Woz spouts geeky wisdom at Celebrity Forum


Self-professed geek Steve Wozniak entertained the audience at the Celebrity Forum Speakers Series Jan. 24, sharing his philosophy of happiness at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on the De Anza College campus.

“H equals S minus F,” Wozniak said. “Happiness equals Smiles minus Frowns. That’s what life’s all about.”

Speaking from the Flint Center stage, Wozniak recalled how he attended UC Berkeley but enrolled in night classes at De Anza, making it an especially “great feeling being on this stage.”

Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer Inc. with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne in April 1976. The Apple I was their first product, but Wozniak’s more successful Apple II was the last he ever designed. Today, teams design computers.

Most of Wozniak’s presentation covered his early days before he met Jobs.

“I grew up a geek and I loved to write about computers and became a social outcast,” Wozniak said.

Involved in pranks decades ago, Wozniak owned the first Dial-A-Joke service in the San Francisco area, receiving more than 2,000 calls a day. In 1973, he began working for Hewlett-Packard Co.

While attending Homestead High School, he met another prankster: Jobs. They undertook outlandish projects, such as calling the pope and designing a pet rock. They also built the first digital blue box, enabling them to make illegal toll-free calls.

Wozniak and Jobs made a great team: Wozniak knew electronics and how to make things work, while Jobs knew how to sell things with his marketing skills.

During the post-speech question-and-answer session conducted by moderator Dick Henning, Wozniak mentioned that he had wanted to be a teacher because he cared about young people.

“You should give back to the institutions that gave you a start in life,” he said.

One audience member asked about his appearance on “Dancing with the Stars.”

“They talked me into it,” Wozniak said. “It’s hard to train the muscles four hours a day, six days a week. I practiced and, for a geek, I was lucky to be on the show.”

Wozniak offered a brief comment on the death of Jobs: “Our last conversations were all reminiscent of the old days.”

For tickets and more information, visit

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