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Steve Jobs’ First Boss, “Steve Was Difficult, Very Few Companies Would Hire Him”

Apart from designing products for Apple, its co-founder and late CEO Steve Jobs also designed a 260 feet yacht dubbed Venus. In fact, Steve Jobs was such a person that even the U.S. president Barack Obama hailed Steve Jobs in his speech. But interestingly Steve Jobs’ first boss Nolan Bushnell said that very few companies would have hired Steve Jobs because of his attitude!


Nolan Bushnell

Nolan Bushnell used to run video-game pioneer Atari in the early 1970s. He advertised job openings at Atari with taglines such as, ‘Confusing work with play every day’ and ‘Work harder at having fun than ever before’. When job applicants came in for interviews, he would ask brain-teasing questions such as: “What is a mole?”; “Why do tracks run counter-clockwise?” and “What is the order of these numbers: 8, 5, 4, 9, 1, 7, 6, 3, 2?” At the age of 19 years, Steve Jobs went to work there in 1974 as an unkempt. As long as Steve was in that job, Bushnell always saw something special in him.

Bushnell said that “Steve was difficult” and he was an “outlier.” Besides, Jobs had offended some Atari employees so much that Bushnell eventually told Jobs to work night also. Bushnell also said that Jobs was such “simple” that “to most potential employers, he’d just seem like a jerk in bad clothing.” Bushnell added, “very few companies would hire Steve, even today.”

Bushnell wrote all these in his newly released book, ‘Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent‘, which is the latest chapter in a diverse career that spans more than 20 different start-ups that he either launched on his own or groomed at Catalyst Technologies, a business incubator that he once ran.

Source: Mercury News

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