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Steve Jobs' First Boss: 'Very Few Companies Would Hire Steve, Even Today' 420

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Mercury News reports that Nolan Bushnell, who ran video game pioneer Atari in the early 1970s, says he always saw something special in Steve Jobs, and that Atari's refusal to be corralled by the status quo was one of the reasons Jobs went to work there in 1974 as an unkempt, contemptuous 19-year-old. 'The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today,' says Bushnell. 'Why? Because he was an outlier. To most potential employers, he'd just seem like a jerk in bad clothing.' While at Atari, Bushnell broke the corporate mold, creating a template that is now common through much of Silicon Valley. He allowed employees to turn Atari's lobby into a cross between a video game arcade and the Amazon jungle. He started holding keg parties and hiring live bands to play for his employees after work. He encouraged workers to nap during their shifts, reasoning that a short rest would stimulate more creativity when they were awake. He also promised a summer sabbatical every seven years. Bushnell's newly released book, Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent, serves as a primer on how to ensure a company doesn't turn into a mind-numbing bureaucracy that smothers existing employees and scares off rule-bending innovators such as Jobs. The basics: Make work fun; weed out the naysayers; celebrate failure, and then learn from it; allow employees to take short naps during the day; and don't shy away from hiring talented people just because they look sloppy or lack college credentials. Bushnell is convinced that there are all sorts of creative and unconventional people out there working at companies today. The problem is that corporate managers don't recognize them. Or when they do, they push them to conform rather than create. 'Some of the best projects to ever come out of Atari or Chuck E. Cheese's were from high school dropouts, college dropouts,' says Bushnell, 'One guy had been in jail.'"
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Steve Jobs' First Boss: 'Very Few Companies Would Hire Steve, Even Today'

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  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:32PM (#43327517)
    Few companies are willing to hire anyone today.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:50PM (#43327615)

      In all seriousness, other than during the bubble, has it ever been easy to get a job?

      Sometimes it feels like I've been hearing 'in this economy' for my whole life. Admittedly, I haven't been around as long as many, but that's what it honestly feels like.

      • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:34PM (#43327833)
        Sub 1% unemployment in my section of the computer industry. I was getting bombarded with job requests for the past few years, but they've let up as I kept telling them that I enjoy my current job.
        • For the interest of people who may be looking for a better field within IT, what section of the computer industry do you work in?
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Bullshit statistics and make-believe data department.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Analytics/data science. I can't find anyone quickly enough to fill the open positions we have to complete the amount of work we have lined up.

            I provided offers to three people in the last 4 months and all of them called to say they took another job the day before they were going to start.

            The field is highly competitive, salaries are very high (I am very well paid compared to many of my friends in IT and certainly far more than anyone else), and the opportunities and freedom are abundant.

            Most associate level

          • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @05:40AM (#43335617)

            Well it's like this for .NET developers, and in fact, many areas of software development in most of the UK at least (the few exceptions may be places like Cornwall, or the North West north of Manchester perhaps, not sure).

            You really have to be quite awful to not be able to find a job in this field in the UK right now as there are far far more jobs paying well with good benefits than there are candidates. In fact, I'd go as far as saying if you're genuinely at least semi-competent and can't find a role in this field then you're one of those people who probably doesn't really actually want to find a job if they're honest with themselves.

      • In all seriousness, other than during the bubble, has it ever been easy to get a job?

        Sometimes it feels like I've been hearing 'in this economy' for my whole life. Admittedly, I haven't been around as long as many, but that's what it honestly feels like.

        Me, too. It never gets to the point where it's "reasonably possible" to find a job. It's felt the same even before the recent years of bad economy.

      • by WaywardGeek ( 1480513 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @10:44PM (#43328103) Journal

        I can only tell you about what it was like since 1986 when I went to work in Silicon Valley. First, if you love engineering or computer science and are really good at it, there's always a job. All that changes is the pay. In 1982, as a senior in high school, I was trilled to make minimum wage, $4/hour, programming a PDP-11 in Fortran IV. With a BS from Berkeley in EECS, and a never-ending hard-on for cool tech, I got $29K/year in 1986 at National Semi. Inflation adjusted, it's about the same as what we offer grads today. The 90's were freaking awesome. I had two startups I worked at go IPO, and had my pay increased to $140K by 1998, plus awesome stock options. Those were the good old days... 2002 sucked hugely. The number of resumes I got for a job posting was unbelievable. It was not humanly possible to read them all. Things got almost normal again a couple of years later, and then in 2008 the Great Recession hit. I suspect the resumes would have been an inhuman pile, except we couldn't hire anyone.

