A rare new video has popped up this week that shows a young Steve Jobs speaking about, among other things, the origin of Apple and the importance of computers. But it’s an analogy he introduces that’s truly telling of what kind of thinker the man was. To him, PCs were “bicycles for the mind.”
In a clip highlighted by CNN, Jobs singles out an early 1970s study conducted by Scientific American that measured how much energy different species expel getting from one point to another. About a third of the way down was man, Jobs explains. “But someone at Scientific American was insightful enough to test man with a bicycle. And man with a bicycle won … And what it showed was man as a toolmaker has the ability to make a tool to amplify an inherit ability that he has, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.”
It was an analogy that was so important to Jobs that he apparently tried to change the code name of his new computer – what we’ve come to know as Macintosh – to “Bicycle.” In Andy Hertfeld’s Revolution in the Valley, it’s revealed that, despite their best efforts, the Bicycle name never caught on, even after issuing an edict.
The clip is enthralling even despite its age. It’s still the same Jobs we came to know so well: confident, passionate and forward-thinking – all aspects that characterized him and the Apple of today.