Apple’s Steve Wozniak heading to Oz – three things ‘Woz’ can do for start-ups

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak plans to relocate to Australia permanently within two years, it’s been reported, in what could be a major boon for the local start-up sector.


Wozniak founded Apple with the late Steve Jobs before quitting in 1987. He now spends much of his time travelling as a public speaker, and has expressed his desire to move to Australia.


“I intend to call myself an Australian and feel an Australian, and study the history and become, you know, as much of a real citizen here as I can,” he said.


So if he does in fact become a citizen, what would ‘Woz’ do? StartupSmart has some ideas:


1. Mentor young entrepreneurs


Wozniak told The Australian Financial Review he will set up a temporary residence in Sydney, but it seems his heart lies firmly in the south because of its colder climate.


Along with Uluru, visiting Tasmania is one of the items on Wozniak’s “bucket list”.


And while he doesn’t intend to own businesses or become a board member for any – “How do you pick one over the other?” – he has offered his services to young people in particular.


“I would certainly be of assistance to private industry and government to consult and advise on technical matters, to inspire young people and that sort of thing,” he said.


2. Help change workplace culture


According to Wozniak, creativity is often stifled due to the focus on conformity and strict behaviour control.


He urges companies to open communication channels, limit bureaucratic constraints on creative talent, and allow staff time to work on their own projects.


Wozniak believes businesses should act as a venture capitalist for staff who come up with technology innovations for projects in their own time.


3. Evangelise the NBN


Wozniak has admitted one of the reasons he wants to head Down Under is because of the NBN, which he’s particularly impressed with.


“I support it very much. It’s one of the reasons why I actually like this country and want to become a citizen,” he said.


“I live in a country where we don’t have any regulation of telecommunications… We just don’t have the political idea to bring broadband to all the people who are one kilometre too far away.”


“There’s only one set of wires to be on and I’m not going to pull strings to get them to do something special for me.”


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