‘The Woz’ talks tech in Milwaukee

Apple co-founder discusses need for more partnerships

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc., doesn’t Google things.

Steve Wozniak speaks during a fireside chat with Eric Jagher, vice president of business channel at U.S. Cellular.

“I don’t like Google knowing everything about me. I try to avoid Google; I don’t do searches on Google. The only thing I really do in Google is my calendar and I’ll switch that when I can,” he said.

He shared his take on the advancement and future of technology Thursday at U.S. Cellular’s Internet of Things and Innovations in Business Solutions event at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Milwaukee.

Wozniak said he doesn’t sweat the small stuff and he has a positive, happy attitude most of the time. But now he gets angry when technology doesn’t work or lets him down.

“I think everyone that has a device that works thinks, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so thankful for this technology,’ and everyone that has one that fails – and everything that has a computer, it will fail – we should kill the people who brought it to you,” he joked. “So I have a philosophy of only wanting smiles, things that make me feel good. Be it concerts, be it music, be it pranks, be it movies, books, all that stuff.”

Technology creators should form more partnerships so devices work together and are easy to use for the consumer, Wozniak said.

“I always wanted something for myself. That meant it had to be affordable by me and it had to be able to do the big jobs of the world and it had to have enough memory and enough capability,” he said of developing early computers.

But good working business partnerships can be challenging to form, he said.

“I read a lot about partnerships these days from big technology companies and some find, ‘Oh, I bought something for a huge amount of money and it was really stolen technology,’” Wozniak said. “Who do you trust? It’s very hard to know these days. That’s why ethics is the most important thing.”

Wozniak said one of the recent developments in technology he’s most excited about is cybercurrency and blockchain techniques.

“Blockchain, as I travel the world, a lot of people are working on applications of things that we have today going on, retail, it might be real estate, it might be voting – how can I apply blockchain as part of the solution? We were at that same stage in 2000 with the Internet,” he said.

During a story about the early days of Siri, Wozniak described his first ever trip to Milwaukee, when he used Siri to book a taxi ride from Chicago to Milwaukee for a concert that he ended up missing.

“My wife’s from Kansas. I like people from the Midwest – just the way they live more on the average, the way they think,” he said.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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