“Eventually, you could create software that could change the world,” said Wozniak, an engineer who single-handedly kick-started the personal computer revolution and founded Apple in 1976 with marketing legend Steve Jobs. Wozniak’s keynote on Tuesday was a highlight of ASI Show Orlando, hosted by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI). The trade show attracted 745 exhibitors and 6,084 attendees from 49 states and 22 countries, with distributor attendance up 8% over 2014. All told, a record 27 companies chose Orlando to host their sales meetings, an increase of 35% from the previous show.
Wozniak’s spirited Q&A with ASI president and chief executive officer Timothy M. Andrews drew an audience of over 1,000. “The Woz” covered Apple’s early years and shared insider tales about Jobs along with predictions for the future of technology, like tech items and accessories that will soon operate solely at the direction of people’s voices. “Now, you see people speaking into their phone like it’s their friend,” said the jovial, energetic Wozniak. “I like that we can speak to computers in a human way. Maybe we won’t make machines conscious. If we do, I really hope they take good care of us.”
The self-professed geek, who appeared on the reality show Dancing with the Stars and in an episode of The Big Bang Theory despite never watching TV himself, said he appreciated innovation in whatever form. “I love promotional products,” he said, calling out a branded thermos one of his companies gave to employees that miraculously kept beverages hot for two days. “It’s a great way to get the word out.”