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The Wizardry of 'Woz'

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When computer maker Apple went public, Steve Jobs denied stock shares to a number of long-time friends of Apple as a business decision. Enter co-founder Steve Wozniak who started a “Woz Plan.”  

Essentially, ‘Woz’ gave millions of dollars in stock to many and sold low-priced shares to several other employees. “They all made a house off my stock,” Wozniak recently told Jada Yuan for a piece at Vulture.com. What some may find especially interesting is Wozniak’s assessment of partner Steve Jobs as compared to his vision for the future of Apple as a company.

He does still worry about how his onetime partner will be portrayed–though he says Jobs’s company did “some evil, evil things,” Woz remains almost obscenely good-natured and gracious toward the man who used Woz’s technology to make himself a global icon and his company one of the richest in the world. “Steve’s always shown me the most respect. He never once said nasty things to me. He always treated me with respect, because I did give a good machine.”

Is a Steve Jobs supposedly doing “evil” in the name of business that much different than the “techno-dystopia” Wozniak envisions below? If not, why would he denounce him given his understanding of the world? In a sense, opting for Jobs as a partner may be just one more sign of his brilliance. Realizing his limitations, he partnered with someone capable of making the sort of cold, calculated decisions it sometimes requires to succeed in business – the very type of decisions computers may one day make and the type of which Wozniak is most likely incapable.

As he descends into this techno-dystopia, he still sounds upbeat. “The trouble is we can’t turn these machines off. Maybe at first we’ll be pet dogs well taken care of. The only problem is, if they somehow decide that they don’t need clean air, they don’t need the things humans do, because they didn’t live a human life.” He goes on. “I think that if they really have consciousness, some of them will have religion, and they’ll really look at us as their creators and gods, at least until our species no longer exists. So that’s a good side. We won’t have to do anything. We’ll just lay back and get all the goods in the world.”


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