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In Porto Alegre, Steve Wozniak speaks with MacMagazine: “Jobs called me several times to return to work at Apple before he died”

It was the night of a hot day in Porto Alegre (so hot, by the way, that the Uber driver suggested that I had brought Salvador's ?eternal summer? with me oh, if he knew). The most realistic could argue that the cold front that took part in Brazil in the last few days was gone for good, but I prefer to attribute the heat to another reason:It is like corprea) of Steve Wozniak in the beautiful gacha capital.

Woz, as he is affectionately called, needs no introduction; Anyway, if you have lived under a rock since 1976 or something, here is a brief introduction: it was in that same year that he, along with Steve Jobs, founded the company that is why this simple website exists right now. Woz was the main engineer and creator of the Apple I, the computer that started everything, and the Apple II, the model that made Ma burst. In the early 1980s, the inventor left Apple after some creative and philosophical differences with Jobs, but it was enough for Woz to change the world and leave his name engraved forever on the roster of those responsible for the personal computer revolution.

As we announced, Woz landed in Porto Alegre to be the main star of an event that marks the launch of the newest MBA course at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), focused on Gesture, Entrepreneurship and Marketing. And, to represent the MacMagazine, I was there with the other more than 2 thousand people in the audience to tell all of you the details of this memorable night.

Before the ?main attraction?, so to speak, the event hosted the British Neil Patel, digital marketing guru who travels the world with his lectures full of tips for those who want to succeed on the internet. At the PUCRS Events Center, it was no different: Patel, lavishing sympathy, gave a small map of the mine to a popular presence and potentially converted into a financial return on the network, answered questions and told a little about his life story. A good warm-up for what was to come.

Woz in Porto Alegre

Woz's presentation began with a surreal air. A band, accompanied by a small choir, presented a rendition of Queen's ?We Will Rock You?, which infected half the audience and left the other half astonished (I was in some middle ground in these two extremes). The inventor then took the stage under a storm of applause and explained that he had this idea because he knew how Brazilians are passionate about music, like himself and has always been, since the time he met Jobs, when the two were young hippies idealistic.

After a brief talk about his trajectory at Apple and his opinion, the emcee started a series of questions to Woz, who started by sharing unusual information about a very unlikely item: his business card, which, unlike business cards made of paper from mere mortals like you and me, made entirely of metal with various microperforations ie * the * business card. But, according to the inventor, the reason for the unusual choice of material has nothing to do with a possible desire for the person himself to want to present himself with an element almost as peak as he is:

My metal business card because, after 9/11, you get on a plane and, next to your steak, they give you a plastic knife. The plastic knife does not cut the steak. So I made a very thin metal business card and I cut the steaks. Flight attendants say "oh, a business card", they never say "a knife". And, in a way, this a little hack: find ways to solve a problem that other people would not think of.

Woz business cardWoz Business Card | Photograph: Rafael Rosa

Woz then spoke a little about his prospects for the future of technology and what markets he believes will be transformed in the near future on his behalf. According to him, we live in a digital age in which the tendency is, more and more, to share a series of aspects in the sense that we no longer have music or artistic content in general and soon we will not own cars. Despite this, the inventor does not take a guess that, according to him, would be a form of ?futurism?.

It was very difficult to predict the future (when he was at Apple). I am an engineer, put on the ground; I wonder "how do I design things that work?" If they work, they are successful; if not, they fail. I don't like making futuristic projections about very distant things that may or may not happen, like transporting people in self-guided cars. This is too far away for me. I see it in books, I get scientific. It's easy to be futuristic because you don't have to be held responsible or judged today.

Regarding uniqueness, the phenomenon is foreseen and feared for some point in the future when the processing capacity of artificial intelligences surpasses that of the human mind, Woz does not share the fear exposed by such notable figures as Elon Musk. According to him, the machines do only what is programmed; It is necessary to follow the laws of Asimov's robotics and, in theory, everything will be fine.

Woz in Porto AlegreWoz answers reader Rian Dutra's question

When asked what he thinks of Tim Cook's performance at the helm of Apple, Woz is truly complimentary: he says that the culture that forms the pillars of Ma remains intact under his management, in addition to seeing a number of qualities in Cook regarding his defense the rights of consumers and employees of the company. He further states that, with the current CEO, Apple follows its tradition of profiting from good products instead of getting its money from advertising, like certain competitors, and concludes with a category: "I totally approve of Tim Cook's work."

About Jobs, Woz stated that he had known three versions of the genius during his life (if he was the ghost writer from Danny Boyle's film script?): the first was the sweet Jobs pre-Apple, a young man already intending to change the world but with a much more abstract approach to this arrangement. The second was Macintosh's Jobs, an irascible young man, genius but immature. The third, according to the inventor, was almost an amalgamation of the other two: when he returned to Apple, in the late 1990s, Steve was much easier, but with the same demanding and perfectionist verve. Finally, he says that, contrary to popular belief, the two never had a fight to the contrary, the relationship has always been the friendliest possible, even in Woz na Ma's troubled past months.

Then, the engineer got into a really big issue: the rumors (if you can still call "rumor" something that has already been confirmed by Cook in person) that Apple would be working on software for self-guided vehicles. The question that prompted Woz to go into the matter was whether Apple was becoming the new Microsoft to which he replied:

Obviously, a gigantic company like Apple has to be involved in a market that is huge like self-driving cars. () But what I always liked about Apple is that they always build hardware and software, and integrate these things. () And Apple, according to the rumors, will only make the software in this market. This is more or less what Microsoft did while we were building the Macintosh. I tell you, as an engineer, it is much more difficult to integrate the technology of a platform that works anywhere. () Therefore, it is crucial that this Apple technology is so much better than all the others, otherwise it will not be a perfect experience. But I would prefer it if they were building the unit as a whole.

Woz has fun with an original Apple II manual taken by an admirer

In the end, a huge queue formed in the center of the auditorium so that audience members could ask Woz questions. Among torn praise and requests for autographs in Apple memorabilia, a question called attention to what, after all, would be your co-creator's favorite Ma products? After mentioning the Apple I, the Apple II and the Macintosh, the inventor spoke of the iPhone but with an important consideration:

So I thought: my life has changed more because of third party apps (for the iPhone). So they affected my life more than the iPhone itself. Everything is connected what would be the iPhone without the internet? So, putting it all together, it would be the combined iPhone App Store.

Rian Dutra with his Apple IIe autographed by WozOur reader Rian Dutra with his Apple IIe autographed by Woz

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After the event, journalists, bloggers and VIPs were invited to a small after-party with Woz in person. It was in this small little party watered with sparkling wines that I managed to sneak among the dozens of people around the inventor, all taking pictures and asking subjects, to ask a question of ours.

MM: Woz, would you consider going back to work at Apple today to develop a product?

Woz: They already called me a few times. Steve (Jobs) himself spoke to me a few times before he died, inviting me back, but I always said "no". And I tell you why: Apple's focus today on something I'm particularly interested in; maybe i would consider developing a product with them but it probably wouldn't because i would charge too much (laughs) and anyway i prefer to do what i do, than to think about technology and go around the world talking about it, talking to people like you.

Finally, how could it be

Think about the meaning of this little video: this man is part of the reason for the existence of MacMagazine; without it, I wouldn't be here writing these lines and you wouldn't be on the other side of the screen reading what we have to say. And now, 41 years after co-creating one of the largest companies on the planet, he is addressing us. How they say: the circle closes.

What a night, my friends, what a night.

Bruno Santana traveled to Porto Alegre (RS) at the invitation of PUCRS and UOL Edtech.