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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 

The e-mails below all pertain to Woz's induction into the Inventor's Hall of Fame.

Comment from E-mail:
Steve--
Well, Hey, Congratulations! It's probably old news to you, but I just read you have been named to the Inventor's Hall of Fame for the Apple][, at www.bayinsider.com
I think that's really cool, and well deserved. I still think the Apple ]{ and its Floppy drive were two very clever pieces of work on your part, with many pieces of elegant engineering in them.
I also think it's pretty nice to be mentioned in the same company as Walt Disney, whom I assume was named for his contributions to Animation.
Anyway, I think it's neat.
Steve
PS: I really enjoyed the pictures of you playing the giant Tetris Game and the other pages I looked at on your website, my first visit there in many months.

Woz:
Glad you enjoyed the website. I'm extremely honored by this induction. Only the greatest American inventors of all time are in this Hall of Fame. I'm glad that Walt Disney is also being recognized. What he did wasn't science, but it was invention. And he did a lot of the truly creative hard work with the drawing tools himself.

Comment from E-mail:
Congratulations! With the likes of Walt Disney too. Now maybe we'll see your name first when coupled with Jobs as co-founders of Apple.
Woz:
Actually, all I hope for is the my role (engineer, designer) gets recognized correctly. If 99% of the people respect the businessman role more, that's quite all right. But the 1% who respect the engineer should know who it was.
I don't compare myself to Jobs any more than to all the other industry notables, who didn't live a life of designs and construction and soldering and debugging and drafting and documenting and programming.

Comment from E-mail:
From an old Apple Owner (I still have my Apple II 'red book'), I just wanted to congratulate you on your induction into the Inventor's Hall of Fame and thank you for many years of computing pleasure.
Woz:
Thank you. I am pretty flooded with email today. The 'red book' is a bible that some of us remember so well. You wouldn't find a world changing product of such importance being delivered with a manual full of listings and examples, to teach what it was all about and how to do something with it, today. Instead of learning how to instruct a computer to do what you want, now we have to learn where to find and buy it already done.

Comment from E-mail:
And what about the guy who invented the chip? I heard a story about him and a buddy and how they didn't get recognition, much less royalties. I don't know why I seem to be on this money kick--maybe because I'm trying to build a house and things are beginning to get tight.
So anyway, without his start, where would computers be now? Or wouldn't they be. Or something.

Woz:
Without the transistor, or the chip, computers of today would not be possible. I doubt that we'd have found an alternate technology by now to accomplish that.

Comment from E-mail:
Congratulations Steve! What an honor this is. It's nice to say "I know Steve Wozniak", I sat through interminable classes with him in junior high and high school.
Woz:
I already got the National Technology Medal, but I'm delighted to be put in the Inventor's Hall of Fame because the other computer notables can't make that one, since they weren't really inventors or scientists or technicians or engineers...
Both of these awards are run by the Commerce Department, and part of the deciding factor is that the work has to result in a large effect on commerce, another example of money being king. At least I didn't pursue money from the start to the finish, myself. I never ran a company nor rose above the bottom level of the org chart (engineer). I only wanted to invent neat things.

Comment from E-mail:
I am writing up a story for our daily on your being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Congratulations on that. Now that you are a Hall of Famer, how do you feel your life will be different? Please feel free to have some fun with this question. If you could get back to me sometime today, I would be very grateful.
Woz:
I've already received tons of awards, including the National Medal of Technology and the Kilby award. But this award is very special because they considered myself and not the other modern computer people that are well known.

I'm very proud of this because I was the true inventor of the bunch. I had wanted my own computer for most of my life. I didn't see an opportunity to make money. I saw an opportunity to build a great computer for myself and others. I never rose above the bottom of the org chart; I remained an engineer only. I designed and drafted and constructed and debugged and documented tons of hardware and software projects. I never expected money and when it came it meant little to me and I gave most away. I never compromised my belief in inventors (and scientists and engineers and the like) being the most important people, and among the most creative ones. I always felt that the inventors that inspired me when I was young were hardcore engineers and scientists, not just businessmen and opportunists.

So I'm very glad to receive this important honor, even though I do have to add that it's sponsored by a wing of the Commerce Department and is supposed to relate to inventions associated with a large amount of Commerce. That's fair. Creativity can only be recognized when it achieves something real and useful.

Comment from E-mail:
You DESERVE it! Congratulations !!!!!
Woz:
Thank you very much. I feel that it's important to encourage young people that there are no real limits to what they can do. I think that they deserve heroes and the like that were true engineers and scientists their whole life and never became businessmen or opportunists. Today we hear more of the businessmen at the top of the org chart and not of the engineers at the bottom.

Comment from E-mail:
So here I was, nosing around eBay, minding my own business, listening to NPR, when from the back of my mind I hear that someone's being inducted into some (technology?) hall of fame--Walt Disney (posthumously) and "Steve Wozniak made the grade" or some such. ĘZounds and egad! Any money involved? (How's THAT for cynicism at its worst?)
Woz:
No money. In fact, I'm the only modern computer person that they considered. It's about inventors and supposed to present role models for young people. It's good that they get an engineer and scientist that worked with the tools and never sought money and was never a businessman. All the others are at the top of the org charts, but I was only an engineer, and engineers are at the bottom.

Comment from E-mail:
Congratulations on your induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Brought a big smile to my face when I read the news. No one is more deserving when it comes to the advances made in the personal computing world. Without your knowledge we might all be stuck on the inside looking out through Windows! For the rest of us we were/are able to "Think Different" from outside the box.
Woz:
Thank you so much. I'm glad that one total inventor/engineer that was never a businessman can be so honored. It says good things to our children.


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