Nolan Bushnell, legendary founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, recently came out with his first book, Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep, and Nurture Creative Talent.
In an interview posted by leadership speaker Skip Prichard, Bushnell--who hired a young Jobs at Atari in 1974--shared some pearls of wisdom about creativity and leadership with his publisher, Tim Sanders. Here's a sampling:
Sanders: I know it's your strong belief that leaders at companies need to foster a creative culture. If you were going to give leaders one piece of advice on how to think differently about a creative culture, what would that piece of advice be?
Bushnell: I would encourage them to say "yes" to at least one crazy idea a year.
Sanders: Give me an example of some of the crazy ideas you heard when you were in Atari.
Bushnell: Among the many that were pitched to me, one that stands out was this notion of making pretty pictures when music happened. It seemed ridiculous at the time. The product ultimately turned into Midi.
Sanders: Midi, of course, is the standard that still exists to this day for connecting music devices to each other and synchronizing them.
Bushnell: I think we built 20,000 of them, and I think we sold six at full-price. (Laughs.) But it did become a force within the industry, for sure.