Why not meet your heroes?

Well that just happened. I roll through life and somehow end up sitting across the lunch tablefrom a man who helped to change the world. He was so giving, so generous with his time and thoughts. You meet or read about many people these days who ride a wave to celebrity or wealth and honestly sometimes it doesn't make sense.


Steve Wozniak, Woz, however is someone who built something for the love of his craft, for the love of engineering, for the love of his fellow human. He designed the Apple 2 - which would fuel Apple's growth for 10 years - not to sell it to become rich and famous but because it would help make people's life easier. 

He was supposed to spend two hours with us at lunch but ended up staying an extra hour without realising it because the conversation was flowing. Two quotes stick out for me from the session. Asked if he had ever thought what would have happened if the Apple 2 had been a failure he said "how can you fail doing something you love?". What a great thought and if you saw the passion in his eyes and the pride he felt 40 years on, you know he meant it. Asked about what makes the Apple of today great, and in fact was it still great, he described how hard it was to use Google Pay when it was first launched. He knew because he went and bought a phone with the capability as he thought it would be cool to ditch his wallet. He said it was hard to use and added "It didn't make life easier. It just made it possible on a phone." How often do we feel that someone has launched a product because they could instead of considering whether they should?

I went into the lunch with a LeakBot from HomeServe Labs by my side. I wasn't sure if there would be an appropriate moment to bring it out for a discussion but Steve opened the door for me when he said that his passion was inventing devices that made life easier around the home. I was nervous but I went for it and he genuinely seemed impressed by the simplicity and the purpose. He mentioned that he'd had a leak at home and it was a hassle. He opened the box, felt the LeakBot, and asked if it worked with iOS. It turned out that was a joke as he'd noticed my Apple Watch and iPhone X. The topic quickly changed and he put the LeakBot neatly back in the box. I wondered to myself if he'd take it when he left. He did. Then he put it down again for the group photo and I wondered if he'd remember it. Should I pick it up and remind him? The last memory I have of him is Steve waving goodbye to us all with his LeakBot firmly in his other hand. I hope someday soon the guys at LeakBot HQ back in Walsall see one activate in California.

Thank you to my fellow winners Layne Fortenberry (Grainster), Raghav Murali-Ganesh & Nikhil Pooviah (CancerAid), Nathan Williams (Minespider), Nick Whitehouse (McCarthyFinch), Dr Jonathan Hall (Life Whisperer) and Max ter Horst (E-Kite) for their wonderful company. I learned so much from each of you during our week together. The work you are collectively doing will change the world and it was a privilege to share part of the journey with you. I will be following your future progress intently.

Finally, a big thank you to the team at Talent International including Ela Dashti, Tiarne Hawkins, Darren Wells, Colin Etheridge, and of course Richard Earl their founder. The Talent Unleashed Awards are an amazing programme done for all the right reasons. Please keep doing what you are doing as you just may help change the world.