How to Hire—and Keep—the Next Steve Jobs

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 10-08-2013 Email Print this article Print

Steve Jobs preached "Think different" during his celebrated reign at Apple. But you may not realize that he cultivated this quality under a mentor who launched the restaurant chain, Chuck E. Cheese. Yes, that's right. Nolan Bushnell started the noisy, kid-friendly pizza joint, along with two dozen other companies. Among them is Atari where, as Bushnell recounts, an "unkempt, contemptuous 19-year-old" Jobs got his first real job. In the recent book, Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Talent (Simon and Schuster), Bushnell provides the following recruiting and retention tips among the dozens he recounts in the book. His overall philosophy discourages managers to seek "safe" employees who won't ruffle any feathers yet, then again, seldom make meaningful impact. Instead, Bushnell looks past various personality quirks and seeks out employees who convey a unique sense of passion and creative spark. Jobs, for example, ticked off certain Atari employees so much that Bushnell eventually told him to work nights when no one was around. Clearly, he went on to accomplish great things. Bushnell's other innovations include Catalyst Technologies, the first technology incubator; Etak, the first car navigation system; and Androbot, a robotics company. He also has consulted for IBM and Cisco. For more about the book, click here.

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.


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