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Woz laments what money has done to Silicon Valley

Technically Incorrect: The Apple co-founder tells Mashable that business school types who go into tech just want to make money.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Steve Wozniak, idealist.

James Martin/CNET

Once upon a time, life was pure.

This was before technology came along and tied us permanently to its apron strings.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, however, thinks the beginnings of the technological stranglehold were the pure times. It's only recently that the whole thing's been corrupted.

In olden times, he told Mashable, Silicon Valley was a gorgeous land of fruit trees and frolicking in nature.

Then Shockley Labs moved in to the Santa Clara Valley, started to make transistors and the transformation began.

Still, this was an engineer's dream. You built things. You didn't know what they might become.

It's very, very different now, said Wozniak. There's a new kind of person working in tech.

"I think the money that's been made has attracted a different kind of people looking at technology today and saying 'Oh my gosh, I could maybe have a startup and make a bunch of money,' he said.

Money is the great corrupter. It turns humans into rapacious, cynical beasts.

But Woz distinguished between two types of modern Valley folk.

"The ones that come out of business school, money's the priority," he said. "For the ones that come out of engineering school, being able to accomplish and design things that didn't exist before is their priority."

It's a tempting thesis. Engineers, good guys. Business school types, bad guys.

It is, I fear, a touch inaccurate.

Yes, of course business school types have hearts shaped like dollar signs. However, engineers are corruptible too. They are, though they might try to bury it, human.

How many work at the likes of Google and other companies only because they enjoy handcuffs of gold around their wrists?

How many look around at the money sloshing in the Valley's pool and mutter: "I want some of that. I deserve some of that?"

Some engineers make judgments not only about the projects they might work on, but the options they'll receive while doing it.

You can't blame them. Everyone is vulnerable.

Once upon a time, there existed truly decent bankers. And then look what happened.