I recently read the book “Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep and Nurture Talent” by Nolan Bushnell. For the few non-geek people, Nolan Bushnell is the guy that started many successful (and some less) companies (the most famous is Atari but it also involved in Chuck E. Cheese) but also employed Steve Jobs. This dude is a real entrepreneur who meet successes and failures. The main idea behind this book is not to find the next Steve Jobs but rather give some advices to be a successful entrepreneur. Bushnell does not seem to value himself as a successful entrepreneur and its own self-critic by pointing out what worked well and what failed when launching new companies.
I just enjoyed the whole book. It is just well written, accurate and lists of what will make your company successful by finding and engaging creative people. It go against most usual and common human resource and management trends (for example, hiring according to degrees and grades, using specific metrics, etc.). The author is mostly focused of getting creative people, the happy fews that have disruptive ideas. The one that are frustrated in big corporations, being reject most of the time by usual working rules and laws. This is these guys that will create the next disruptive technology, no matter what you think. When looking back at successful projects, this approach is pretty legit: most successful projects or ideas were proposed by unusual/non-conventional people. Jobs was one of them for sure, but there are plenty of other examples (and not only in this book!). These dudes are not famous but many disruptive technologies stem from their brains!
The book list a number of rules to apply in order to get creative people. Some might be discussed while some others are obviously legit (asking random questions during an interview – “how many gums are beneath the table” – just to see the thinking pattern of the candidate). Bushnel just wants to find why people will enjoy to work, the guy that does not care to get a paycheck at the end of the month but rather want to have fun.
This book is also about passion. Passion for what you are doing this work, passion for why you are working at night and continue to do so without any obvious reason. If you are a geek, this book will just remind you why you enjoy coding at night, why hacking is so fun and why you will continue no matter what. This is what differentiate people working to make a living and earn money and others that work for fun and does not care about the rest. As a geek, reading this book reminded me why I enjoy working in computer science since so many years and will probably to do so. We do not care about getting famous, having money or making something that will be a best seller: we just want to explore new ideas, start new project, create new products that are awesome while having fun! Just for that reason, reading the book is just worth it and would definitively be on your reading list.
You can find the book on amazon and probably in your local library.