The evening started with a lifetime achievement award ceremony, which honored powerful HEMP mentors such as Ewing Kauffman, Henry W. Bloch, Ray Pitman Sr. and Barnett C. Helzberg Jr.; Wozniak was also presented with an award at the end of the event.
The event included a Q&A with “Woz” covered such topics as Atari, his ideal education system, artificial intelligence and his advice for new startups.
Wozniak’s commented on the current education system saying that teachers and parents should be more “hands-off” and allow children to focus where their natural passion takes them.
He went on to talk about the importance of technology in the classroom saying, “I was hoping computers would make kids such great thinkers that teachers would be out of business; but it didn’t happen,” said Wozniak. “I’m still hoping that there is something in the future where everyone will come out with good thinking, not just the top ranked students.”
Of course, the big focus of the evening was the mentoring and the impact it has had on Wozniak’s life as well as the entire HEMP organization.
Wozniak stressed the importance of giving back when he said, “I would give computers to people, but I always told them the way they could pay me back was to pay it forward to others when they made something and were successful.”
Wozniak ended his Q&A with a solid piece of advice for new startups and small businesses saying, “You need to have a strong business leader, marketing person and solid engineering.”
HEMP was founded in 1995 by Barnett Helzberg, Jr., former owner and President of Helzberg Diamonds. Inspired by his 23-year mentoring relationship with Ewing Kauffman, HEMP matches seasoned, successful entrepreneur mentors with less-experienced entrepreneur mentees. Considerable mentoring is also fostered through peer-to-peer relationships derived from involvement through HEMP.
For more information about HEMP you can visit www.hempkc.org.
Melanie Lucks is an intern for Silicon Prairie News and AIM Careerlink.