I, Woz is the best book I’ve read thus far in 2017. I ripped through this 9 hour, 12-minute audio book in two days. Steve Wozniak’s autobiagraphy, especially the beginning, shows the internal thinking of a truly gifted mind and all the joy and curiosity it entails. I’m guessing that Wozniak really did write most of it, as the language definitely possesses his signature “stream-of-consciousness thinking”, prankster humor, and unmodest declarations of how awesome his work was, without really seeming arrogant. “Hey, it was the best, nobody had ever done anything of what I did…!”
A week earlier I finished reading Elon Musk Inventing the Future, and compared it to the Steve Jobs Biography. The Jobs biography gave clear examples of how brilliant Wozniak was, but uafter reading this, I consider Wozniak to be, the most admirable man to come out of Silicon Valley.
Hearing Wozniak talk about Steve Jobs just made me dislike Jobs even more than I already did (which is saying something). That man was bipolar, manipulative, inconsistent, narcissistic and not even that technically smart. Wozniak doesn’t even try to make him out as a bad guy, but he can’t exclude a couple key points that show a dark side of the former head of Apple.
Wozniak was smarter than pretty much everyone, and yet incredibly kind too. He threw concerts and gave away money to friends just because he felt the deserved it. One painful point was hearing how he gave up a bunch of shares of Apple to some dirt cheap rate to UK hedge fund guy he’d never met because he said he would months before. Wozniak felt he had to honor his unconditional promise even though the guy undoubtedly would have disappeared if the stock had plunged in value.
Yet the biggest value for me was just hearing Wozniak’s life motto. In so many words, he gives the advice that many successful people deliver. Do what you love, have passion, and really dig deep to understand something when you find that passion.
He made one point that hit pretty deep with me. Wozniak feels lucky that he was at the forefront of the PC age as his skillset was just right for that period of history. He also provides other illustrations of people living in the right place in history such as Ford at the start of the automobile. Then he went on to say that if you ever feel like you’re at the beginning of a technological revolution, that you feel you can contribute to — go for it.
I swear I felt he wrote that specifically for me to read this exact week (I know he didn’t, but it felt like it).
I am far from a Wozniak, but I do possess some technical skills. For years I’ve been fascinated with Ethereum and blockchain technology in general. I have been ranting to any poor soul who will listen how this technology truly could be the biggest technical game-changer since the internet. Ironically this week, Ethereum crossed the $50/share threashold — more than 80 times its inital value when it went live. While I don’t push it as an investment, this is quite frustrating that I didn’t dive deeper into it than I did. If I would done the braver thing of put my professional life on hold, took up a role in a startup as a developer — I likely would have felt more fullfillment and amazingly would probably be wealthier.
To be fair, I feel grateful to have regular work which I don’t think isn’t terrible. In fact, I think it is reasonably fulfilling! Yet it’s not something I’m really that passionate about. I work for a big corporation (which Wozniak also advises against!), and this blurb of the book about being at the forefront of a major technology got me thinking if I need to make a switch. The blockchain technology is still in its infancy stages so there’s still plenty of time to be a part of the inital movement.
Something to think about. If my employer reads this, I’m just kidding ha ha. Just trying to be prankster like Wozniak… ha ha…!