Brent Bushnell is the CEO of Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based experiential entertainment company and creators of STEAM Carnival, a traveling event to inspire kids about science, technology, engineering, art and math.
Brent is on fire about using play and spectacle to inspire inventors. He is passionate about rebranding STEM learning to STEAM with the inclusion of art and creativity. He is motivated by the power of group games and interactive media to bring people together in fun and meaningful ways. As a UCLA-trained engineer, he is a hands-on maker who uses rapid prototyping to turn vision into reality. He’s board president of Trash For Teaching, an LA-based non-profit focused on upcycling clean corporate waste into art supplies for kids.
Previously, he was the on-camera inventor for the ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He was a founding member of Syyn Labs, a creative collective combining art and engineering to create high engagement for large brands and bands including Google, Disney and responsible for the viral hit Rube Goldberg music video for OK Go that garnered 50+ million views on YouTube.
In his spare time, Brent enjoys mentoring teens in entrepreneurship via programs such as NFTE
VR, AR, MR and the future of media & entertainment
A major trend in media is to increase the immersion of the user. After a brief trial in the 90’s, Virtual Reality (VR) is finally ready for prime time and the next step after . The tools of production, distribution, and consumption are finally capable and cost effective to bring this powerful technology to scale. When technology emerges from the lab, entertainment can be a natural first step. It acts as a safe proving ground before the solution can be applied to more sensitive and critical areas like medicine and education.
Brent will share the coming future of entertainment across virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and ultimately mixed reality (MR). MR is particularly exciting for its ability to turn players into real life video game characters. Environmental and distributed device control, AR, VR, haptic elements will be combined to create massively multiplayer, multi-role narrative adventures unlike anything we’ve seen before.
How the Entrepreneur With Crazy Ideas Turns Them Into Meaningful Revenue
The desire for human interaction runs strong and deep.
1. Follow Disney’s 3-step method when brainstorming for new ideas.
First, begin as a dreamer. Nothing is off limits. Fantasize, be absurd, the more outrageous the better. Next, rework the ideas you dreamed about into something more practical. “Of all the things that we had in the dreamer stage, we start to apply some filters to be able to cull that big set into something more reasonable,” said Brent. And finally, in the third step, “Take all the things that made it through the filters and determine what are we actually going to work on. What do we really care about? What do we think makes a ton of sense?” There is an art and science to the brainstorming process.
2. Move from prototype to testing your idea with people as quick as possible.
“The speed with which you can take an idea from concept to working prototype and put in the hands of a user has radically collapsed,” said Brent. With today’s technology, an entrepreneur can go from idea in the morning to working prototype in the afternoon. Ironically, Brent often finds that the things he and his team are most excited about are not the same ones that potential customers find exciting. To save time and money, “We try to engage with potential customers as fast as possible because there’s just no substitute for live feedback and engaging with your potential customers,” said Brent. By integrating rapid prototyping with immediate customer feedback–then iterating with what you learn–you can dramatically increase your pace of innovation.
3. Continuously iterate.
As an entrepreneur, your first idea will rarely be the best idea. Brent’s team came up with a game that involved a wall of buttons. You’d think there’s not much room to iterate on a simple wall of buttons, right? Wrong. “We’ve got to be on version 10 of this thing now. It slowly evolved into a 2-player game and then we were like, ‘Wow, what if we put it on spinning gears? It’ll make it harder.’ Well, that was true, but people’s fingers got caught in those gears so we had to do another version. Each time that we did it the game got better and better. The willingness to continuously iterate so that you’re constantly getting feedback is what really makes things awesome,” said Brent. Are you continuously getting feedback on your products and services then making improvements?
The Bushnell family on cultivating creativity and entrepreneurship at home and at work
Dubbed the “first family of fun” by Fast Company, the Bushnell’s are clan of entertainment entrepreneurs focused on creating the future of entertainment. Nolan Bushnell, serial entrepreneur best known for founding Atari and Chuck E Cheese, has eight children, most of whom are entrepreneurs in entertainment. In this energizing panel, a group of siblings will share details of their upbringing and how Nolan crafted an environment that encouraged creativity and entrepreneurship.
“Brent Bushnell, thanks for your fabulous consult/insight about our REWILD project with THNK, Nekita Raval and I!”
– Kevan Gilbert
“Brent Bushnell, I absolutely loved your sessions at Pioneers 16. Thank you!”
– Marcus Greenwood
“Brent, this was very engaging and really well done. Thank you very much for doing this. Wishing you a great year.”
– Mark Moses, Best Selling “Author of Make Big Happen”, Founding Partner CEO Coaching International
“Great talk from Brent Bushnell about creativity and learning. STEAM on! Looking forward to October. Thanks for coming.”
– Richard Hooper
– Jen Loveland, Worldwide Events Manager, FLIR Systems, Inc.
– Iván Fernández Lobo, Founder and Chairman of the Gamelab Conference.