Last night I went to dinner with a few folks, and the debate got heated. If you know me, this might not surprise you. I had been pretty quiet all night, just taking it in, letting other people get their chance, because I can have my say another time. I let things pass until one fellow commented along the lines of “creative people and engineers” or something to that effect, but certainly the upshot was that engineers are not creative.
I hope those same folks had their horizons broadened a little today by sitting in on Steve Wozniak’s keynote address. This is a guy that is engineer geek through and through. The way he dresses, grooms himself, and the way he speaks. Even though he was an electrical engineer, his creativity consisted in the same sorts of things as other engineering creativity, doing more with less, unexpected uses from standard components, creative problem solving, and in his words, “using things the way they aren’t supposed to be used”.
As a keynote address, I would like to congratulate SolidWorks on an excellent choice! In stark contrast to the dynamic duo selected for the Vegas keynote last year who essentially kept telling the audience how little they thought of engineers, the Woz was spot-on relevant to the focus of the conference, which is centered on engineering. This is the kind of guy I want to hear from. This is relevant to the type of work I do.
If you have not heard “the Woz” tell his story, I highly recommend you get his book, iWoz. I have not read the book, but I plan to, and if it tells his story like he told it in person, it is an inspiration for creative engineering professionals who build and invent. There is nothing pretentious about this guy.
One of Wozniak’s passions is education. He has been teaching kids in his spare time, out of the limelight. A lot of his philosophy sounds much like the philosophy that drives most user group leaders to share their knowledge. During his keynote, he said “everything was about giving technology help and asking for technology help” in reference to his experiences with the Home Brew Computer Club in the 70s.
I’ve got a lot more to write about this, but I’ve got to run to get the bus for a SWW event. Check back later for the rest of the story.