        So, yeah, there are times when it's hard to get a job even if you are a certified genius willing to work for free, and times when anyone with a pulse can get a job in tech. These last few years were about the worst anyone who was born after WWII can remember. Fortunately, it seems to be turning around. If you're friends are still complaining that there's no work, maybe they aren't all that good, or maybe they aren't looking hard enough. They will make less than what we paid in the best times in the 90's, but they'll do as well as good engineers have traditionally done in this country. It's all fine for now... thank God. That recession sucked hugely.

        • I was trilled to make minimum wage, $4/hour, programming a PDP-11 in Fortran IV.

          But think of what you saved by not needing a dominatrix.

          • No, you're thinking of someone programming a CP/M system in FORTRAN. The PDP/11 was a luxurious machine compared to that torture.
        • by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @06:58AM (#43329351) Homepage

          Minimum wage in 1982 was not $4/hr. It was around $3.25/hr. You were making above minimum wage. I graduated high school in 1987. I finished working at a local radio station at $3.35/hr and no it wasn't the luxury of getting paid to advance my knowledge of programming languages. It was soliciting the general public to determine how the radio station would best serve it's listening audience by pretending to be an impartial service unaffiliated to the station I was working for, all to boost their market share. In short, we were lying and violating FCC rules while getting paid shit to do it.

          After doing a Mechanical Engineering B.S. at WSU and later a CS bachelor's my first job was a 9 week contract at NeXT Software Inc for $19/hr. The year is 1996, I'm way overly educated and in the bay area it's a shit wage. God has not a fucking thing to do with being on Earth and Greed has everything to do with cluster bombing the economy into a global shit storm. You got way overpaid in 1998 at $140k plus stock options. I know a ton of folks like you that continue to get way overpaid creating nothing and getting paid a shitload for it. One clue, you're reading resumes. Top Engineers aren't reading resumes, they are in R&D creating projects to help drive a company forward to pay for managers making $140k/year plus benefits to micromanage their staff, none of which wanted the job so you as a fellow engineer stepped up to take it.

          Reality: 99% of IT is a me too world which follows and never leads, and is filled with overly paid data entry personnel who with engineering, physics and other hard science degrees slowly move into positions that they do for 20 years and then if they are lucky retire and never look back. Apple, and a handful of other companies drive the entire industry vision which kickstarts the entire Semiconductor industry to create products that these visionaries foresee the world will eventually need. Whether it is CAD, CGI, Applied Engineering, Gaming, you name it, the ones with the imagination challenge those with the scientific pragmatism what is or is not possible to make the impossible. Without them, the Semiconductor industry is stagnant and full of 30 year veterans bored to death but afraid to retire due to the loss of salary and too much free time. They can problem solve like nobody's business, but they sure as hell can't seem to figure out what problems to solve without those creative thinkers. The industry constantly turns to the youth knowing they have no experience and thus too stupid to realize all their bright ideas will be flushed but with a few exceptions, and those most often by pure chance end of succeeding with you most likely never enjoying the spoils of said idea(s).

          It's the reason Bushnell talks about some of the greatest ideas come from people who look at the IT Industry and this massive system of me toos cloning and doing repetitive work like drones as wrong, and who carve their own paths to break the monotony by doing the next big idea(s).

          Whether it happens to be a Ph.D. or a dude newly released from prison, great ideas come around rarely and when they do don't be afraid to grab onto them and nuture them with the mind that espoused the idea(s) first. If you don't, you'll most likely fuck it up and it'll never become the next insanely great product and/or service(s).

          My 22 year since deceased Grandfather and former Vice President of West Coast Credit for Intermediate Credit Federal Bank for the USDA told me when I was young,

          ``Man will always place a high value of his self worth to society no matter the job, experience or skills. None of this I have ever understood as his worth never matches his self appraisal.''

