Breaking Ground In Business

Not everyone can launch a ground-breaking business, but Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, has direct experience. He recently spoke to hundreds at Rutgers University on this topic.

Many large companies often develop new technology, he said, only to follow up by making minor, cautious changes to the product, with a focus on market protection, not innovation.

“Apple is sort of the exception,” said Wozniak, an engineer by trade. “Apple is coming out with totally new disruptive technologies that take the world in a new direction all the time, so it’s a very unusual story, where normally those avenues are being closed off.”

When asked [if] he had any other advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Wozniak said it was better to have a working, “demonstrable” model of a product or service — as he and Jobs did before they began to sell the Apple I computer — before putting money into a venture. He also said it was important to be able to handle rejection, as Apple’s founders did before their products ultimately found a market.

“Don’t worry if other people are going to be contradictory and say, ‘No, this is not how it’s done,’” Wozniak said. “You’ve got to move in the direction that you know feels good. If it’s really different and disruptive — there’s no formula for what’s good and what’s it bad.”

Photo by Robert Scoble

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