Nolan Bushnell is a technology pioneer, entrepreneur and scientist. Often cited as the father of the video game industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater. Mr. Bushnell is passionate about enhancing and improving the educational process by integrating the latest in brain science, and truly enjoys motivating and inspiring others with his views on entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and education.
Over the past four decades, Bushnell has been a prolific entrepreneur, founding numerous companies, including: Catalyst Technologies, the first technology incubator; Etak, the first car navigation system whose mapping is still the basis for car navigation systems today; Androbot, a personal robotics company; and ByVideo, the first online ordering system, which allowed customers to order and pay for product from kiosks.
Additionally, he has consulted for numerous corporations, including IBM, Cisco Systems and US Digital Communications.
Currently, Mr. Bushnell is devoting his talents to fixing education with his new company, Brainrush. His beta software is teaching academic subjects at over 10 times the speed in classrooms with over 90% retention. He uses video game metrics to addict learners to academic subjects.
His Anti Aging games project helps seniors to avoid many of the problems of mental aging through game exercises that maintain mental flexibility and problem solving. He was most recently featured in the New Yorker magazine for this effort.
Over the years, Bushnell has garnered many accolades and distinctions. He was named ASI 1997 Man of the Year, inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame, inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame and named one of Newsweek’s “50 Men That Changed America.”
He is also highlighted as one of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial icons in “The Revolutionaries” display at the renowned Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California. In March of 2009, Bushnell was honored with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Fellowship Award (BAFTA) the highest accolade the Academy bestows, for his outstanding creative contribution to the Video Games Industry. He was similarly honored with a LARA award from the German Academy of Entertainment.
Currently a biopic about Bushnell, tentatively titled Atari, is in pre-production. The story was acquired by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company and is set to star DiCaprio as Mr. Bushnell.
Bushnell has created many business cultural innovations that have become the norm, including unique business planning sessions, flat egalitarian management organizations, casual work attire, play/work environments, creativity as a competitive weapon, and the innovator’s bonus. All can be traced to their first use at Atari and Chuck E. Cheese and later instilled at Apple and other Silicon Valley corporations.
Bushnell received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah, where he is a Distinguished Fellow and also attended Stanford University Graduate School.
Play with him on Twitter.