          I think he was conservative in that observation, and far too kind.

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @10:59AM (#43330829)

          I don't know about it being the worst years since WWII, the 1970's were sort of crappy too.

          Or maybe I'm just remembering the shag carpet and the fake wood paneling?

    • But if you are very lucky, they will let you intern for them: []

    • by XaXXon ( 202882 ) is looking to hire thousands of people, right now. Not saying that that makes a dent, but there are companies with very strong growth right now.

      • by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @10:45PM (#43328105) is looking to hire thousands of people, right now. Not saying that that makes a dent, but there are companies with very strong growth right now.

        I interviewed with Amazon. After the second in-person interview I had nailed technical questions, but was not offered a job. No matter, I was offered a job for 20k more in Portland where cost of living is lower and the culture better. Honestly Amazon didn't look like a great place to work, particularly given the location, starting salary, and amount of hours you're expected to put in. Might be okay right out of school before you have a life, but not a great place if you have a family to take care of.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you're an analog wizard who lives for implementing analog IP in silicon, and can relocate to Winston-Salem, ping me, because we've got openings. If you are a web design wizard, and JSON, Javascript, SQL (barf!), C#, Knockout and Bootstrap seem natural and easy to work with, and if you can live anywhere from Winston-Salem to Raleigh, ping me. I could use your help building EDA web stuff. If you can design digital, that's a bonus. If you can do digital and analog, and are a web wizard, then you must be

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But, I don't mix with people like Steve was. I can appreciate the creativity of his methods. I can dislike the shitheel he was to people.I can resent his business model. I can disdain his treating the user as a stupid money machine. I abhor his refusal to standard and compete with his contemporaries, instead embracing proprietary hardware, software and noninteroperability with erstwhile competition.

      I couldn't bring myself to hire him to make me money that crossed my ethics, in s

  • He's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:33PM (#43327521) Homepage Journal

    Steve Jobs would have made a lousy employee.

    • Apparently, he also made a lousy boss...
      • Apparently, he also made a lousy boss...

        Just imagine how successful he could have been with better people skills!

  • by DavidClarkeHR ( 2769805 ) <david.clarke@hrgenera l i s> on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:37PM (#43327547)
    Why take a chance on hiring an outsider if your management isn't supportive?

    It's a quick way to turn into an outsider yourself.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:38PM (#43327549) Homepage Journal

    He'd laugh himself out of the door if he showed up for a job today.

  • Why not? (Score:5, Funny)

    by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:43PM (#43327573) Journal
    A liberal arts major from a small liberal arts school who dropped acid and traveled to India to meditate and ate a diet of nothing but fruit... Why wouldn't they hire him?
  • yes, true for me (Score:5, Informative)

    by broward ( 416376 ) <browardhorne@gmail. c o m> on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:50PM (#43327617) Homepage

    Ive done quite innovative stuff (datamining/meme manipulation) for the past fifteen years but few companies want to hire me, so Ive done contracting for the past eight years. Most companies pay lip service to innovation but few truly recognize it or desire it.

    Managers advance by minimizing risk, not by innovating.
    Thats just the nature of business and people.

    • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:05PM (#43327675) Journal

      Managers advance by minimizing risk, not by innovating.

      This is not always true. A manager who innovates successfully can advance very quickly, in a company that hasn't yet reached organizational senescence (as Dr. Peter describes in The Peter Principle.)


      • by Bigby ( 659157 )

        The generalization by the GP is right on. You are talking about outliers that actually see value in risk. Those are few and far between. Those ideas are usually only espoused by those people without bosses.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:05PM (#43327681)

      I never knew that I could add this stuff to my resume! Thank you!

      Data mining= Facebook stalking. Lots of google searches.

      Meme manipulation = made cat picture caption funnier than the last guy. IMHO

    • I can see a few cracks below my usual viewing threshold, but I'd like to just ask: what is "meme manipulation?"

