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Woz says having your engineers in Russia isn't a good idea

Technically Incorrect: In a new short film about his life and experience, the Apple co-founder pleads for the centrality of the engineering function.

2 min read

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

Steve Wozniak. Defending the engineering function.

Reddit; YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

These days, clever people think they can do anything.

Especially if they go to Stanford and meet the right influencers.

Steve Wozniak, however, worries that today's business schools are giving students the wrong idea about computer engineering.

In a passionate and illuminating short film created by Reddit and Google Cloud Platform, Woz describes how he became who he is.

The Apple co-founder and developer of the Apple I and II computers focuses on how his own steps to becoming an engineer might not be accepted by those creating tech businesses today.

"In business schools, now almost every single university has courses in entrepreneurship," he says.

He enunciates the word "entrepreneurship" as if the subject were a slightly fake one.

"They teach, sometimes, business students to think you can write down plans, you can think about this, come up with ideas, raise money and hire engineers," he said.

Any old engineers, it seems.

"The engineers could be in Russia, they could be in India, they could be anywhere," Woz says of current thinking.

He isn't fond of this thinking. "No," he says, "you should have the engineer involved in your starting team."

Woz's conception of the perfect business is a holy trinity: the engineer, the businessperson and the marketing expert. (How stunningly similar to Apple.)

It takes those three, it seems, to create something lasting and worthwhile. And those three have to be in the same place, both emotionally and physically.

It's natural that some clever types believe that engineering is a commodity. Clever types tend to think the only unique thing in the world is people like themselves.

But how many tech products are so poorly engineered that you wonder why more thought wasn't put into them? Perhaps, in some cases, they were made by people who didn't care enough because, for them, it was simply a job.

There again, when President Trump has his way with everything, it might just be illegal to hire engineers in Russia and India anyway.