Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent (2013), Book Review

Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent (2013)
by Nolan Bushnell with Gene Stone

At first I was disappointed with this book because I thought I’ll find more anecdotes about Steve Jobs as the title was suggesting. But after about 5 chapters, I realized that this is not just about Steve Jobs (actually the best biography about Jobs is written by Walter Isaacson, check it out) but about how to find creatives such as Steve Jobs – and considering myself as working in a creative ministry – I was hooked by this insightful and brilliant book! The ideas presented by Bushnell, the founder of Atari and the man who launched Steve Jobs’ career, are based on his way of nurturing creatives in his own gaming company and two other dozen other companies. The ideas are direct and easy to execute.

As the world changes, you need to make sure your entire company shapes your product to suit the shape of the new society – and that new society is coming, whether you want it to or not. The key to survival in this new world is creativity,” said Bushnell. He continues, “So every company needs to make sure it is constantly pushing the envelope, because it takes time to move a new process or project into the marketplace efficiently. Few companies can innovate on a dime. The ability to move quickly must always be present. That ability exists only where creativity thrives.” He said that creativity must be present at all levels of any company. Creativity doesn’t reside in one person (true!) or even a few chosen-people, it must be found, kept and nurture in every level or it won’t bloom anywhere. Bushnell explains, “The person who identifies a problem is part of the creativity chain. The person who thinks of a solution is also part of the chain. The person who executes the solution is yet another part of the chain, as is the person who then moves that solution into the mainstream, through marketing and production.” 

This book is divided into 2 sectionsPart 1: Finding and Hiring the Next Steve Jobs; and Part 2: Keeping and Nurturing the Next Steve Jobs – and each Pong (or idea. ‘Pong’ is one of the earliest arcade video games invented by Nolan Bushnell at Atari, one of Steve Jobs’ favourites) are interrelated with one another. “If you are able to abide by many of the pongs in this book,” claims Bushnell, “you, too, will be on your way to success. However, there’s one last pong to keep in mind. It’s a simple one: Act!” Isn’t that a crucial pong for every book that we read? We must take action! It isn’t enough to understand that we must find, hire and nurture creative people, we must actually go out and do it. Here are some of my favourite pongs: Hire the Crazy, Ask about Books, Ask Odd Questions, Celebrate Failure, Promote Pranksterism, Champions the Bad Ideas, Require Risk, Mentor, Treat Employees as Adults, Encourage ADHD, Think Toys, Taka a Random Walk through Wikipedia, and Go to Sleep. Seth Godin, entrepreneur, marketer and author say this about the book, “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.” I hope more young people know about this man - Nolan Bushnell.


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