  • Post Hoc Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlinatrainingbra ( 2738457 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @08:52PM (#43327629)
    It's a false idea that Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. In other words, saying "because it happened after XYZ, it must have been because of XYZ" is wrong. I think Nolan Bushnell is probably right about a bunch of his ideas, but ultimately Atari did not rise to the top like the cream that was Macintosh/Apple did, or that IBM's PC architecture did because of all of that "complimentary copying", or that Unix or POSIX did in being used everywhere including in GNU/Linux.
    Look at past successes to see that one die roll that won in the corporate world of selecting employees who turn out to be diamonds in the rough
    is as crazy as

    looking at the past performance of 65536 (~sixty-five thousand = 2^16) brokers each of whom makes one of the binary bets of heads/tails on 16 binary events and then being surprised that one of them got all 16 bets rights, and 120 got 15 out of the 16 bets right.
    Sometimes it's pretty random, and looking for reason in fluke choices won't get you far. As for that betting example, go look at the Binomial distribution []. Also see [] where they use an example of 100 letters, whereas they would be better off having a power of 2.
    The best explanation of the "stock market prediction scam" is at [] .

  • michaelochurch has blogged about open allocation [] and problems with "why you?" cultures [] and concave vs convex [] that is probably related.

  • Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Davo Batty ( 2855025 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:02PM (#43327667)
    I'm going to show this to my boss. Maybe she will provide a keg, strippers and an occasional boong.
    • ...and an occasional boong.

      (That's in the fish in a barrel zone, but I seem to have mislaid my gun at this late hour... Ah, well--Pass.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:05PM (#43327677)

    I make it a policy not to hire dead guys.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:06PM (#43327687)
    "Weeding out naysayers" is a advice that should be applied very carefully IMHO. Anybody who's worked around engineers and been on slashdot a while can get the point - there are plenty of guys who never heard an idea they didn't hate, who only ever see problems and never opportunities. On the other hand, I imagine a few level-headed and empowered naysayers could have done a lot of good at Enron and Bear Stearns. I am not sure if there is really a principled way to tell the difference defeatists and prophets though. I spent a good part of this morning reading Sundown in America [], and the reader replies to it, and trying to decide whether the guy is loony, or America is doomed.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ...I've learned to shut my fucking mouth and let science projects explode spectacularly.

      Nobody seems to want to hear about potential risks and dangers that teams must take into account. And yet, they're of course completely shocked when shit goes up in flames.

      Well, everybody wins. I get a sense of smug self-satisfaction, and non-term thinkers get to keep failing. Damned if I know why it brings them such joy, but whatever floats their boats. (Caveat: Your hull should be intact if you have a boat. This

      • The attitude the warning is given with makes a huge impact on how it's received, and if the worst happens, whether the person is viewed positively as having tried to hard to warn everyone or as a smug jerk that thinks he's better than everyone else working there.

        Very few people react to superiority by welcoming the individual's input or wanting to do what the individual says they should; they react even more negatively to the (to be blunt) childish "neener neener I'm right you're wrong, idiots." Since most

    • A "defeatist" is simply a prophet who hasn't been proved right yet.

      Signed, Cassandra.

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
      I think the intention of "naysayers" was to describe the type of person who refuses to take a risk and is always against off-the-wall ideas.

      While there are plenty of bad ideas, you'll never know if it will work or not without at least doing some research behind it. That is pretty basic Deming Circle philosophy.

      The key is not coming up with the ideas but finding out how to implement as a good business decision.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:50PM (#43327901)

      ... On the other hand, I imagine a few level-headed and empowered naysayers could have done a lot of good at Enron and Bear Stearns. ...

      This point is actually brought up quite directly in Susan Cain's book titled "Quiet" []. It's not so much about "naysayers" (because both introverts and extroverts can be such), but is about the fact that introverted folks tend to put more effort into thinking about the (both positive and negative) effects of something, compared to extroverts who tend to dive in head-first and hope for the best. There were a good number of introverted folks giving Enron (and others) level-headed advice, with all the warning signs provided -- all of which was ignored (by extroverts who controlled things); both Enron and Bear Stearns were both mentioned.

