Book Giveaway #40: Finding the Next Steve Jobs

Title: Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent
Author(s): Nolan Bushnell, Gene Stone

What does it take to be the “father of electronic gaming”? What does it take to be the first boss of Steve Jobs? Some would say he was the right person at the right time? Maybe. Though that could be retrospective wisdom. Certainly, the same opportunity was available to many, but only Nolan Bushnell could “think through” and “act upon” his instincts?

Bushnell is here to help – he offers 51 things to ponder over – especially if you wish to bring out and nourish the genius in yourself and others.

There is another lucrative opportunity: to invest in looking for geniuses, enroll them to work with you, and, further, keep nurturing their genius.

Bushnell, helpfully, divides this book into two parts:

  1. Finding and Hiring the Next Steve Jobs
  2. Keeping and Nurturing the Next Steve Jobs

Hold your horses, though! Are you sure you are can work with rude smart alecs or jerks? Listen to Bushnell as quoted here:

“The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today”.

“Why? Because he was an outlier. To most potential employers, he’d just seem like a jerk in bad clothing.”

And it wasn’t simply that Jobs was an outlier. “Steve was difficult but valuable,” Bushnell told the San Jose Mercury News. “He was very often the smartest guy in the room, and he would let people know that.”

Another – hold your horses! Are you looking for rules for creativity? Because there are none! The author says:

“The book you are reading contains no rules. Instead it has pongs.”.

Uhhh….what is a pong? It was word invented for a video game he had created. A pong is piece of advice. As the author says about advice:

It applies ONLY WHERE the advice is helpful or needed, unlike a rule, which thinks of itself as applicable to every situation.

Let us begin with tip #1:

Atari did not find Steve Jobs. We made it easy for him to find us. A good company is a 24 x 7 advertisement for itself.

How are you running your company day-in and day-out? What if your work was a live broadcast (In any case, YOU ARE ALMOST A LIVE BROADCAST through word of mouth, if not social media)? Would that attract the best people needed for your work? If not, what changes you would do to your working style?

Here is a tip from the author:

Much of life is about creating an appropriate ecosystem … … what are your values – what do you stand for? What are your passions? What are your quirks? … … all of these traits will define your ecosystem.

Tip #46: Duck Processes

Yes, you heard that right! An excerpt:

“Creativity without speed is useless. Old rule and standard operating procedures don’t lead to innovation.”

A conclusion from the author:

“Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. THE THING THAT MATTERS IS WHAT YOU DO WITH THE IDEA ONCE YOU GET OUT OF THE SHOWER. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.”

I would add: Do not even wait for the water to dry off or even waste time in wearing clothes. If you are not IMPLEMENTING AN IDEA, you are wasting your time. Remember Archimedes? When he got “his” idea, he jumped from the bathtub and ran through streets naked.

Ready for that? Or at least, ready to work with such people?

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