Before he eventually co-founded Apple in his parent’s garage in 1976, Steve Jobs first entered the tech world working for Atari founder Nolan Bushnell who was riding sky high after the success of the video game Pong. Jobs was put to work creating the follow up, along with Steve Wozniak, in turning Pong into a single player video game, and the hit Breakout was the eventual result.
Of course, Jobs and Wozniak eventually left Atari to found Apple, but Nolan insists that pieces and parts to make the Apple I weren’t the only thing the duo took with them to make their computer. He also claims that much of what we consider to be Apple culture got its roots from Atari. While I don’t especially see the links between the two, given some of Atari’s controversial exploits while at the top of their game, Nolan remembers Steve Jobs’ work ethic, passion, and good business sense.
This past week, Nolan Bushnell was seen giving a speech at Campus Party Brazil at Sao Paolo University and used his podium to tell a few stories about working with Steve Jobs back before he became a household name.
“What is one of the characteristics that made Steve Jobs successful? He was creative, but you know what else was really important? He was a very, very, very hard worker. How many of my employees did I find sleeping under their desks when I came in early on a Monday morning? Not many. Did he kinda smell bad? Yeah. That’s cause we didn’t have showers, and if you didn’t go home for two or three days you could get gamey.”
Some are anecdotal, some are inspirational, and some are revelatory, but all of them are an interesting look from one founder of home computers to another from back when this whole “home computer” thing got started.
Most of the stories begin at around the 13:00 minute mark. Bushell, currently a member of Atari’s Board of Directors and Anti-Aging Games, is writing a book titled Finding the Next Steve Jobs.