Rackspace On Startups: Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak

Apple Co-Founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak reluctantly embraced a startup mentality with Apple Computer. Building home computers in a little garage was a moonlighting gig; a side project while he maintained his steady income as an engineer with HP. At the time, Apple had no money; but it had an idea – a home computer.

To keep Apple growing, Woz and Co-Founder Steve Jobs found angel investor Mike Markkula, who was willing to make the investment, under one condition: Woz leave HP and focus on Apple fulltime.

After some resistance, Woz relented, realizing he could be an engineer, not a businessman with Apple. It was then that Apple was truly born. And while not every startup will be Apple, Woz says it’s important to go all in with an idea. You have to want to succeed. You have to have a reason. Personal motivation, he says, can carry a budding business further than stock or salary.

“You’ve got to really, really want to make it go, so much that you’re living and breathing it 20 hours a day; even in your dreams,” Woz says.

Here, Woz talks about Apple’s humble beginnings and offers advice to startups:

Check out the previous installments of Rackspace On Startups featuring Rackspace Startup Liaison Officer Robert Scoble, author and speaker Guy Kawasaki, Rackspace President Lew Moorman, Springboard founder Sean Kane and Rackspace Chairman and Co-Founder Graham Weston.

Dave Sims currently serves as Rackspace's Culture Branding Lead. Previously, he was Video Manager, Lead Producer and Storyteller. His approach to telling Rackspace's story has been to humanize the technology experience by taking complex technical ideas and communicating them in a dynamic and compelling way. Dave attended the London Film School in the mid-90s and produced five feature films and over 60 commercials on three continents before joining Rackspace in 2010.


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