Woz on his new gig, DWTS

February 20, 2009

If anyone thought Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s new role as chief scientist for the data storage start-up Fusion-io would be ceremonial, think again. In an interview with Reuters, Wozniak said he plans to jump in and get his hands dirty.

“I’d actually like to go down and start evaluating the technology at the lowest level and the chips being made and who’s making them… I really think that technology of the future usually starts way down at the level of what components are made. How can they be made a little bit better? How can they be made in a way that would make the Fusion-io technology even more effective?”

Fusion-io officials said Wozniak grilled Chief Technical Officer David Flynn on technology issues before agreeing to sign on as an adviser to the company last year. The chat with the tech icon was likened jokingly to “a day at the principal’s office.”

Wozniak called the period after closing his Wheels of Zeus startup in 2006 a difficult one, as he overloaded himself, dabbling in different things. “I started saying yes to everything.” However, he added, “I started accepting speaking engagements all over the world and it’s been the greatest part of my life for the past three years.”

However Wozniak was clear that Fusion-io will be his main priority–just as soon as “Dancing with the Stars” wraps up. The TV competition begins on March 9. He said he was working very hard, but cautioned “you don’t get fluent in dancing in three weeks.”

Some other thoughts from the Woz on his reality show debut:

  • “I had no idea how this works, I’ve never seen the show on TV … I turned it down for one season and then I thought they forgot about me … and then one friend talked me into it. ‘Steve they need you’ … whenever somebody says I need you, I’ll always give in and say yes.”
  • “I sat in front of the producer a few weeks ago and I said ‘I could save you from a horrible mistake.'”
  • “I am scared, I am not a dancer but fortunately a lot of other people on the show are not and they learn, they learn enough to get on there.”
  • “I’m so happy, I’m competing with myself, I’m trying to do the best I can do … my biggest hope is that I wind up wanting to dance for the rest of my life. That would be the most positive result for me, doesn’t matter how well I do.”
  • “There are people out there that are actually going to vote for me or root for me because I sort of represent them in some way.”

(Photo: Wozniak at the dedication of Acciona’s Nevada Solar One power plant in Boulder City on 23 February 2008/REUTERS)

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