Nolan Bushnell

Founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater. Father of the Video Game Industry. Creator of first video game, "Pong", Author of Finding the Next Steve Jobs. Innovator, Pioneer, Entrepreneur, Scientist.

Let me introduce you to Nolan Bushnell.  One of Newsweek’s “50 Men That Changed America”.  Nolan is the quintessential technology pioneer, entrepreneur, scientist, and engineer.  Often cited as the Father of the Video Game Industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre.  Today his design credo—that games should be “easy to learn and difficult to master”—is inspiring a new generation of developers. Nolan was also the first and only person to hire Steve Jobs, which he details in his 2013 book, Finding the Next Steve Jobs, published by Simon and Schuster.  

Nolan is a riveting and entertaining speaker with a wealth of knowledge not only about the early days of Silicon Valley, but also about where technologies today are headed.  Today he oversees and/or sits on the boards of several companies that use Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, and Augmented Reality, as well as other advanced tech.  However, Nolan is just as at home on stage, motivating and inspiring others with his views on entrepreneurship, culture, creativity, innovation and education, and is one of the most in demand speakers in the world on these topics.  Nolan has spoken at numerous important organizations and companies, including Google, SAP, YPO, Dolby, and MPI, and at the biggest events in the world, like WIRED25, South by Southwest, and CES.   

Over the past four decades, it’s staggering what Nolan has created as a prolific entrepreneur, founding more than 20 companies, including:  Atari; Chuck E. Cheese’s; Catalyst Technologies – the first tech incubator in Silicon Valley;  Etak – the first car navigation system whose mapping is still the basis for car navigation systems today;  Androbot – a personal robotics company;  ByVideo – the first online ordering system, which allowed customers to order and pay for product from kiosks;  uWink – the first touch screen ordering and entertainment system at restaurant tables;  X2 – a new game company focusing on powerful new tech, and Modal VR – an end-to-end virtual reality platform that delivers large-scale and fully wireless immersion for multiple users at once.  In the process, he pioneered many of the workplace innovations that have made Silicon Valley a long-standing magnet for creative talent.  Additionally, he has consulted for numerous corporations, including IBM, Cisco Systems and US Digital Communications.  He has been featured by major media worldwide including Fast Company, Wired, Huffington Post, CNET, The Guardian, BBC, and as a guest on countless business news shows. 

Nolan has won several awards around the world and has been featured in many documentaries about Silicon Valley and Video Games, including recently in CNN’s “The Eighties” produced by Tom Hanks, and will soon be seen in 2019 in another major documentary called “Game On” on The History Channel about the video game industry.  Nolan was even given a cameo in the 2013 film “Jobs” starring Ashton Kutcher, a tip of the hat to Nolan for his role in hiring Steve Jobs for his first job ever at Atari.  Currently, a biopic about Nolan, tentatively titled “Atari”, with Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company is set to begin production likely this year. 

Nolan Bushnell Intro Speaking Video:

Introducing Modal VR:

Secrets to Success by Nolan Bushnell, Founder of Atari and Chuck E Cheese’s:

The End of Teaching and the Golden Age of Learning:


TESTIMONIALS

“Nolan was indeed a hit! And what a nice guy! He had everyone mesmerized with the stories he told to the point where we actually extended his time on stage for a bit as people couldn’t get enough.”

Best,
Maria Relaki
Portfolio Director

“Nolan’s talk turned out great. Every person I talked to at the event said that he was inspiring and was the best talk of the event. That’s pretty rare feedback. They were also glad he spent so much time mingling at the event.” – Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer for VentureBeat’s GamesBeat 


SPEAKING STYLE

Bushnell is known for his relaxed manner, humor, one-liners and is regularly quoted.  He often is scheduled as the after lunch speaker as he is one of the few that can keep any audience engaged.  He can speak using an extensive PowerPoint with hundreds of historical pictures, current laboratory projects and future concepts.  

He likes to mingle with the audience before and after his presentations and makes himself available for autographs and pictures.  His motto is that a good speaker learns as much as he teaches.  

He is often asked to lead creative problem solving sessions involving the senior management group of corporations.  He has spurred out-of-the-box thinking in the groups with surprising results.  


SPEAKING TOPICS

  • Innovation:  How to foster it, encourage it and capitalize on it.
  • The Future of Technology and Gaming:  Where is the industry going?  Why?  Where are the pockets of potential?  What pitfalls should companies avoid?
  • Intrapreneurship:  How to encourage and build a culture of intrapreneurship in companies, helping established entities to stay on the cutting edge.
  • Entrepreneurship:  Why it is essential to business today?  What are the key elements of a successful entrepreneur?  How do you recognize it and tap into it?
  • Education:  What are the trends in education now and moving into the future?  How will classrooms and learning be different in the years to come?  How will they remain the same?  How will education evolve in light of today’s and tomorrow’s technologies?
  • The Future:  What tools have been used in the past to be on the cutting edge as technology becomes available and cost effective?  What are the trends that every company and discipline need to be aware?
  • Success and Failure:  While there have been many successes, there have been spectacular disappointments when businesses fail to launch.  Often we learn more from our failures than our successes.  
  • Fun:  What is it about fun that makes products and companies successful?  How does creating “wants”, not just “needs”, power success?
  • Family:  Bushnell has 8 children and has been asked to talk about success and failure and how both affect family life.  His son Brent, an entrepreneur in his own right, appears regularly on “Extreme Home Makeover” providing technological additions to unique needs.  They can appear together for an interesting father/son dialogue.  

About “Finding The Next Steve Jobs

Silicon Valley legend Nolan Bushnell founded the groundbreaking gaming company Atari in 1972, and was Steve Jobs’ employer and mentor, as he was for many other creatives over the course of his five decades in business. In his eagerly awaited first book, Bushnell explains how to find, hire, and nurture the people who could turn your company into the next Atari or the next Apple.

“If you can fix your company’s bureaucracy, if you can streamline your creative chain, if you can establish a workplace where innovation is rewarded and naysayers are denied power… if you can play with toys, if you can follow many of the other pongs in this book, you may well be fashioning a workplace that cultivates creativity. In that case, the next Steve Jobs may already be applying for a position at your company…. You might even find that the next Steve Jobses are already working for you—although if that’s the case, the odds are good that they’re wilting under your company’s hierarchy, their inspiration destroyed by your management team, by the lack of support for their ideas, by the fear that taking a risk will lead to being fired …It isn’t enough to find the next Steve Jobses and hire them; you have to create a situation in which they can flourish, and then your company can, too. “


 

Nolan-Bushnell-with-Pong-pic

Nolan Bushnell’s blogs:

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