Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has pursued different interests since he left the revolutionary company, which began with the late Steve Jobs in 1985, and has been immersed in technology.
Wozniak’s side projects include competing in Dancing with the Stars in 2009 and guest appearances in Big Bang Theory for the fourth season. He is now participating in an online video show called Unicorn Hunters that evaluates the ideas of entrepreneurs interested in creating potential startups worth $ 1 billion or more. Wozniak sits on a panel of judges, including former U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios and NSYNC singer Lance Bass.
Wozniak, 71, plans to return to the second season of Unicorn Hunters. He recently discussed the show and the technology landscape with the Associated Press.
Q: What attracted you to Unicorn Hunters?
A: I was surprised because I’m not really in the financial community as much as the tech community, but the call really came from a good friend whom I trust a lot. And he’s a good producer who even got me on Dancing with the Stars, which is one of the funniest things you can do. What makes me curious (about Unicorn Hunter) is the interesting new things that other people don’t even know.
Q: What do you think is the current state of technology?
A: I think there is a lot going on that really improves your life. Over the past decade, look at things on the Internet, the cameras we have in our homes, ring doorbells, various locking systems and controlling your lights and talking to personal assistants like Siri or Alexa.
Q: Do you think the recent suffix of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes will change the culture of Silicon Valley?
A: I’m not as low on him as he is a criminal. I never was. I thought when you start a company, and you try to do something good there, and maybe you get into technical difficulties, sometimes the impossible becomes impossible. And, oh my God, I realized how he had to start covering it up just to give the company a chance to do something better. And I can see it from that angle. It is not right to lie knowingly. But I think he was trying to do something really good. If he’s too much inspired by money, he’s not my type.
Emotions, drives, ideas have to do so much good for the world, and it should not be driven by money. A lot of people just think, “I’ll get into this entrepreneurial thing and once I start a company, I’ll be able to give a house in San Francisco, (then) I’ll have my next company and my next company.” And that’s just a formula. To make money. I don’t like it, I wasn’t like that.
Q: Have you and Steve Jobs ever felt that you had to spread the truth in the early days of Apple?
A: No. Everything was gold and our Apple II computer (published in 1977) was so much ahead of the competition year after year that we had no worries. We were far ahead of what other people were trying to do, they were trying to do something I already did five years ago.
Q: How would you rate Unicorn Hunter’s startup pitches?
A: I try to think, when you’re judging them, “What if Apple made a pitch there in the first place?” And think, “So, this idea will go somewhere,” but the big computer companies don’t even really believe it. How do you find those apples when you have them in front of you?
Q: What do you think is the most interesting trend in technology?
A: There is always the latest fad. The Internet of Things was a big fad and made a lot of great companies. And then they kind of combine. I like it when it’s open to investment, when it’s open to all sorts of people who have great ideas, just outside of universities and want to start a startup. I’m interested in that.