Singapore is far too straight-laced, says Apple co-founder and engineering hero Steve Wozniak, and employers should let their workers wear T-shirts.
Speaking this morning, Woz told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a counterculture ethos was vital for creativity and it had a continuing influence on Apple. And a counterculture ethos meant letting people wear what they want to, he said.
You wanna inspire creativity – it’s very important to me. What we stand for is creative thinking, being able to figure out different ways of doing things. When you are very structured, almost like a religion, with uniforms then everybody is the same.
Apple could never have happened in a formal culture of Singapore, said Wozniak:
Look at societies like Singapore where bad behaviour is not tolerated and can get you extreme punishments: Where are the creative people? Where are the great artists, where are the great musicians, where are the great writers?
All the creative elements seem to disappear. Though, of course, everybody is educated and has a good job and nice pay and a car.
Thinking for yourself is creativity and that’s goes right down to what we were talking about dress, the clothing that you wear – you wear what you want to wear.
In the four-minute interview, Woz also fingered nationalism, the emphasis on school pride and college sports teams as anti-creative forces. Instead, he praised the college drop-outs at Facebook and Yahoo!
However, despite saying that he had always been too close to Steve Jobs to evaluate him properly, Woz did concede that the former CEO of Apple wasn’t always a countercultural hero.
I think he’s got a lot of liberal counterculture thinking but then Apple does a lot of very conservative things, we control things and have very little tolerance. For example, if an engineer tells a friend something then he’s fired.