I just arrive from the Startup School conference held this weekend in Boston. It was really a great conference, even more considering that it was free. There were around 400 hackers-entrepreneurs in the same room with 13 startup top speakers. The event is supposed to be podcasted, but I didn’t have any feedbacks about it yet; keep check the web site to download them when it will be available.
I would like to thanks Paul Graham for this great opportunity that it gave us all. I do not know if he will try to remake the Startup School conference in 2006, but he didn’t close the door to the possibility. Startup entrepreneur or not, everybody that were there learned something. We had many great speeches about all domains implied in a startup; but we also had much information about a full of startups and old-timer of the IT industry: really, it worth it.
When the lunch time came, near everybody gone out for a lunch. A bunch a people get to the front of the conference room to talk with Paul Graham and some other speakers that talked Saturday morning. After 10 minutes of talking, I get a look at the 500 empty places of the conference room. Then I saw someone wearing black clothes, the barb and the long hairs, looking at the people at the bottom of the conference room. Then a quick thought pass through my mind: hé, there is a rock star fan in the room! Five minutes later Paul checked at that guy and said: hé, I think that this is Mr. Wozniak, I will get a look to make sure. Then it was: Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, the rock star fan.
I climbed the stairs that leaded to that monument of the computer’s world. There was the man. I had no idea of what he could look like, I didn’t really took the time to check for a picture of him on the internet, and I am not the type of person that really care about this type of thing. So I finally see what the guy look like: really, a rock star of the 80s with some high-tech smoked cell-phone/glasses: the type of think you could see in Tek-War.
We were 5 or 6 person gathered around him. The first 2 minutes I listened to that guy and was thinking: he has something special: he his certainly not a rock star, but he has certainly their charisma aura. That guy that invented the personal computer, something that revolutionized the world, was there talking about the hold time when he was playing with blue and black boxes, making jokes to people with them. Joke after joke, laugh after laugh: this guy is more than human. Simple, charismatic, good-liver, human and hard worker: all it needed to make of him a man that changed the world with his dreams and visions.
It was probably the best part of the conference, being able to see whom the guy really was before that he make his speech. Then the conference restarted, Mr. Wozniak unclimbed the stairs of the conference room and gives his speech. He explained to people how he started is life, how he thought about the personal computer, how he not just thought about them, but how he created them. He is a hacker, a real one. He had a vision, he had a dream, he worked hard, he had the skills, and had the heart; then he created the first personal computer that a normal citizen could afford and that would revolutionize the world.
So, there is the human story of the conference, I will write some other posts during the next week about some other speeches of the conference, some good quotes that I ear and things to remember.
By the way, the number of Mac users in the conference room has impressed me. Around 1/3 of the people had a laptop and about 80% of them had an white apple glowing on their knees.