On Tuesday, 10 October 2017, I had the honor to attend a lecture by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple. The evening was sponsored by the American Middle East Institute at their 10th Anniversary Conference, focusing on transformational technologies. I learned about this opportunity through the Business and Entrepreneurship Biweekly Newsletter Off-Campus Events page.
The night opened with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto discussing Pittsburgh’s rising visibility as a technology hub. He stated that in the past, people looking for jobs in the tech field needed to leave Pittsburgh to utilize their skills. Now, however, not only can those people come back to or remain in Pittsburgh and work at major companies like Google and Amazon, but Pittsburgh attracts employees from across the United States and the world to work in our now-booming tech field. As a further example of Pittsburgh’s attractiveness, Mayor Peduto mentioned a meeting with Amazon representatives about the competition for the company’s HQ2 and potential locations in the city to expand its presence.
Steve Wozniak began his talk with Dr. Andrew Moore, Dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), mentioning the time he previously spent in Pittsburgh, due to his son’s attendance at CMU, and being back in the city was meaningful for him. A primary idea of his talk was that no matter what, being anti-conflict is the best course of action in both life and business. While I don’t necessarily agree with this idea, it was an interesting proposition nonetheless. I think his stance came from working with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who was known to have a prickly personality, and trying to engage with him during an outburst was unproductive. I personally believe that more learning occurs when working through conflicts and disagreements, and change normally occurs as a result of some sort of conflict.
Another point he raised was to, “Always use the best way, even if it’s not your own way.” I agree that people shouldn’t be so proud that they think they need to do something their way when another person’s way is, in fact, the better option. Working through group projects for classwork and at my internships has reinforced this lesson for me during my time at Chatham. Collaboration is critical for success, along with being able to recognize the work of others without it negatively effecting my ego. It was a very informative evening and I was honored to meet one of the smartest people on the planet.
The B&E Department thanks Jeremy Witchel (B.A. MIS, ’19) for allowing us to publish his account of this event. Jeremy is a Pittsburgh native, was Chatham’s first accepted male undergraduate student, and will be one of the first graduates for the university’s Management Information Systems degree. He has taken advantage of many professional development opportunities while at Chatham, including multiple internships to hone his skills at data visualization. To learn more about Jeremy, please check out the Student Spotlight Blog we published earlier in 2018!