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Steve Wozniak Speaks for Trades Dinner Series

By: Monique Muldrow

The Jewish United Fund (JUF) has brought many distinguished guests to Chicago as part of their Trades Dinner Series. But this year, the tech community received a special treat when it was announced that Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple Computer, was one of the speakers.

His engaging conversation with Brad Keywell of Groupon, LightBank, etc. was in front of a large audience at the Sheraton Chicago on May 29th, with the topics ranging from the humble beginnings of the company to his thoughts on the Beats acquisition and Net Neutrality.

I thought there were a couple of great nuggets he shared throughout the evening:

It was interesting to hear him opine on why Apple acquired Beats. One observation he had was that Apple was one of the few top Silicon Valley companies not to sign a letter to the FCC asking them to back off proposed Net Neutrality measures. He wondered if that tied into Beats subscription music service.As expected, Wozniak drew a clear demarcation between his tech-based and Steve Jobs’ product-based responsibilities when discussing the growth of the company.His favorite apps when on the road are a tipping app that lets you find out each country’s tipping customs and SongKick so he can see if any of his favorite music acts are performing.

The enduring, take away message though was directed toward the entrepreneurs in the crowd. Discussing the tough beginnings of Apple, he recalled the story of how his then-employer Hewlett-Packard rejected his initial personal computer concept……5 times.  His persistence in an idea that he truly believed in, what ended up being the Apple I personal computer, was the foundation of Apple Computer, one of the leaders of the technological revolution that we are all a part of today.

The early years, Steve Wozniak with Steve Jobs.

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