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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Bicycle For Our Minds: Steven P. Jobs (1955-2011)

Steve Jobs passed just a short time ago, and I must admit that I have been a longtime admirer of Jobs.

One thing that has always struck me about the late Apple CEO has been his unique perspective on technology and on the world. Technology is often a cold and unfriendly place where geeks try to outgun each other with their own arcane knowledge of geekdom. I guess in the bicycle world we have some of those too.

Now, as Jobs is all over the news and the retrospectives flow through the various streams of media, many of which Jobs helped to pioneer, I keep thinking about one particular metaphor Jobs liked to use to articulate his vision of technology and its impact on people: The Bicycle.

Steve Jobs believed that his devices were in many ways analogous to bikes in that they are examples of a technology that is refined to simplicity and allows the human being to squeeze more from life using that device.

Jobs' admiration for the bicycle drove him to create products that he hoped embodied many aspects of the bicycle in their elegance, ease and their ability to empower. He believed in this so deeply that he briefly toyed with the idea of calling the first Macintosh a "bicycle computer" and had envisioned people toting his machines on the backs of their bikes.

Many of us long time Mac users who also ride can understand this appreciation for how Jobs made us care about our computers with the little touches of humanity similar to how we become attached to our bikes.

I know I am not the first person to hedge at throwing away an Apple computer box or keeping unused machines around the house as decoration. The design was always superb.

Although the bike and the computer are seemingly unrelated technologies... maybe there is enough common thread in the root DNA to tie them together. If there ever was... then Steve Jobs was the man who could make you believe it was true.

Here’s to the crazy ones.

The misfits.

The rebels.

The troublemakers.

The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.

And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.

They push the human race forward.And while some see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think
that they can change the world…
are the ones who do.

Thanks Steve!