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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 

Letter from Joey Slotnick: (Woz in the movie)
I had a picture here of Noah and me as You and Jobs but I want to get him to sign it and then I'll send it to you. I think you'll get a kick out of it.

WOZ:
I was so glad to hear that it was TNT's most watched movie ever. Long before the movie was aired word about it's value probably got around, guaranteeing a large audience. I've can't recall seeing other such movies advertised and reviewed so heavily. There were even billboards in New York. If you (or any of the others) had done poorly, it would have lost a lot of the interest.

Speaking of Ted Turner, I heard him once when he came to speak at Apple. John Sculley had informed me and invited me. After the speech I was introduced to Ted. I told him that I'd had the first VCR of anyone in Apple (a longish true story), the first satellite dish of anyone in Apple (another story) and that I'd sponsored the first 3 space bridges with the Soviet Union. All three of these things were big parts of Ted's accomplishments. He was on the verge of broadcasting the "Friendship Games" in the U.S.S.R. at that time, for example.

Then I sat at a table and heard him converse with our advertising people. They told him that they split their budget 3 ways, one part to each of the big three networks. I could see that Ted was bothered by not being able to crack through this and negotiate for some of the advertising. It felt funny, because Apple was espousing messages to businesses not to follow the crowd and just buy IBM for being big, but Apple was going to just the networks because they were big. I just don't buy into that hypocrisy.

One other memory. When Ted Turner was at Apple, and I finally had to leave for something of my own, I asked for and got an autograph from him. He was probably really surprised. It took a lot of nerve on my part. The only other autograph that I can recall asking for was George Lucas's after I spoke with him at a "Phantom Menace" preview. I'd read the book and it carried all the flavor of the original "Star Wars," which was what I'd been hoping for.

Also see Woz.org special feature.

Q From e-mail:
Are you the same Steve Wozniak that started apple with Steve Jobs? If you are, is it true that you and jobs hate each other to this day? Loyal mac user, Justin B.

WOZ:
Steve Jobs and myself are quite different. I'm quite relaxed and joking and happy working with schools and keeping some personal networks going and more. Steve is more industrious and far thinking. We have never hated each other. Steve has almost always been more than courteous to me. Few people in my life have meant as much. This thought goes to the time he spoke well of my father at my father's wake. That only happens once in a lifetime and means a lot more than small things like our different personalities. I think that he is a great person for the world and the future. I don't go around making or looking for enemies anywhere. Were Steve to feel badly about me or say bad things about me or even hurt me, I would still admire him the same.

Partly, there are misconceptions because I always tell far more of the truth than most people do, and the worst interpretations result. I, and Steve, are frequently misquoted deliberately and accidentally and negligently and that's how history gets written. Steve deserves recognition for what he has brought and is bringing to the world, not charges of worthlessness and the like. I deserve the same, even if it's only for things I did far in the past and seemingly small.

Comment From e-mail:
My spies at Blockbuster tell me that "Pirates of Silicon Valley" will be in their stores on October 10th (in case anyone asks).

I'm not of the Apple world -- I always felt 'removed' from the machine with Apple. *My* pirates are Stallman, Raymond and Linus. Nonetheless, I've been a keen fan of yours for years and have a special admiration for how you kept your head straight through all of that. You never held grudges, never sought payback, and endured alot of crap with a philosophical shrug. Your altruistic streak is well- documented, your generosity well-known, and money never controlled you. These attributes make you more of a hero (in my book) than your technical wizardry.

WOZ:
Thanks for your very fine comments. I fall into the same catagory as *your* pirates. I get more happiness in doing the right things for others than in pursuing goals of power.

Q From e-mail:
While I was thinking about that story, I remembered seeing several accounts that mention your efforts at selling blue boxes before building the first Apple computer. When you were selling blue boxes, were you being helped by anyone (other than Steve Jobs) who later became an executive at Apple?

I am merely curious, and I have tried very hard to find something to verify or debunk this rumor. If you could answer that question for me, I would be sincerely grateful.

WOZ:
We built and sold blue boxes in 1971 only. I did the entire design and the construction of all of them. I can't remember if we made or used a PC board eventually, but at least one other person did for my design. I had no other help on these blue boxes other than from a dorm resident that had perfect pitch and who would tell me what tones he heard, from which I could deduce exactly which diodes were bad. A lot of diodes were bad because I bought them in a 'take as is' bag at radio shack. Steve did help with demo's and sales. One of the large customers was a student in another dorm and another was a friend of a phone phreak that I met while calling a 'loop' one night. So basically all the sales were closer to myself. Steve's most memorable sales attempt might be the black guy that he tried to sell a blue box in a Cupertino/Sunnyvale pizza parlor. The guy wound up pulling a gun on us in the parking lot and stealing it, but leaving his phone number so that we could tell him how to use it. True story.


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