The concept of believing you can hire the potential employee who will become the next Steve Jobs is every businessman’s dream. However, recognizing that the environment required to nurture this talent along the path from potential to the heights that Jobs’s brain focused on the technology world would be rare, at best.
Nolan Bushnell founded Atari in 1972, and the path he and early employees forges became legend. Two years later Bushnell hired Steve Jobs, as well as many other future creative geniuses over the the five decades he led the company. Bushnell believes he has bottled the formula of finding, hiring, and nurturing the people who could evolve the next Atari or Apple.
Bushnell’s book, Finding the Next Steve Jobs, seems appropriate as we just passed the second anniversary of Jobs passing. It’s a pleasant and yet painful recounting of a great mind.
Bushnell’s advice appears counter-intuitive, surprising, and atypical, yet when looking for employees, credentials are meaningless without raw talent. He believes it will be the obnoxious who may spark the next brilliant success. And the brilliant are often the ones who devour raw data. The ability to read or ingest data often is a core value in experience. And probing unanswerable questions yield depth and willingness to demand examination. From social media, Facebook or twitter feeds, depth and inquisitive minds often evolve.
But hiring a creative is only step number one. You must have a plan, often quite evolving in itself, for keeping them. Brilliance often requires an incubator to grow. So sheltering in a protected environment may be necessary. Celebrating failures as well as small successes becomes a top priority. Burst of energy and long periods of frenetic, often disjointed spasms of random thought and output may follow. ADHD behavior may be the norm. From new gadget to toys you need to spur the creative juices. Encourage decision making by randomness, and throwing dice may be a hit. Invent haphazard and random holidays which may relate to quirky likes or books from their shelves. Let them sleep and work on their own schedule. Being a nine-to-five worker doesn’t woek with these minds..
The business world is not the world for the next Steve Jobs. Although they may have some similarities, don’t think there will be any two alike. Changing in business patterns is moving faster than ever, and every day you will face new situations like you haven’t seen before. Complications and difficulties will be the norm. The best way to resolve new issues is utilize wildly creative people who live as much in the future as in the present. “Thinking Different” and utilizing ideas that come on the tip of the tongue of a creative will guarantee that you will always be on your toes. There are no real guarantees other than the next wave of creatives must learn from the past. And the how and why harnessing of those who help us get there is the role of a new generation of managers.