Nolan Bushnell - Atari Founder & Mentor to Steve Jobs


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By Rob Moore. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In today’s podcast Rob is joined by American businessman, electrical engineer and founder of Atari games Nolan Bushnell. Together they discuss how Nolan found success in video games, having Apple founder Steve Jobs as an employee and why ideas are rubbish until you work on them.


  • Each time sales slow down on your product, bring out a new one. Slowly but surely you will become a real company receiving orders and gaining customers. As long as you can keep ahead of everybody creatively, you can become the power.

  • The probability of you being a successful gamer in the E sports world is the equivalent to you getting signed up to the New York Yankees. If you make it you can make a lot of money but it is up in the 1% category. Inject practicality into your children wherever possible.

  • To be in a relationship with an entrepreneur, you have to embrace chaos and unpredictability. Every once in a while you have to push all of your chips out on the table, some of those chips would usually be put away for house payments which is difficult. The risk profile for an entrepreneur is much higher than normal and much higher compared to a wife and a mother.

  • Everybody has a good idea when they’re in the shower. What determines what you do when you get out of the shower? Can you make that idea your own by working on it? Ideas are basically rubbish, you do not own these ideas until you work on them. The more you work on your ideas, the more you own them.

  • To be disruptive is to do things that have never been done before in a way that fundamentally changes outcomes forever more. Mathematically there are things called singularities which are things that wipe out the history whilst going forward. True disruption is a singularity.


“I instantaneously knew that if I screened with a coin slot in my arcade it would earn serious money.”

“I always thought that video games were going to be massive and disruptive, and I felt that if we tried really really hard we could get a little piece of it.”

“Games have to be easy to learn and hard to master.”

“If it’s fun it can make money.”


Nolan Bushnell is an American businessman and electrical engineer. He established Atari, Inc. and the Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre chain. Nolan has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame received the BAFTA Fellowship and the Nations Restaurant News "Innovator of the Year" award, and was named one of Newsweek's "50 Men Who Changed America." Bushnell has started more than twenty companies and is one of the founding fathers of the video gameindustry. He is on the board of Anti-Aging Games. In 2012 he founded an educational software company called Brainrush, that is using video game technology in educational software. Nolan is credited with Bushnell's Law, an aphorism about games "easy to learn and difficult to master" being rewarding.



Rob Moore is an author of 9 business books, 5 UK bestsellers, holds 3 world records for public speaking, entrepreneur, property investor, and property educator. Author of the global bestseller "Life Leverage" Host of UK's No.1 business podcast "The Disruptive Entrepreneur."

"If you don't risk anything, you risk everything."


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