Explaining Southern California's economy

The Wisdom of Woz: Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak explains why he and Steve Jobs were a great team

I just relayed questions from the audience. Woz dispensed the wisdom.

I got to do a very cool thing last week: introduce — and then lead a question-and-answer session with — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. It was part of the Distinguished Speakers Series, and the event took place at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

KPCC often provides on-air folks to participate in the series. This was my first opportunity, and for a person who has never really owned anything other than Apple computers since the the late 1980s, it was both a privilege and a thrill to be on the same stage as Woz.

His speech was a charming, funny, and accessible ramble through his years before and after Apple — including a stint on "Dancing with the Stars" and a new memoir, "iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It."

Given that Steve Jobs passed away last year, however, Wozniak's memories of his co-founder were some of the most moving of the evening.

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Ross exit at Disney occurred as movie business was declining

Rich Ross (L), Walt Disney Studios Presi

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Rich Ross, Walt Disney Studios President, and Leron Gubler, President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, unveil the Muppets Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Ross was ousted as head of Disney's movie studio last Friday.

At The Wrap, Sharon Waxman has a good take on the departure of Rich Ross as head of Walt Disney Studios, the moviemaking arm of the Mighty Mouse:

The removal of Ross without a successor in hand signals some other changes, most importantly that Disney is shifting its focus back to moviemaking and away from the dogma of cross-branding.

For months, Ross and his team had been pushing the notion that the Disney studio in the post-Dick Cook era was about connecting the various divisions of the Walt Disney Company -- consumer products, the television properties, theme parks, international.

It was content-meets-marketing on steroids at a global media company with the means to do that.

That was why, Iger seemed to argue, it was fine to put someone with no movie experience in the studio job. (Ross came from television.)

The theme had become a mantra in Rich Ross conversations, who constantly suggested that the moviemaking expertise would be ceded to partners like Marvel, DreamWorks and Jerry Bruckheimer, while he focused on business strategies from a higher altitude.

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Steve Jobs and the California Way of Business

Steve Jobs' childhood home, with the garage where he and Steve Wozniak started Apple.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Steve Jobs' childhood home, with the garage where he and Steve Wozniak started Apple.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' death at 56 has provided ample opportunity to reflect on his life and his status as an American visionary, a character out of one of Apple's "Think Different" ads. But Jobs was also a Californian, and it's worth asking whether he represented a "California Way of Business."

Gov. Jerry Brown certainly thought so. This is from the Wall Street Journal, and includes Brown's reaction to Jobs' death:

California governor Jerry Brown, who knew Apple Inc.’s Steve Jobs since his first governorship when Mr. Jobs sat on a innovation commission he created, said Wednesday of the Apple co-founder’s death: “Steve Jobs was a great California innovator who demonstrated what a totally independent and creative mind can accomplish. Few people have made such a powerful and elegant imprint on our lives…"

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