There would be no Apple without Steve Wozniak.
Wozniak, who co-founded Apple over 40 years ago with the late Steve Jobs, remains a revered figure in Silicon Valley. Although he is no longer connected with Apple, he keeps busy making appearances at big tech conferences to inspire inventors, serves as chief scientist for the enterprise data storage startup Primary Data, and even found time to cha-cha-cha on the TV show Dancing With The Stars a few years ago.
On Friday, Wozniak returns to the upcoming Silicon Valley Comic Con event where pop culture fans, celebrities, and technologists will celebrate “the nerd side of things,” as he put it. In this edited interview with Fortune, Wozniak discusses how his former company is acting like Microsoft, the influence of money in Silicon Valley, and being an introvert in the social networking era.
Fortune: How has the tech landscape changed over the years?
Wozniak: When Steve and I started Apple (aapl) we were so naïve and young. We didn’t know anything about business. We didn’t know that it’s often the case that you start a company and then you get bought out as an exit strategy. We thought that you start at home, you make a product, and become profitable so you have your company forever. As long as it makes a profit, it never goes away. That’s how I thought companies worked. Boy, it’s a different story now in Silicon Valley.
I think there are an awful lot of people who have a quick exit plan like selling the business to another big company to get enough money to buy a house in San Francisco. Then they move on to the next one. There are many companies that are started by business people and not engineers. Engineers say, “What would be a cool product? What would make the world greater and better?” That’s where I come from.
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Engineering is your line of work.
I do not invest. I don’t do that stuff. I didn’t want to be near money, because it could corrupt your values.
What are your thoughts on the rise of engineers as rock stars in Silicon Valley?
Mostly it’s because of how much money they have—and I went the other way. I did not want to be one of them. I invested early in things like museums in the city I love, San Jose. I was born there, and I have a street named after me there because of it. I really didn’t want to be in that super “more than you could ever need” category.
Did you ever think when you were starting Apple that software companies like Facebook (fb) would become so dominant?
Well, there was Microsoft. I was just on CNBC and they were asking, “Oh, my gosh. Apple wants to make this software and license it for self-driving cars.” Well, Apple’s becoming Microsoft (msft). Microsoft had an operating system that was their crown jewel and they licensed it to everybody. Apple said no—they had to make the hardware. Hardware and software have to go together [in computers], but not so in cars.
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