The former creator of Atari has penned a book called Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent. It sounds like if you see one, cross the street or run away.
According to the Mercury, Nolan Bushnell, who made computer games a viable industry, said that it is important for companies to find creative people and restrain themselves from smothering their creativity.
Bushnell hired Steve Jobs, who was 19 and by Bushnell’s own definition “not a very pleasant fellow”. Jobs could not find work with other companies because he was so unpleasant. Bushnell said that Steve was difficult but valuable. He was very often the smartest guy in the room, and he would let people know that.
Bushnell is surprised at how well Jobs did and managed to not only become a top executive, but a celebrated technology visionary.
He said that there is something to be learned from a guy who was creative and a tosser…. er “unconventional”. He thinks that there are lots of creative and unconventional people out there working at companies today but corporate managers don’t recognise them. If they do, they push them to conform rather than create.
Jobs aside, some of the best projects to ever come out of Atari were from high school dropouts, college dropouts. One guy had been in jail.
As an example of Jobs genius while working in Atari, after he returned to the company after trying to find himself in India, Atari offered $100 for each chip that was eliminated in its machines. Jobs knew nothing about circuit board design and made a deal with Steve Wozniak to split the fee evenly between them if Wozniak could minimize the number of chips.
Wozniak reduced the number of chips by 50, but made a design so tight that it was impossible to reproduce on an assembly line. Jobs lied to Woz and told him that Atari gave them only $700, instead of the $5,000 he collected, and gave him $350.57. It seems that even Jobs’ former employers need to keep the myth alive that he was somehow a creative genius.