FDU presents Steve Wozniak as part of New Jersey Speakers Series

By Andrew McKay
The inaugural season of the New Jersey Speakers Series, presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University, continued on Thursday night with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. With excitement in his voice, the Woz shared his passion for technology and reminisced about the early days of Apple.
Above: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak speaking at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on November 20, as the third speaker in FDU's New Jersey Speaker Series. Earlier in the day, he spoke to over 700 students at the Metropolitan Campus. (Photos by Michael Paras)
Relating stories of his childhood in California, Wozniak told the audience that in fifth grade he began learning physics, which set him on a path to become an engineer. His father helped his interest, providing electronics manuals. Growing up with neighborhood friends in what would become known as “Silicon Valley,” Wozniak said, “When we did any work for the neighbors, we wanted to be paid in electronic parts instead of cash.” 
“I was a nerd, an outsider,” he said, which forced him to become an introvert, spending time alone, thinking and dreaming. As an outsider he played pranks using electronics. “It was a way for me to socialize,” said Wozniak. Sharing a few of his exploits with the audience, he said, “I only got caught once.”
He touched upon his time at HP, building computer plans in his cubicle. He said he gave his plans away for free, hoping that someone would find them useful.
Wozniak talked about meeting Steve Jobs, a fellow practical joker, and how their friendship developed into a business relationship. Wozniak became most excited when talking about the Apple II, which featured a color monitor, keyboard and more. “It was the most successful product that Apple produced in over 10 years,” he said.
Above: Florham Campus student Charles Doyle and Ethne Swartz, associate professor and chair of marketing and entrepreneurial studies in the Silberman College of Business with Steve Wozniak.
Wozniak touched on Jobs leaving Apple when the company ran into hard times and recalled how a more mature Jobs returned years later to head the company once again.
Wozniak fielded audience questions about a variety of subjects including artificial intelligence and the role of the government in regulating the Internet, as well as the movie “Jobs” and his appearance on “Dancing with the Stars.” Steve Scott, news anchor for WCBS Newsradio 880 AM, one of the University’s media partners for the series, introduced the lecture and moderated the question and answer session.
Called one of “Silicon Valley’s most creative engineers,” Wozniak invented the early Apple computers, contributing to the microcomputer revolution that followed. With Steve Jobs, he founded Apple Computer, leading its research and development. In 2000, Wozniak was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.
The New Jersey Speakers Series continues with former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe on January 8, 2015, followed by former Presidential advisor and current CNN political commentator David Gergen (February 19, 2015), Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough (March 19, 2015), and former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather (April 23, 2015).
The New Jersey Speakers Series, presented by Fairleigh Dickinson University, is sponsored by Hollister Construction Services, PNC Bank, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, WCBS Newsradio, The Star-Ledger and Prestige Automotive Group. The series is sold by subscription only. For tickets or information, visit www.NJSpeakersSeries.org, or call 1-888-MY-NJPAC or 1-888-696-5722.