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Steve Wozniak sends uplifting message to Korean student

Mark Hattersley | March 7, 2013
Apple co-founder writes a long message offering life, personal and business advice to student.

The best things I did in my young years leading up to the early Apple computers were done because I had little money and had to think deeply to achieve the impossible. Also, I had never done those technologies or studied them. I had to write the book myself. Being self-taught, figuring out how to design computers with pencil and paper, made me skilled at finding solutions that I had not been taught.

Every aspect of our lives and our companies will be changing and improving based on mobile technology. Young people are already ahead in this game and have good ideas of how any operation can be improved. Always focus on good human interface, user interface. Computer apps are not to be judged by what they do or how well they do it. Rather, it is more important that they feel natural to normal humans and they are led to the right actions. An ultimate example is when you speak what you want. If you don't have to worry about having the right computer words, but just speak it as you would to a human, then the computer has totally gotten out of your way. Finding ways to do this will be very important in the future. The smartest approaches come from understanding normal people.

And every action you take on a smartphone has the 'other end' - the servers and storage in data centers. They are doing more calculation and organization and presentation of information than your handheld device, which is mainly displaying the results these days. The cloud represents the information content of the world, which could never be put on the storage [disk] in your mobile device, or even your personal computer. It's easy to see a world of job opportunities writing apps but don't forget the importance of implementing the data center side of those apps. There's a lot of work to be done at that level too. Apps are like furniture. There are infinite variations until we have a few standards that change little. So this is a huge opportunity in the future.

If you are not technical, you have many opportunities in your future just knowing how people do things. Do listen to elders. They are mentors who have been in this world working with other humans doing the important things that make life work a lot longer than you students. The world needs all kinds of human effort to work and to progress. It doesn't need for everyone to be a computer programmer, for example. We need mathematicians, scientists, archaeologists, writers, and every capacity of job for things to work.

Look at companies that you might someday work for. The hot products suggest some of these companies. But pay attention to how good the companies are to employees. Do they respect the employees? Do they allow them a large amount of decision making at the bottom of the org chart? Are responsibilities moved down rather than coming as orders from above. Is there room for growth and advancement in a particular company? Does the company consider employees as family? Will they take care of you if at some point your job is not working out? Will they find a better role for you? It's a bad thought that companies easily fire employees and leave them with no income to support a family and home.


Steve Wozniak


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