September 07, 2012
Apple co-founder Wozniak impressed with Tech Valley
By: Richard A. D'Errico
Source: The Business Review
Tech Valley has a couple more ambassadors. Steve Wozniak, co-founder
of Apple, said after spending a couple of days in the Tech Valley
region—Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties—that he’ll pitch the
region to those he meets globally.
After his visit here, Woniak said now he knows "something really big is happening in Tech Valley."
Schultz, the co-inventor of fiber optics, was equally impressed with a
region he said he used to just drive through form his home on Lake
They made their comments during a panel discussion at
GlobalFoundries, the $6.9 billion chip plant under construction in
Malta, Saratoga County. The topic of the panel discussion, which was
moderated by The Business Review’s publisher, Carolyn Jones, was on “The
Future of Tech Valley.”
“My impression of Albany was driving
through it” on the way to Massachusetts or Connecticut,” Schultz told
the crowd of 600. “My impression was abandoned textile mills, buildings
abandoned, lots of bridges. In the last two days, I have just been
Schultz and Wozniak toured the $14 billion College of
Nanoscale Science and Engineering on Wednesday. On Thursday, they
visited Tech Valley High School at the University at Albany’s East
Campus in Rensselaer and ended the day at GlobalFoundries.
truly amazed,” Schultz said of CNSE. “This is something that is going to
turn around the economy in this region. No question.”
said Silicon Valley’s tech sector was created because of the great
schools nearby. CNSE and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute can play a
similar role in Tech Valley.
Key to Apple's creation was the fact
that Wozniak lived five minutes from his job at Hewlett-Packard. After
his work day, he'd head to his Cupertino, Calif., apartment, eat a TV
dinner and watch Star Trek and drive back to work to tinker on what
would become Apple Computers.
"It's nice living close to work," he said.
John Cavalier, former CEO at MapInfo and before that, Wozniak’s boss at
Apple, spoke as a former Silicon Valley resident-turned Tech Valley
ambassador. He lived in Silicon Valley for 15 years.
He spoke of the collegiality and spirit he saw in Silicon Valley.
“I’m starting to see the same thing here,” Cavalier said.
Wozniak said employers need to hire the best employees, which will attract even more quality employees.
slip up,” he said. “It’s worth any amount of consideration and concern
or money to get them.” He also urged employers to allow their employees
to work on pet projects on the site to create an entrepreneurial culture
Cavalier said the region also needs to attract
venture capital firms to set up offices in the area to move Tech Valley
to the next level.
Panelist Daniel Pickett III, CEO of
nfrastructure, said venture capitalists are looking at the region. He
noted that representatives from Goldman Sachs would be at
nfrastructure's 20th anniversary celebration Thursday night. He said his
company has had to learn to adapt and be flexible to a changing
nfrastructure is a $35 million company that installs
and manages data centers and designs computer networks for companies
GlobalFoundries, Google and adidas.
Pickett said he has benefited from a diverse group of mentors, “from people who have done it.”
Wozniak said the region also needs to allow people to take risks and fail.
"In school you learn from failure," he said. But large companies often avoid taking risk because their leadership fears failure.
said people in the Tech Valley region should be proud of their
accomplishments, but it’s too soon to quit. All the key players,
including government, need to continue investing in the region’s tech
“I can sense people are starting to pat themselves on the
back,” he said. “This is just the beginning. It’s not time to pat
yourselves on the back.”