Bicycles for our Minds: Memorable Demos, Quotes and Speeches of Steve Jobs

Apple Logo with Steve Jobs Profile

Among his many talents, Steve Jobs was one of the great orators and inspiring speakers of our time. Part sage, part showman, Jobs combined the wizardry of a magician with the skills of a master salesman. On this, the second anniversary of his death, we take a video look back at some of his memorable demos, quotes and speeches.

We begin with one of the most influential demos of all – the unveiling of the Macintosh. While many people have seen the 1984 TV commercial, far fewer saw the event in person. Giving a hint of keynotes to come, a tuxedo-clad Jobs and his magical child steal the show on January 24, 1984.

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Speaking of that 1984 commercial, in 1983 Jobs gave another keynote address. Describing the history of computing, IBM’s missed opportunities and the current threats to Apple and the industry, a passionate Jobs – with full Reality Distortion Field in force – gives a grandiose premiere of the Ridley Scott SuperBowl spot to another enthusiastic crowd of Apple insiders. Apple SuperNerds will notice a few soundtrack differences between this spot and the commercial that aired.

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In an interview for the 1990 film Memory & Imagination, Jobs noted that computers are like bicycles for our minds. They are enabling tools which allow us to leverage and multiply our capabilities. Steve was with NeXT at the time, but this concept has been true for the history of Apple, and computing in general. We note here the early appearance of jeans and the black turtleneck, soon to become a presentation staple.

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In the 1996 PBS film Triumph of the Nerds, a reflective Jobs said: “It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done, and then trying to bring those things in to what you’re doing. Picasso had a saying: Good artists copy, great artists steal.

Wheels for the Mind logo

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Marketing is about values. In this presentation given after his return to Apple in 1997, Jobs expounded on Apple’s philosophy and core value: people with passion can change the world for the better. This attitude launched the Think Different campaign and the remarkable rebound of Apple. The quality on this clip is a bit poor but the message is poignant.

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It’s 2001 and Jobs is now iCEO back at Apple. The iMac has put the company back on the map, Mac OS X has arrived and Apple is moving into consumer electronics with the launch of the iPod. The Digital Hub strategy has arrived, and Steve goes all out during this keynote presentation.

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Jobs final years at Apple saw things just getting better and better. New products: iPod, iPhone and iPad. Increasing market share for the Mac, written off for dead just a decade earlier. And increased recognition and respect for both the company and its co-founder. For a more condensed Reality Distortion Field experience, Mahalo Daily presented this entertaining look at the 2008 Macworld keynote – 90 minutes in 60 seconds.

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In 2005 Jobs gave an extremely moving commencement address at Stanford University. The time was shortly after his recovery from pancreatic cancer, and this inspiring speech is a rare glimpse into the personal side of this very private man. Matt’s Macintosh edited old footage to an excerpt of that address.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. Here’s to ya Steve.

  • Candido Tomas

    It is impressive. And moving. A human beeing sharing his apetitte for life his own way and his positive approach. Like with friends we feel the right to share those feelings, because we have shared his toys also. Maybe this is also about power and money. But who cares about that The message and the example stays. And we cheer Steve for making the journey and thank all the moments that changed our simple lifes. Wherever he is he always be remembered and we have the right and the power and the desire to keep going further and further to places that he would like to share with us. Good bye we miss you because you know our heart as we know yours. You and we are the would of what makes apple magic.

  • Candido Tomas

    You and we are the souls of what makes apple magic…

About the author

Adam RosenAdam Rosen is an Apple certified IT consultant specializing in Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.

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