Finding the Next Steve Jobs, Nolan Bushnell with Gene Stone

“Nolan is a genius, and a generous one, too. Like most geniuses who share their secrets, his secrets are simple, and available to anyone with the guts to listen.”

Por Jeff Figueroa

Nolan Bushnell is a technology pioneer, entrepreneur and engineer. Often cited as the father of the video-game industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation.

Steve Jobs was preocupied with the evolution of Apple products. «How do we keep ahead of the game?» he wanted to know.

«You’ve got to figure out how to put yourself in the future and ask, ‘What do I want my computer do?». Nolan said. «What are the things that it can’t do now that I really want it to do?».

Steve Jobs said. «We’re trying to do that. It’s difficult, though. It’s hard to find people who can think that way.» He was also convinced that his competitors were constantly copying Apple: «There are parasites all over the computer world ready to take whatever we come up with,»he fumed.

Nolan told him that imitation was a form of compliment, which he understood. Then he sighed. «Everybody expects me to come up with all the ideas. That’s not how you build a strong company.»

They both recognized that innovation was the key to the future, and innovation was going to have to come from the brilliance of all the people at Apple – not just the person on top.

Neither of them felt that creativity could thrive in the presence of strict ones. This book contains no rules. Instead, it has pongs.

A pong is a piece of advice. It applies only where the advice is helpful  or needed, unlike a rule, which thinks of itself as applicable to every situation.


Many successful companies went out of business because they were not able to change with the times. Other companies, however, have been able to completely reinvent themselves – and prosper as a result. For example, jeweler Tiffany & Co. started out as a stationery store. 

Nolan Bushnell founded the groundbreaking gaming company Atari and two dozen other companies. He also launched Steve Jobs’ career, along with those of many other brilliant creatives over the course of his five decades in business. In his eagerly awaited first book, Bushnell explains how to find, hire, and nurture the people who could turn your company into the next Atari or the next Apple.

«The business world is changing faster than ever, and every day your company faces new complications and difficulties. The only way to resolve these issues is to have a staff of wildy creative people who live as much in the future as in the present, who thrive on being different, and whose ideas will guarantee that your company will prosper when other companies fail.»

PONG 1. Make your workplace an advertisement for your company

  • Atari didn’t find Steve Jobs we made it easy for him to find us.
  • How much fun it was to work here.
  • Odd job titles.

PONG 2. Adopt flexible pongs

  • Create a company known for this kind of freedom, and creatives will come looking for you.

PONG 3. Advertise creatively

  • It just has to be fun.

PONG 4. Hire for passion and intensity

  • One of the best ways to spot applicants without passion is to listen to how they describe their lives.

PONG 5. Ignore credentials

  • Merit-based society ask odd questions innate intelligence.

PONG 6. Look for hobbies

  • Complex hobbies when you have a hobby, you’re constantly expanding your knowledge.
  • Diverse knowledge.

PONG 7. Use employees as resources

  • Delegate.

PONG 8. Avoid the clones

  • Homogeneity does not breed creativity.
  • Your first task is to find creatives who can hire other creatives.

PONG 9. Hire the obnoxious 

  • Unpleasant employees can be even better ones.

PONG 10. Hire the crazy

  • Nearly all creative ideas can sound crazy when first presented.


It isn’t enough to find the next Steve Jobses and hire them; you have to create a situation in which they can flourish, and then your company can, too.

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