Summary of Finding the Next Steve Jobs

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Organizations must be innovative to survive, but their bureaucratic nature often inhibits creativity. The founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s, author Nolan Bushnell explains how to solve this problem in the form of 51 “pongs” – that is, nuggets of advice. He devotes 20 pongs to finding and hiring creative people, and offers some guidance that’s contrary to conventional HR practices. His other pongs address fashioning a creative work environment. His juicy tidbits of advice are a lot of fun and often useful, though the book would have benefited from better organization and less redundancy. getAbstract recommends Bushnell’s insights to managers who want to hire creative people and inspire their best work.

About the Authors

Engineer and entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s and is considered an inventor of the video game industry. Gene Stone has served as a ghostwriter on more than 30 books.



Why Creativity?

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, gave Apple co-founder Steve Jobs his first job. Jobs later lamented that the people at Apple expected him to produce every idea. He realized that healthy companies tap into the brilliance of every employee. Regardless of your business or industry, competition requires continuous innovation. The pace of change is accelerating due to technological advances, real-time communication and the Internet. Your business must evolve and improve to remain relevant. The lifeblood of evolution is creativity.

Rules thwart creativity. Too many rules foster an infertile and homogenous work environment. “Pongs” promote creativity and rules don’t. For example, when Jobs worked at Atari, he wanted to sleep in the office overnight. This violated company security policies. Bushnell decided to change the overnight rule rather than lose valuable employees. Soon, many of the engineers were spending nights at the office, sleeping on futons. Some rules must remain in place for employee safety, however, such as a no-firearms policy.

The following pongs will help you “find, keep and nurture talent” in your organization:

Pongs for...

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