A keynoter worth seeing

Editors attend a ton of trade shows, which means a ton of keynote speakers. A few rise thankfully above the norm, they have something to say and have an interesting way of saying it.

NASA guys are usually pretty good, there are so many fascinating aspects to touch on after decades of sending satellites into space. Neil Armstrong was particularly good, I remember being stunned when he stopped because I thought he’d been talking 15 minutes instead of 70. Leonard Nimoy was interesting yet strange. He had lots to say, but many wondered why the Star Trek star was addressing a technical trade show.

Steve Wozniak was also a very engaging speaker. His keynote was basically his life, ranging from growing up around those NASA guys, who gave out transistors and capacitors instead of Halloween candy. He also described the early days at Apple in a rapid-fire speech so fast I thought someone told him that his allotted time had been slashed just as he walked on stage. The upside of that style is that he squeezed a lot in.

Editors also get a lot of biographies from speakers. The Wozniak book is among the few I finished. It’s interesting and to the point, something Armstrong’s can’t-leave-out-anything biographer should have considered.

I mention this because Woz is a keynoter at the upcoming IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas, and he’ll be signing books afterwards. Some have said that Woz can come off as a little self-centered. (Although the staff says he’s been actually very nice to deal with in advance.) But when someone asks you to talk about yourself, that kind of goes with the territory. And as they say, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.” Or, in his case, if you already laid much of the groundwork for an enormous segment of the electronics industry.

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