Last weekend, Margaret Court Arena was filled with an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. The event wasn’t Nick Kyrgios’ latest dummy spit on the tennis court, but a ‘must-see’ event of a different kind. “An Evening with Woz” was an informal, insightful and inspiring presentation from Steve “Woz” Wozniak – the co-founder of Apple and the inventor of the personal computer.
Along with other technology entrepreneurs, myself and our Product Director Marc sat at the edge of our seats in awe as Woz shared his stories and experiences of founding Apple. Overall, we learned a lot at the event and in this post, we’ll be sharing some key takeaways from the night.
Who is Woz?
Born on August 11, 1950, Woz is an electronics engineer and programmer who dropped out of college and co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976. Before Apple he worked at Hewlett-Packard (HP) as a calculator designer in 1971. During that period he developed his first computer, the Apple 1 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now with an estimated net worth of $100 million, Woz continues to be an influencer and hero in the world of computers and technology. Starting out with humble beginnings, Apple now has an estimated net worth of $586 billion.
1. Love what you do
Throughout the event Woz spoke about how he loved what he did and was passionate about technology and computers. He discovered his passion at age 12 when his parents gave him a transistor radio kit. He was able to assemble it without a book or manual. His love for electronics enabled him to create technology like a tic tac toe game and a device for phones that let you call worldwide for free. This was one of the main reasons why Apple and Woz became successful when starting out.
There are lots of benefits when you love what you do:
Boosts your mood
As the philosopher Confucius once said: if you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life. There are many advantages when you’re happier at work. For instance, it will boost your creativity, productivity and motivation. This is also beneficial if you’re in a higher organisational position, such as a manager, supervisor or CEO. Your positive mood will influence your employees and result in a positive workplace.
You’ll work harder
Loving what you do will increase your overall work ethic. You’ll work harder, even putting in more time and effort. Woz pulled all-nighters to create the floppy disk to further sell the Apple II, Apple’s second computer, at an electronics show in Las Vegas. He was able to finish a few hours before the event. Another benefit is that you’ll also go beyond what is expected, taking initiative and doing other tasks in your extra time. In his college years, Woz would pull all-nighters helping other students with their coding projects for other students for 5 cents, after a day’s work at HP.
There will be times in life where you’ll experience setbacks and barriers that prevent you from reaching your goals. Having persistence is one of the traits that will help you push through those times. When you love what you do, hurdles and problems turn into opportunities, such as continuous improvement. For example, Woz continually persevered through problems with his inventions by taking apart his creations to identify why functions didn’t work and made improvements.
2. Marketing and branding is vital
Apple’s iconic silhouette ad
Apple are well known for their captivating storytelling marketing and innovative advertising. Examples of their notable work include the infamous Super Bowl ad for the first Macintosh in 1984 and their Silhouette iPod television ad. In fact, their marketing and branding strategies were one of the main contributors towards the success of Apple.
This was also discussed at the event, where Woz emphasised the importance of marketing and how it is one of the main ways you can differentiate yourself from competitors.
One of the methods that Apple has used is through a positioning strategy, which focuses on you standing out from your competitors. You can differentiate yourself through a product or service offering, quality, innovation, price or brand. This strategy is based on building a reputation and creating an imprint of your company at the back of the mind of consumers. For example, you might associate low cost airlines with Jetstar or Airasia.
In the case of Apple, they primarily focused on its brand, which became their biggest asset. Apple’s brand mainly focused on the customer’s needs, simplicity and breaking the status quo, which was a philosophy instilled by Apple’s first investor and mentor, Mike Markkula. This is also influenced by the origins of the company brand name, where it was created due to positive associations, which Woz touched on at the event.
3. Dream big and follow it
Back in the 90s, computers were gigantic, expensive and only used by the government. No one envisioned that computers could be used for personal use in homes. However, Woz thought differently and it sparked a vision of personal computers being used in homes.
His vision boosted his persistence and he was able to successfully pitch his idea to Hewlett Packard after multiple attempts. Coupled with passion, having a vision made him stand strong and helped Apple become a success. Through Woz’s experience, we can learn that when you have a dream or a vision, follow it no matter what anyone else says or thinks.
BONUS: Don’t forget to have fun!
Steve Wozniak loved to having fun at college and while working on his inventions. That was part of his view on life and work. He created a formula on being happy, where “happiness equals smiles minus frowns”. Woz regularly pranked his friends, colleagues and school teachers. It’s important take time off work and do things you enjoy.
There are many benefits when balancing work and fun. For instance, it can help increase your productivity, prevents you from burning out, improves your mood and also makes you healthier. Woz’s pranking years not only entertained but also reminded us to have fun outside of work.
Keen to learn more? Check out our latest blogs for more insightful knowledge.