Video: Steve Jobs in 1980 on PCs as ‘bicycles for the mind’
An excerpt from a pre-Macintosh presentation in which he formulates a favorite analogy
In Revolution in the Valley, Andy Hertzfeld tells the story of how Steve Jobs and Rod Holt tried to change the code name of the new computer they were building from “Macintosh” to “Bicycle.”
Apple AAPL had recently taken out a two-page ad in Scientific American that quoted Jobs comparing personal computers to “bicycles for the mind,” and Holt in 1981 issued an edict that all references to Macintosh should henceforth be changed to Bicycle.
For a few weeks, Rod would reprimand anyone who called it “Macintosh” in his presence, but the new name never acquired any momentum. Finally, around a month after his original order, after someone called it “Macintosh” again, he threw up his hands in exasperation and told us, “I give up! You can call it Macintosh if you want. It’s only a code name, anyway.”
An early reference to the bicycle analogy showed up this week in a Steve Jobs presentation circa 1980. The full 22-minute video was donated to the Computer Museum by Regis McKenna and can be seen here.
In the one-minute excerpt below, Jobs — looking like the computer pirate he fashioned himself to be — begins to make the analogy, but doesn’t quite drive it home.