Lessons of Leadership from Apple’s Co-Founder Steve Wozniak

  • Jobs built Apple along with his friend Steve Wozniak. Both these individuals were passionate about technology and about building products that took human experience to a new level.
Lessons of Leadership from Apple’s Co-Founder Steve Wozniak
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My goal wasn’t to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers. I only started the company when I realized I could be an engineer forever.” Steve Wozniak

What name comes to your mind when you think of Apple? Steve Jobs is a name that most people know because he was essentially the face of the company. But, there is another name that is equally important. 

Jobs built Apple along with his friend Steve Wozniak. Both these individuals were passionate about technology and about building products that took human experience to a new level.  

Jobs was mainly focused on marketing, which is why more people know him, while Wozniak worked on the technological breakthroughs of Apple’s products. The first few products from the company were built in a garage, but as the company got bigger, it was imperative for Wozniak to step into a leadership role and get things done rather than do everything himself.  

Wozniak’s leadership lessons can serve as a guiding force for business owners who want to step up and improve their game. 

Ideas Alone Are Not The Answer   

There are so many problems in the world today. Do you think we don’t have enough ideas to solve these problems? Think about how many people have business ideas every day that get wasted because they don’t take action.  

How many business ideas have you had in your life? Have you ever experienced a situation where you came up with a brilliant idea, sat on it for too long, and then saw someone else make the news with the exact same idea? 

According to Wozniak, ideas alone are not the answer. You need engineers and designers to turn your ideas into products.  

It is easy to think up ideas. What the world needs are people who have the experience of building things.   

Don’t Raise Money Until You Have A Working Model 

Ideas look good on paper, but things can turn out quite differently when you start building it. Wozniak’s advice to first time entrepreneurs is that you should not raise money until you have a working model of your product, even if it is in the form of a computer model that people can interact with. 

It is very important for potential customers and investors to get a feel of your product before they make up their mind. You have a higher chance of success if you have something to demonstrate in a meeting rather than just a presentation with graphs and future projections of sales. 

Good Leaders Collaborate 

Leaders in business, politics, or any other domain have one thing in common. They all have to understand different areas in their respective fields in order to be successful. 

Most people tend to specialize in only one area of their life, which is good because no one has the ability to master everything. So, what do you do about those other areas that also need your attention? Wozniak’s advice is to find people who are good in those fields and learn how to collaborate with them. 

Experience Is A Better Teacher 

The kind of ideas that Wozniak was able to come up in his early days were so incredible that looking back he himself gets shocked by them. If you ask him now, he has no idea how he was able to think the way he used to. He once compared his early days to how Bob Dylan came up with ideas for his music.  

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What Wozniak used to do before building a product was he would sit down and think of ways to build it without referring to books. He didn’t care how it has been done before. Using book learning was not for him. Instead, he would build on the self-taught knowledge to create new products that would ultimately use fewer parts or cost less money. 

What Do You Love To Do? 

Wozniak is known as The Waz. He is seen as a genius who understands technology better than most people. But, from his humble perspective he didn’t do anything extraordinary. He just followed his passion, and one thing led to another. 

When he was a kid, Wozniak got a transistor radio, which he called the most valuable device in his life. He would put on a radio station and go off to sleep with music playing all night long.  

The transistor came with a manual that should Wozniak how to assemble all the parts and how to bolt them all together. He studied it. The Apple founder was doing things that no school was going to teach a kid.  

The other big moment for Wozniak came when his dad suggested him to write a software to teach a computer to play tic-tac-toe. It took Wozniak two days to write down all the possible games in tic-tac-toe and come with rules for the game. 

So, basically Wozniak was building his skill set by playing games and working on products he loved. He never thought that this knowledge would ever land him job.  

What are you passionate about?  

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