Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is still looking for the next big thing
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak remains immersed in technology as well as pursuing various interests since his departure from the revolutionary company he co-founded with the late Steve Jobs in 1985.
Wozniak’s side projects included being on Dancing with the Stars in 2009 and a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory in its fourth season. He now participates in an online video show called “Unicorn Hunters” that evaluates the ideas of entrepreneurs vying to build startups potentially worth $1 billion or more. Wozniak is on a panel of judges that includes former US Treasurer Rosie Rios and NSYNC vocalist Lance Bass.
Wozniak, 71, plans to return for the second season of The Unicorn Hunters. He recently discussed the show and the tech landscape with The Associated Press.
IN: What drew you to Unicorn Hunters?
BUT: I’m a little surprised because I’m not really in the financial community as much as I am in the tech community, but the call actually came from a good friend I trust a lot. And she’s a good producer, she even invited me to Dancing with the Stars, one of the funniest things you could ever do. What intrigues me (in Unicorn Hunters) is interesting new things that other people don’t even know about.
IN: What do you think of the current state of technology?
BUT: I think there’s a lot going on that really improves your life. Take a look at the Internet of Things over the past decade, at the cameras we’ve installed in our homes, at the Ring doorbells, at the different locking systems, at lighting control and at communicating with personal assistants like Siri or Alexa.
IN: Do you think the recent sentencing of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes will change Silicon Valley culture?
BUT: It’s not like I’m completely obsessed with her, like she’s a criminal. I’ve never been. I thought when you start a company and you’re trying to do something good, and maybe you run into technical difficulties, sometimes the impossible turns out to be impossible. And, oh my god, I could see how she would have to start just hiding it, just to give the company a chance to do something good. And I see it from this angle. It is not good to deceive and lie knowingly. But I think she was really just trying to do something nice. If she was too motivated by money, then she’s not my type.
To get passion, drive, an idea must bring so much benefit to the world, and it should not be controlled by money. Too many people just think, “I’ll get into this entrepreneurship, and once I start one company, I can afford a house in San Francisco, (then) I’ll start my next company and my next company.” And it’s just a formula. to make money, I don’t like it, that’s not what I was.
IN: Did you and Steve Jobs ever feel like they had to sugar coat the truth in the early days of Apple?
BUT: No. Everything was gold, and our Apple II computer (released in 1977) was so far ahead of the competition that we had nothing to worry about. We were so ahead of what other people were trying to do, they were trying to do what I was already doing five years ago.
IN: How do you rate startup pitches at Unicorn Hunters?
A: When you’re judging them, I try to think, “What if Apple was making a presentation in the very early days?” And it would seem, “Wow, this idea is going to go somewhere,” but big computer companies don’t even really believe in it. How would you spot those apples when they’re right in front of you?
IN: What do you think are the most interesting trends in technology?
BUT: There is always the latest fashion. The Internet of Things has been a big fad and spawned a lot of great companies. And then they kind of got together. I love it when it’s open to investment, when it’s open to all sorts of people with great ideas who just graduated from universities and want to start a startup. It interests me.