Steve Wozniak “The Woz” had a lot to tell the people of the Middle East at BDL Accelerate 2016.
There are in fact few people who are as encouraging and inspiring as Steve Wozniak alive in the world today. Even though he is often overlooked to his partner, Steve Jobs, whom with he co-founded Apple Inc, the company that brought us revolutionary technology like the Macintosh personal computer, the iPod and the iPhone, he is the actual brains behind it.
Over the weekend Steve Wozniak visited Beirut as the main speaker at BDL Accelerate 2016, the biggest and most influential conference by the Mediterranean and the Middle East and North Africa. It was in fact Wozniak’s first visit to the region as he said, and had much to tell the over 20,000 attendees who made it down to Forum de Beirut just to see watch him speak.
He pointed out that it is not important to make money, well not if you want to create. It was never Wozniak’s plan to make money, and he explained that that is the reason behind him remaining an Apple employee for all this time and never seeking an executive position. Actually, he never considered engineering to be his job, but his hobby. Early in life he set out to become an engineer for life and create technology that would make life easier for people, and that is what has been doing until this day.
When he was asked about the importance of Silicon Valley and how big of a role it played in launching startups globally, he said that the companies “that are well known in Silicon Valley, they have similar ones in China that are much larger, so that means that these things can be done anywhere”, meaning in the Middle East as well.
Maybe it is not the region, it is not political and economic instability, maybe it is our approach to business and technology that is the problem.
He reminisced on the time when he worked as an engineer creating calculators for Hewlett-Packard, but on his free time designed video games and worked on creating the first personal computer. That filled the room with the silence of everyone realizing that their dreams are not achieved at their jobs, but in their free time.
Personally, I have never met a person with a more positive approach to life and business. Despite the facts that he is not as well known as his partner Jobs and is not as wealthy as Bill Gates, he remains the revolutionary who created the present we live in and inspired the future that is coming. From him I learned that it is up to you to choose whether you want to collect or want to create.