of Tech Nation on National Public Radio, that too much input from others can make an inventor lose focus.

“If you have technical ideas, if you know what you’re good at, and you know what you’re doing is right … you have to shut them out,” Wozniak said of people trying to influence an engineer’s work. Pursuing a vision without compromise, is “the right way of going through life.”

Wozniak touched on many topics during the interview, but in describing how to be successful as an inventor, he said having very little money helps stimulate creativity. As a computer designer, “I would do any trick I could think of to try to save money,” he said. “Not having any money helps.”

Being shy also helped, because it made it easier for him to shut himself in a room and work. “That shyness helps you develop a streak of independence,” he said.

Doing something that has never been done before was a key driver for Wozniak in his engineering days, and that wouldn’t change if he ever decided to leave retirement. “If I was in it today, I’d be looking for something different,” he said. “Something that’s so new and rare that it didn’t exist before and hopefully has some benefit.”

“If you have technical ideas, if you know what you’re good at, and you know what you’re doing is right … you have to shut them out,” Wozniak said of people trying to influence an engineer’s work. Pursuing a vision without compromise, is “the right way of going through life.”

Wozniak acknowledged that he’s still a “gadget person” and remains fascinated with computer technology, but not without wondering about its overall impact on our lives.

“Technology is always supposed to improve our lives,” he said. “I don’t know. Are we happier than we were 100 years ago? Are we happier than we were 1,000 years ago? Do we smile more?”

Photo by CMU.edu.


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