Doesn’t that guy look a lot like Steve Wozniak to you?
Real question. And the answer I got back was either “I don’t know what he looks like” or “Who’s Steve Wozniak?”
It was the Calgary Folk Festival and I was scheduled to perform alongside my sister @TamiNeilsonMusic. We were using a tent as a changeroom when we overheard the craziest thing from the stage next to us. Song lyrics, but weird and sexual and profane, and the audience and their families were singing along! We had to find out who was behind this.
It was Steve Poltz, the co-writer of You Were Meant For Me by Jewel. An artist who had a bit of a reputation for being different. No surprise. What did surprise me was on the opposite side of the stage. A smiling man, squinty eyes, in his late 60’s, seated on a folding chair. A white beard covered most of his face.
I said to myself: “That guy looks like Steve Wozniak.” Then I turned to my sister. “Doesn’t that look like Steve Wozniak?” She looked at me, puzzled. I asked the people around us. Nobody could confirm. I pulled up Google Image Search to show them a comparison photo, but as soon as I saw the results I knew. He was sitting beside his wife Janet. This man was Steve Wozniak. THE Steve Wozniak. “Who’s Steve Wozniak?” you might be saying.
He is the co-founder of Apple. THE Apple.
But what on earth was Steve Wozniak doing sidestage at a Steve Poltz show in the middle of Calgary? Turns out, Wozniak is a big fan of Steve Poltz and watched him perform in clubs and bars in San Diego in the early ’00s. He flew all the way to Calgary to see Poltz perform.
After the set, Steve Poltz introduced Steve Wozniak to the crowd. Wozniak said he’d love to meet us all and to not be shy. I was one of the first to grab a photo with him. Super nervous and shaking like a leaf, I said something along the lines of “Thank you for all the things you accomplished for us all.” Something really goofy and dumb like that. 🤦♂️
Meeting Wozniak had me more nervous than I would be if meeting a music idol. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started a company that is integral to what I do for a living. Apple defined the vision of personal computing that would eventually become what it is today. If you’re wise to the business of advertising you probably know how historic their “1984” Super Bowl ad was.
But Steve Jobs gets the credit and Wozniak can be hard to recognize in a crowd. This happens a lot. We attribute accomplishments to one person, but often, it’s the people behind the scenes that make a difference. At Valiant we often take on the role of people behind the scenes, helping others accomplish big things. Things that make a difference to their customers, and to their business. And just like Wozniak, you might find some of us seated sidestage at a Steve Poltz concert, but you might not catch us singing along to that other thing…