Sierra Nevada College

Chief Scientist Against the Forces of Conformity

Nearly 1,000 people came the Sierra Nevada College campus on September 23, a chilly Saturday afternoon, to hear Silicon Valley computer pioneer and philanthropist Steve Wozniak speak at the biennial Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forum. Nancy Siebens-Binz, long-time benefactor of SNC, nearly stole the show in her introduction of “The Woz”. She described her love for Wozniak’s book, iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon, her love for her father and the inspiration of his entrepreneurial spirit, and her desire for one of the Wozniaks’ soon to be born Bichon Frise puppies.

The Woz began by warming up the crowd with stories about his early relationship with Steve Jobs. He playfully referenced the months Jobs spent “up in Oregon on the commune,” the commune-style All-One Farm in Oregon.

A Creator for the Sake of Creating

Prompted by moderator Michael Thomas, CMO of Noble Studios and former anchor at KVIQ-TV Eureka, The Woz kept circling back to his lifetime passions – his love of creating things “because I wanted them,” and his love of making things for the benefit and delight of other engineers. A true creator for the sake of creation, The Woz repeatedly regaled the audience with tales of how he undercharged for his early accomplishments.

“There was a hotel manager who had an idea that he wanted to be able to have people in the rooms call up and order a movie to watch in their room. The VCR had just come out, it was a big thing. So I made it up for him. I charged him five cents.”
Chief Scientist Against the Forces of Conformity

Among his many activities, The Woz currently focuses on speaking engagements, his position as Chief Scientist at Primary Data, autographing Apple and other memorabilia, and “encouraging free thinking and creativity for youngsters, counseling them against the forces of conformity and drugs which leave them “not the master” of their fate.”

More Reporting: Computer Guru Wozniak Shares His Story in Tahoe, in the Lake Tahoe News.


The Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forum was endowed in 2004 through a generous gift by Nancy Siebens Binz, to bring greater knowledge and understanding of the wider world through exposure to some of the major thinkers and doers of our time.

The Forum brings a distinguished array of national and international leaders and intellectuals to speak on the Sierra Nevada College campus, fostering a new level of substantive discussion and engagement among both SNC students and members of the greater Reno-Tahoe community.


Photo: President Alan Walker, Steve “The Woz” Wozniak, and Nancy Siebens-Binz at the SNC Tahoe Forum