co-founder Steve Wozniak, right, speaks next to Trip Hunter,
general manager of Silicon Valley Comic Con, during an
interview in San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.
Wozniak is helping to create the inaugural Silicon Valley
Comic Con, which will be held from March 18-20, 2016, in San
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple co-founder
Steve Wozniak had a front row seat as the personal computer began
to reshape society. So it made perfect sense to him to bring a
convention meshing technology with pop culture to Silicon Valley.
The convergence will occur March
18-20 in San Jose, California, with the debut of Silicon Valley
Comic Con. It's a new twist on an idea that has brought together
fans of science fiction, fantasy and superheroes at packed shows
held around the world for years.
"I don't like doing the same
thing as everyone else," Wozniak told The Associated Press
Wednesday. So he teamed with four other partners to try something
Throwing technology into the mix
should ratchet up the nerd vibe that ripples through all Comic
Cons. A sold-out crowd of about 30,000 engineers, entrepreneurs
and pop-culture connoisseurs is expected to swarm into the Silicon
The agenda includes a panel devoted
to the quantum realm and an "app alley" featuring
products from technology startups. The marquee attractions on the
entertainment side include William Shatner from the original
"Star Trek" and "Back To The Future" stars
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson.
Wozniak, 65, is confident the
hybrid convention will be a hit.
"The emotions we have for
technology now are the same as we get for movies, celebrities and
the whole pop culture side of our lives," he said.
That veneration of technology
helped turn Wozniak's late partner, Steve Jobs, into an icon —
and his October 2011 death into a worldwide wake.
Wozniak himself has become better
known through recent movies that retold the story of Jobs and
Apple, as well as his guest appearances on TV shows such as
"Dancing With The Stars" and "The Big Bang
Theory." He now works at a Silicon Valley startup, Primary
Data, and also spends about a third of the year on the road,
mostly giving speeches and making other public appearances.
"Everyone I go in the world,
people just say, 'Thank you, thank you,' even if they don't happen
to own an Apple product," Wozniak said. "They are just
saying thank you for being a part of it all and want to show their
Silicon Valley Comic Con is the
first major event that Wozniak has backed since the early 1980s.
While on leave from Apple following an airplane crash, he financed
the US Festivals, a pair of three-day concerts held in the
southern California desert. The events, which featured top acts
such as The Police, The Talking Heads, The Clash, David Bowie and
Fleetwood Mac, drew massive crowds yet still managed to lose about
$26 million, according to Wozniak.
He said that won't happen at
Silicon Valley Comic Con, which has already sold enough tickets to
turn a profit. Some tickets, which cost from $25 to $99, are still
available, though a sold-out crowd of about 30,000 people is
"Ever since starting Apple, I
have had the mentality that you should make a profit,"
Wozniak said. "That was Steve Jobs' big role (at Apple). He
believed you start a company to make a profit because that is the
only way you are going to go on to build other great things."
Jobs frowned upon Wozniak's
involvement in the US Festivals and probably wouldn't have thought
much of Silicon Valley Comic Con, according to Wozniak.
"He would have been at it in
his very early days, but people change and personalities settle
in," Wozniak said. "He became more of the businessman
taking the world forward with things like the Apple
Although Apple hasn't introduced
another hit product since Jobs' death, Wozniak doesn't believe the
company has lost the "innovation magic" that hatched the
iPod, iPhone and iPad during the final decade of its late CEO's
"Apple is in great shape to
innovate for the next 200 years, just with their cash (totaling
$216 billion)," he said. "That buys a lot of failure.
One of the things about innovation is you have to risk
Wozniak is hoping Silicon Valley
Comic Con inspires some of the engineers and other entrepreneurs
in attendance to gamble on ideas that may seem a little kooky.
"A lot of science fiction
starts out as a dream in your head where you go, 'Wow, that would
be cool,' and then you have the actual technology people turn it
into reality," Wozniak said. "That is the process of