Point of View Is Worth 80 IQ Points

Alan Kay? Andy Hertzfeld? Michael Eisner? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The Roman numeral system is powerful enough to express numbers such as 1776 (MDCCLXXVI), but the system is terrible for performing arithmetic operations such as division. A fresh perspective is required. A positional system such as the decimal numeral system is dramatically superior for computation. This is one example of a principle that can be informally conveyed with the following statements:

  • Point of view is worth 80 IQ points.
  • Perspective is worth 80 I.Q. points.
  • A change of perspective is worth 80 IQ points.

Xerox PARC researcher Alan Kay who pioneered personal computing and object-oriented programming has received credit for this saying. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Andy Hertzfeld was a leading member of the Apple Macintosh development team. In July 1982 he attended a lecture by Alan Kay and found the delivered remarks so insightful that he recorded them in a notebook. Years later he started a website called folklore.org and shared some of his lecture notes. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

Better is the enemy of best
Relative judgements have no place in art
Systems programmers are high priests of a low cult
Point of view is worth 80 IQ points
Good ideas don’t often scale

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Point of View Is Worth 80 IQ Points


  1. Website: Folklore.org, Article title: Creative Think, Article author: Andy Hertzfeld, Date of Alan Kay lecture given on website: July 20, 1982, Timestamp of first comment on website article: April 19, 2005 23:37:51, Website description: “web site devoted to collective historical storytelling” with a focus on Apple computer company. (Accessed folklore.org on May 29, 2018) link