You are here

From the Editor

Editor's Letter

Following the Philosophy of Wozniak

If you think it's hard to imagine one person almost single-handedly creating the personal computer revolution and then recasting himself as an after-school teacher for sixth graders, then obviously you don't know Steve Wozniak too well. Wozniak will be the keynote speaker at this year's third annual EduComm conference (more on this later). I admit that at first glance these two jobs don't seem to jibe. But when you look at Wozniak's philosophy, these disparate tasks do make sense.

I could sum up Wozniak's work at Apple by listing his impressive accomplishments. But reading a story posted on his Web site,, took me down another path. In an interview he talks about giving children guidance. "My suggestion is to work at what you're good at in life, even if it seems like just a pastime or just a hobby or just the sort of thing you do on your own time when there's no reason to do it, when there's no grade or no salary. Eventually, if you're good at it, it will have value."

This is exactly what Wozniak did when he teamed with Steve Jobs in 1976 to start Apple. Wozniak didn't set out to create the first personal computer, he tried to create the type of computer he wanted himself. He struggled to build the Apple I, and with the little profit from this machine, he began work on the Apple II. To list the accomplishments of this machine almost sounds simplistic now, but Apple II set the standard for mass marketed personal computers by including a video terminal, keyboard, color graphics and sound. It also had the first disk drive and programming language in permanent memory.

Flash forward 15 years later to 1991. Wozniak no longer works every day at Apple. His son, Jesse, then 9, had just discovered computers. Wozniak started teaching him and some of his fifth-grade friends computers in an afterschool class. Before he knew it, he was kind of adopting the Los Gatos (Calif.) School District. He's contributed to about 12 computer labs in the district and he trains both students and teachers. Once again, this work is a result of Wozniak following his talents and likes, and making sure whatever he does, he does it well. To learn more about Wozniak's life and work in education, plan to attend EduComm this year. This three-day conference,, takes place from June 7-9 in Orlando, with Wozniak speaking the morning of June 7.

The chances for recognition come too infrequently in life, so I'm going to use this space to brag about one of District Administration's own, Editorial Director Joseph J. Hanson. Joe is also our company's chairman and CEO, and on March 23, he will be the 2006 recipient of the G.D. Crain Award from American Business Media, the world's leading association of business publishers.

Joe has led this company for 21 years, buying this magazine in 1985 when it was still titled Curriculum Product Review. Our company, Professional Media Group, now includes not only this magazine, but also University Business, the annual EduComm conference, daily e-newsletters that serve both K-12 and higher education, a regular program of Web seminars and custom publishing supplements.

As impressive as this is, Joe's contribution to publishing began much earlier when he created Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management in 1972. Although he sold the Hanson Publishing Group to Cowles Media in 1988, he served as Folio:'s editor-in-chief and publisher through 1991. This annual award, which honors an individual's contributions to editorial excellence in business media, is for the past and current achievements he has made in publishing. Congratulations Joe.