Pirates of Silicon Valley

You've remained the same person that you were...

in
Question from E-mail

Hi Mr. Woz, I just wanted to say that I just saw Pirates of Silicon Valley and was amazed at what went on way back when. I commend you for remaining the same person you've always been rather than turning into a money hungry, stuck up person like so many others do. It's so interesting to me that you made the computer that made Apple even possible, but it was Steve Job's that seemed to take all the credit.

Was the scene with the man being interviewed really true? Did Steve Job's actually demean a potential employee?? I have to say, that they portrayed him as a real jerk who was very demeaning to his employees if they did not perform to his liking. And actually, Bill Gates was no better. They were and maybe still are hungry for the power. The other thing that I found interesting and didn't realize was that Microsoft now owns part of Apple. Steve Jobs is definitely a brilliant business man but after seeing what Bill Gates has done I'd have to say that he's even more savvy! Anyway, those were just a few thoughts I had. I was just really impressed with your character and how you've remained the same person that you were when you created that first computer. I hope you don't mind my two cents. : - )

Woz

It's funny, but even with all the things that aren't said outright, a great number of people, like yourself, saw a lot of things in that movie that are totally true. The personalities were very accurately portrayed.

I designed the computers just to do it and show the world that it could be done and help them happen. Later Steve Jobs suggested starting a company to make money from it. I'd been giving out schematics for free at the Homebrew Computer Club. That's what I believed in. It was hard for me to even start the company when it looked like there might be real money in it.

I often wonder why I remained the person I always wanted to be, from late high school on. I wanted to be an engineer and then a 5th grade teacher and I wanted a computer someday and I wanted to be nice to people and I wanted to tell and make jokes and I wanted a family and home. It couldn't have come truer for me.

I admire you more than Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

in
Comment from E-mail

I just saw "Pirates of Silicon Valley" on TNT. I have enjoyed using computers for several years, but I was unaware of all the things that took place between Micorsoft and Apple. I just wanted to tell you that if the movie was accurate, I admire you more than Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. You are incredibly talented and you kept everything in perspective. Keep up the good work.

Woz

The personalities and incidents are accurate in the sense that they all occured but they are often with the wrong parties (Bill Fernandez, Apple employee #4, was with me and the computer that burned up in 1970) and at the wrong dates (when John Sculley joined, he had to redirect attention from the Apple III, not the Mac, to the Apple ][ ) and places (Homebrew Computer Club was at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center).

 

I did give a lot of stock to employees that were with us from the beginning, etc. I also designed 2 computers (the Apple I being the first typewriter model with a keyboard ever and the Apple II being too spectacular to detail :o) ), a mini OS, app software, my own BASIC, lots of interfaces (cassette, printer, serial, modem, floppy) and more. Heck, in the movie Ed Roberts had the Altair computer KIT and Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote the BASIC. That's the last real design any of the other principals did. The part about me being the only true engineer wasn't played out much.

You are one of my favorite people in entire world.

in
Comment from E-mail

You are one of my favorite people in entire world. After seeing Pirates of Silicon Valley, I understand the differences between you and Jobs in 80's. I m being curious about today's relationship between you and Jobs? Has Jobs changed a lot today comparing to early 80's? Like people say, "Wine gets better when it matures in time.."

Whether or not Steve has changed (I believe that he's much better than before) a person like him is needed to carry mankind ahead.

Also, Apple has made a comeback into computer industry and how do you feel about it. Standing mighty PROUD? :)

Woz

I'm very glad that Apple is the only company that can make great strides in new directions. A few, like Sony, try but they are trapped by Intel and Microsoft. I'm only proud when people have a better life because they have good computers. When the industry makes positive changes that affect individuals I'm happy.

I'm Glad You Didn't Know

in
Comment from E-mail

Thank you so much for replying to my first email! I wanted to ask you if you have seen the movie Pirates of Silicone Valley. If so I am wondering what was the best part of the movie for you? And was there anything untrue in the movie that you would like too bring to my attention? Did Jobs really let people throw food at each other like what was shown in the bar scene of the movie were you quit Apple. Jobs was portrayed too have a rather strong personality and seemed to step on people. Well I've bothered you enough and, can't wait to tell my family that I had the opportunity to speak with you. I am glad you didn't know what your invention was going to turn into because then I would probably not be able to write you tonight....lol thanks for everything.

Woz

The personal drives portrayed in the movie were amazingly accurate. So were the key personalities, but not some others. The incidents themselves were all a best try to represent events that really occurred but they often happened much differently or at different times or with different people.

I never quit Apple. That suggestion was based on an incorrect Wall Street Journal that said I was leaving Apple because I didn't like things there. Actually, I had told the Wall Street Journal writer that I wasn't leaving Apple because of things that I didn't like and that I wasn't even leaving, keeping my small salary forever as a loyal employee. I just wanted a small startup experience and a chance to design a smaller product again, a universal remote control.

Did Steve Get Along with...

in
Question from E-mail

In the Pirates of Silicon Valley it appeared that Mike and Steve didnt get along too well.... What was their relationship in real life like??? Same question for Steve and John Sculley.

Woz

Mike and Steve got along very well, up until Steve was demoted and the board, including Mike, supported John Sculley. They conversed well and shared similar and constructive thoughts about ways to change the world and to do important things. Mike was the portrayed in the movie in a very inaccurate and unfair way, making it look like he was financially shrewd. Actually, he was intellectually open and contributing and, more than anyone else, he ran and structured the company in the early days, while Steve floated around getting his feet wet at running a company and learning to be a top executive. John Sculley was like Mike in the sense that Steve saw him open to great thoughts, although not as astute in our business. But John was largely Steve's shadow in areas of where we should go with products. Eventually, John was more concerned with the total company operation and keeping things going while Steve wanted to keep advancing on the future, company and profits or not, in his own internally conceived directions. Actually, John Sculley promoted technologies like AppleTalk and PowerTalk and QuickTime and PlainTalk and the Newton. He was very supportive of the rare technical geniuses in the company. He was not just a "marketeer" who dressed things up in colors. Any downfalls in the company that weren't coincidence were probably due more to his marketing mishaps (like not licensing the Macintosh technology in early days) than to hardware ones. This is only my opinion and is based largely on only a few indirect contacts.