Steve Wozniak: “Too Bad They Forgot the Engineer”

steve wozniak steve jobs photo steve jobs movie
Written by Gina Smith

On news that the U.S. Postal Service is creating a commemorative stamp bearing an image of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak responds. — 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 … “
Steve continued:
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.

stevewozniakstevejobsiWozsnapEight 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, 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 Email her at, 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.

Postage Stamp Subjects Approved by U.S. Postal Service


    • The only problem here is, that they’re not putting out a stamp to commemorate the Apple II or Apple Computer. They’re celebrating Steve Jobs, his legacy and his achievements, that for the most part have nothing to do with Wozniak.

      Yes, Wozniak designed the Apple II, which went on to be very popular, and earned lots of money for Apple. But it was also just one of many microcomputers in the late 70ies/early 80ies. And it was technically outdated around the same time that Wozniak ended his involvement with Apple, in the early 80ies.

      Sure Woz… You deserve a lot of credit for making the Apple II. It ended up being one of the most successful computers of its generation. Now could you stop trying to remind people constantly, that you designed a successful computer over 35 years ago, and please stop pretending that everything that Apple has done since is somehow your doing, and still makes you relevant?

      We don’t need to hear your opinion every time Apple or Google releases a new product, okay? Especially since it would appear that your technical and engineering skills are also stuck somewhere in the mid-eighties…

      • Another cult member talking here. Steve Jobs did nothing but bully people out of Apple. Just like Bill Gates did nothing but drive the creative and technical people out of Microsoft and screw them out of money. Just like every “good” psychopath does.

  • via Paul Miller on Google+ I guess we should just be thankful that they didn’t use a picture of Ashton Kutcher.

  • I’m confused. Does the stamp honor the creation of the Apple II computer? Because Jobs could be being honored as an entrepreneur, business leader, champion of design, random billionaire, Arab-American, or fruitarian, or because he looks good on a stamp. I love and treasure Woz for his values, his genius, and his sense of humor. I’d much rather hang out with Woz than Jobs at any time in his life. But I don’t think I’m going to get bent out of shape over a Jobs stamp.

    • And neither does Woz get bent. Maybe he’ll get his own stamp one day. After all, the post office does do genius designers and inventors too on our stamps.

  • I was under the impression that US stamps were only issued with people who were dead. Is that not the case?

      • Who will do a stamp of the USPS likeness when it dies? I use to collect but no more. The last stamps I bought were “forever” and printed out right there and then by the machine _after_ I paid for them. I guess collectors today must include this type too.

  • Woz is lucky his character went under the radar in that film, as it made Jobs look horrible IMO. The message seemed to be that you are nobody unless you act like a self-centered jerk all the time. Which isn’t really helpful for anyone. IDK though, maybe it was accurate.

  • Also, they should have showed Woz inventing the computer monitor, which might have been the most revolutionary thing he did, at least to the layman’s understanding.

  • No one denies that without Jobs or Woz, there would have been no Apple Computer. However, putting Jobs on a postage stamp is not meant to honor the man who created Apple. It’s meant to honor the man responsible for a whole series of revolutions — the graphical interface, digital music, the smartphone, the tablet and computer retailing. And, on the side, he also created an animation movie studio that revolutionized movies as well.

    I appreciate Woz’s contribution to Apple’s history. But as lifetime achievements go, Jobs is correctly credited — without Woz — for bringing revolutionary change to so many different product categories.

  • Put them both on the stamp (not sure if living persons can have their likeness on a stamp, though.)

  • Living people now can have likenesses on stamp, guest. Wasn’t always the case. It is now.

  • Maybe it should be noted that Woz is not complaining about being left out. Gina is. She’s entitled to her opinion.

  • Most people nowadays if you ask them who invented the computer they’d say Steve Jobs. Really unfair. Wozniak invented the PC guys!! Without him we wouldn’t have laptops or phones now! He invented the computer! Jobs took copyright over Woz’s project and made a company around it. He was the CEO of the company and Woz a simple employee….