We all know about how Steve Jobs married creativity and technology when it came to launching Apple. Less is known, however, about the man who gave Jobs his big break in 1974 when he was still very much a hippie with a fully shaved head. Nolan Bushnell founded Atari and gave the young Jobs his first position in the video game company at age 19.
Bushnell now muses on how companies can find creative types in the mold of the former Apple head with the release of his new book aptly titled “Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent.” Not one to just sit back and rest on the laurels of his most famous protege, Bushnell himself has created and founded more than 20 businesses including Atari, Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza-Time Theatre and Catalyst Technologies Venture Capital Group. It is with these experiences and at age 70 that Bushnell is able to give some sage advice.
In a nutshell, Bushnell suggests ignoring credentials such as college pedigree in the hiring process. Instead, he would ask potential employees about the books they read, hobbies and unanswerable questions. He believes in hiring some obnoxious folk who don’t fit into the typical corporate mold, but in smaller numbers. Rumor has it that Bushnell asked Jobs to work at night so as not to offend other works during the day as his personality could be so noxious.
Other wise counsel in hiring creatives include isolating such individuals. celebrating (rather than punishing) their failures (it encourages the creative process), encouraging ADHD, inventing haphazard holidays (Jobs was known for having pizza and beer beach outings with employees) and encouraging sleep.
Sounds fabulous to us. Where can we get that job?