aNewDomain.net — I emailed Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak today on news that the U.S. Postal Service plans to release a collectible 2015 stamp featuring his old friend and partner, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
“Too bad they forgot the engineer,” he wrote me, adding that, “I’m not sure (Steve) Jobs would want a stamp of himself.”
I’m not either. But that’s not at issue. The problem is, as Steve Wozniak put it so blithely, in forgetting the engineer.
It’s all too typical in tech culture. And pop culture is worse.
Consider the 2013 movie Jobs. It doesn’t portray Steve Wozniak as the edgy forward-thinking engineer he was at all. And it gets the details wrong. In an email regarding that movie, Wozniak today added:
… (The) social impact of computers on society came from me to Jobs …I took (Steve) Jobs to the Homebrew Club. I was already a star there … (and the) computer that would become the Apple I was already being shown and built by others (by then) … I showed it at every meeting … “
Apple ][ was done entirely by myself and (it) was the only successful product Apple had for the first 10 years. To be fair, Jobs ‘finished’ it for production. (That included) getting (the) PC board made by an outside company and getting the case designed and made. And of course (Steve) Jobs wanted to be the voice of the company and searched for high sounding words and came to his role of promoting computers for society … “
Sour grapes? No way.
It pays to be the face of a company. You don’t just get fortune and fame. You get to be a legend — and in Job’s case, The Legend.
But there were two.
Eight years ago, I found it awfully disturbing that, when I wrote Steve’s biography — iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It (WW Norton and Co., 2006/2014) — few outside the tech community even remembered who Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was.
Jobs, by then a two-time Apple CEO, was a household name at the time.
That the public wouldn’t know a Woz from a Jobs is perhaps understandable in 2005 terms. But even in tech, Steve Wozniak was Paul Allen to Steve Jobs’ Bill Gates back then. A Paul Allen without the jets and sports team.
Today Steve Wozniak is back in the limelight.
The U.S. Postal Service can’t claim ignorance. Even on the 2015 collectible stamp, it’s a crime to picture the late Steve Jobs on a stamp without Wozniak, the man who made the computers that made Apple possible in the first place.
Steve Jobs played no role in the actual creation of the first Apple computers, of course. He was not the engineer. And Steve Wozniak did no marketing. The two functioned together.
But only one is getting his face emblazoned on U.S. Postal Service stamps, even though the two in 1985 together received the first National Medal in Technology from U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Word that Jobs would be featured on a U.S. stamp leaked out when a newspaper got hold of a document listing the USPS upcoming stamp plans.
And the late Steve Jobs stands alone on this stamp. That should not be.
The world, of course, mourned a great visionary when Steve Jobs passed on October 5, 2011.
But Steve Wozniak shouldn’t have to endure death to get the national and international honor that being on a stamp brings.
Shouldn’t both Steves be on the U.S. stamp?
The U.S. Postal Service should know better, but it does not.
And that’s just wrong.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Gina Smith.
Gina Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s memoir, iWoz Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It (W.W. Norton, 2005/2007/2012). With John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle, she is the editorial director at aNewDomain.net. Email her at gina@aNewDomain.net, check out her Google + stream here or follow her @ginasmith888.
Here’s the U.S. Postal Service doc The Washington Post shared. It shows Steve Jobs will be on its 2015 collectible stamp.