Nolan Bushnell

Nolan Bushnell

Chairman and Founder of Snap Education

50 years of Invention and Entrepreneurship: A Retrospective and Introduction of the Next

The products and services of my life from simple gadgets as a teen to the more sophisticated projects of an adult continue to stoke the creative fires of invention and discovery. My processes of research and execution on a project have been a significant part of successful business formation. In any business many unforeseen occurrences can disrupt any carefully crafted business plan. The objective is to minimize those instances to as few as possible so that it is unlikely to be battling more than one at a time. I will talk about my process of invention and business formation and how it applies to my various companies.

Nolan Bushnell’s career spans over 30 years in which he has made innovations and contributions to several industries. He is best known as the creator of the first digital videogame and the founder of Atari, founder Chuck E. Cheese entertainment restaurant chain, Axlon for interactive toys, Catalyst the first high tech incubator, Etak the first automobile navigation system, ByVideo the first on line shopping system and several others. Through the years Bushnell has given over 2000 speeches on subjects ranging from his companies, the history of video games, the process of innovation, entrepreneurship, intrepreneurship (bringing to market a new project in an old company) and his 10 steps to bring projects to market with no money. His speeches, while being somewhat irreverent to established cliché’s, are humorous high energy and always thought provoking.

He is widely credited with the following innovations and trends:
- The creation of the first commercial digital videogame.
- The acceptance of casual dress in the technical workplace.
- The creation of the Chuck E. Cheese chain of restaurants.
- The creation of the first digital automobile navigation system.
- The creation of the first on line marketing system.
- 3 Simple ways to inject creativity into an organization.

Several of his quotes have entered the mainstream:
- On Ideas: “Anyone who has had a shower has had a good idea--- what separates the winners from the losers is what does the person do after they leave the shower.”
- On Arrogance: “About the time someone thinks the sun shines out their rear-- all that they can be assured of is an illuminated landing area.”
- On Innovation: “Everyone wants innovation until they see it.”
- On Hard Work: “If it were easy to make a million dollars more people would be doing it.”
- The Future: “The world rewards accurate prediction of the future, the best way to be right in your predictions are to make them happen”
- Business Plans: “Anyone can create a success based on everything going correctly—the issue is to be successful even if nothing goes according to plan.

He has received numerous awards including the following:
- New Week 50 Americans that changed the nation.
- Consumer Electronics “Hall of Fame”
- Video “Hall of Fame”
- Restaurant Business “Innovator of the Year”
- Amusement Operators of America “Life time Achievement”
- Distinguished Fellow, University of Utah
- Computer Museum “Hall of Fame”
- Distinguished Leader of Silicon Valley
- The Agenda “Crystal Ball Award”
- Babson College “Distinguished Entrepreneur”
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Life Time Achievement Award