Wheels for the Mind by Clement Mok for the Apple University Consortium (1985)

The Apple personal computer is a 21st century bicycle …

– Steve Jobs (1980)

The March 1973 issue of Scientific American carried an article by SS Wilson that compared the relative efficiency of traveling of various animals and vehicles.1 The walking human was middlingly efficient — better than the sheep or cow, not as good as a salmon or a horse. But a human on a bicycle was more efficient than any vehicle or animal!

The young Steve Jobs was struck by this and took to describing his vision of a personal computer as that of “a bicycle for the mind.”

In an advertisement that ran in The Wall Street Journal in 1980 he wrote:

When man created the bicycle, he created a tool that amplified an inherent ability. That’s why I like to compare the personal computer to the bicycle. The Apple personal computer is a 21st century bicycle if you will, because it’s a tool that can amplify a certain part of our inherent intelligence.

PostGenius Consulting uses the bicycle for the body to serve people using Jobs’ bicycles for the mind — Amplifying muscle power to amplify brainpower. I think that has a nice symmetry.

  1. Defined as the number of calories required to move one gram of the animal one kilometer.  ↩