Steve Wozniak

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Apple Co-Founder Visits Armenia

10.11.2011 Sargis Harutyunyan

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of the Apple corporation, advised Armenia to invest in education and nurture creativity among young people on Thursday at the start of a two-day visit to Yerevan initiated by the Armenian government and information technology (IT) industry.

Wozniak was scheduled to meet with senior government officials, IT company executives and university students before receiving a state award from President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday evening.

The annual Global Award established last year will honor his “outstanding contribution to humanity.” It was handed to Craig Barrett, a former chairman and chief executive of Intel Corporation, in June last year.

The Armenian government has declared development of the domestic IT sector a top economic priority. The sector employing more than 5,000 people is dominated by Armenian subsidiaries of California-based software development companies. According to government data, IT products accounted for 8.5 percent of Armenian exports last year, up from 3.6 percent in 2009.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Wozniak stressed the importance of good education for steady growth of the hi-tech industry. “Even the Silicon Valley always attributed a lot of its success to good schools that had created a lot of good engineers,” he said.

Wozniak, who co-founded Apple Computer with the late Steve Jobs in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, emphasized at the same time that this should go hand in hand with “inspiring creativity” in children and young people.

“In the age of the Internet it’s very easy for anyone anywhere in the world to come up with ideas that could catch on massively, instantly,” he said. “It’s rare but it’s usually from young people because they aren’t so set in knowing how to do things already.”

“Don’t restrict smart young people, whether they have a college degree or not,” continued Wozniak. “It’s not that great when companies require all sorts of degrees or certification. You have to be able to spot young people who will think for themselves and come up with good new ideas -- the real innovators.”

The sector’s growth in recent years has been facilitated by a rapid spread of Internet access in Armenia. Tightening competition among local Internet providers has been improving the quality and lowering the cost of the service.

Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, who will also meet with the Apple co-founder on Friday, said in July that the IT industry will grow strongly in the years to come. “We will do everything to increase the share of this sector [in the economy,]” he said.

Wozniak, 61, who remains an Apple shareholder, suggested that the traditional popularity of chess in Armenia is also giving the country a competitive edge on the global IT scene.

“I would say that … chess is the sort of thinking that is so involved in a lot of the working out the logistics of hardware and software engineering, being able to hold a lot of patterns, independent ways and results in your head,” he said.

“But you have to encourage people to want to do the best in the world and to be the best in the world,” added Wozniak.

Apple Co-Founder Honored In Armenia

11.11.2011 Elina Chilingarian

Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of the Apple corporation, received a state award from President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday at the end of a two-day visit to Armenia initiated by the South Caucasus country’s government and information technology (IT) industry.

Wozniak, a 61-year-old American computer engineer and programmer who was at the heart of Apple Computer, Co. together with the late Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne, was honored by the Armenian leadership for his “outstanding contribution to humanity”.

In his remarks at an evening ceremony President Sarkisian called Wozniak “a person who has revolutionized the world”.

“I hope that this special award and the example of Steve Wozniak will inspire families in Armenia to encourage their children to study, so that these children will also achieve heights and render similar great services to their homeland and the whole humanity,” Sarkisian said, as quoted by his press service.

Wozniak is credited with inventing the Apple 1 and Apple 2 computers in the mid-1970s, which kicked off the personal computer revolution. He left Apple in 1987, after 12 years with the company. In the years since, besides becoming a prominent philanthropist, Wozniak has also invented the first programmable universal remote control, helped create the first wireless Global Positioning System, and nurtured the development of several technology start-ups. He is now the chief scientist for Fusion-io, a data storage and server company.

The annual IT Award was instituted in Armenia in 2009 and its first recipient the following year was Craig Barrett, a former chairman and chief executive of Intel Corporation. One of the goals of the award is to encourage contact between some of the leading IT personalities of the world and the industry in Armenia.

Before receiving his prize at the Presidential Palace in Yerevan, Wozniak met with Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian, other senior Armenian government officials, as well as IT company executives and university students.

At a press conference prior to the official ceremony, Wozniak again made a case for nurturing creativity among young people in Armenia as a way to bring success to the country’s IT sector.

He said even his recognition in Armenia could also become a source of inspiration for local commencing engineers.

“When I was young I was inspired by the stories I heard about other people doing things… This great IT award is bringing some of those stories and inspiration to young Armenian engineers,” he said. “I want to go back home, and I want to take the stories about the resources here, the intelligence, the technology community and tell them to consider expanding, setting up development facilities and training facilities [in Armenia].”

The Armenian government has declared development of the domestic IT sector a top economic priority. The sector employing more than 5,000 people is dominated by Armenian subsidiaries of California-based software development companies. According to government data, IT products accounted for 8.5 percent of Armenian exports last year, up from 3.6 percent in 2009.

Lunch

NOVEMBER 10, 2011 - The co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak, who arrived in Armenia November 9, lunched today with the US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern.

November 11 Wozniak will meet with the Armenian students and specialists of the IT sphere. He will also visit the memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.