      The reason I mention her book is because it sheds an enormous amount of light on the exact attitude, thought process, personality type, and even lifestyle, that the United States (and to some degree Canada as well) has come to expect from its citizens ("workers") -- it's expected that everyone be extroverted and that nobody ever question anything. All our systems (social, economical, educational, governmental, you name it) are designed solely to support the extroverted attitude and thought process -- especially from the moment we enter kindergarten. Introversion isn't awarded in any way, it's shunned. Once this evidence is presented to you (with hundreds and hundreds of facts to back it up), it really changes how you view American life/society/etc.. It's actually amazingly depressing, because it proves that everything, right dow to our very core, is money-driven rather than neutral/balanced or even improvement-driven.

      Captcha: remorse.

  • I'm not sure he used the term "outlier" purposefully, but it is telling in our era of data-driven everything. We will always have middle-of-the-curve people if we live only by data-driven metrics. It will allow us to make safe decisions, but it sure seems to be a waste of human resources.

    • And for publicly-traded companies who answer to Wall Street, their primary concern is with hittin the analysts' magic quarterly numbers. So they can't take a chance on someone like Steve Jobs. He may represent the remote possibility of a big bonanza down the road but the manager may not be there to see it if he misses the next couple of quarterly "numbers".
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:13PM (#43327721) Journal
    Yes, there are a few documented cases of college drop outs making outstanding projects and products. It is just anecdotal evidence. It means nothing and it does not help you hire the next Steve Jobs. Millions of college drop outs have joined companies, thousands of them in tech companies just when they were budding out. Very few of them made the cut.

    If your plan for success is to find the next Steve Jobs and con him into a deal where he does the work and you get the profits, wake up and smell the coffee. It would be easier for you to become a Steve Jobs than to hire one.

  • A jerk in a suit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kwyj1b0 ( 2757125 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:16PM (#43327739)

    A jerk in a suit, especially with an 'old-boys' network, however, would get hired instantly

    Nothing for/against Jobs per se (I didn't know him), but it seems like the jerk part doesn't seem to be a problem with many managers and top level executives. A jerk who would drive employees to the brink of exhaustion would be welcome.

    And to be fair the manager/executive is not hired to improve moral - short term gains outweigh employee happiness nowadays. It is easier to motivate employees to work hard by being a scary control freak, than by being a kind and caring person who looks out for you. Especially when times are tough and it isn't easy to get a job. And this mentality filters down - if my boss's boss screams at him, he vents at me.

    The problem is cultural. 2 weeks of vacation is the norm in certain parts of the world - money is seen by many (especially the younger crowd) to be the deciding factor in taking any job. A consumerist mentality only compounds the problem.

  • now days college credentials are a joke and the old college system has become to much of on one size fit's all as well to many people are going to it.

    Now days there is to much theory and way to much filler and full classes. also lot's of BS required classes jobs dropped out due to the required classes and took classes as a drop in.

    required classes like PE should not be the college price level or time frame.

    • Spoken like somebody who never went to college and is bitter because of it.

      The theory is why people go to college rather than to a vocational school. And those "BS required classes Jobs dropped out of" are breadth requirements so that you don't wind up incapable of learning a new field later on. What's more, they help give students some perspective on what they're doing. If anything there aren't enough of them required.

      The real problem is that we have people being encouraged to go to college that don't need

  • Only issue is 90% of what is out there are contract/temp jobs. Pretty much slavery with no benefits. Then again you do get paid more than normal workers, and it can be a foot into the door for full time employment with benefits.
  • Is the same as groupthink. You need naysayers.

    • You misunderstand his point. He is talking about people who are too risk-averse to allow their employees to try anything too radical or creative. Not that he is saying to weed out anyone but yes-men.

  • Atari is only the second company I know of that offers a sabbatical after 7 years, the first being Intel.

  • Was it Bushnell or someone else who essentially forced the creation of Activision by being a douche? The way I heard it (or remember that I heard it) is that Atari wouldn't give a cut of sales, wouldn't promote the identity of programmers, etc. So a few guys from Atari left and formed Activision (sad me. I used to know their names without looking up in wikipedia). So did this happen while Bushnell was at the helm or after they were sold to WB?

  • by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @09:58PM (#43327949)

    An interview question at Atari, from TFA: "What is the order of these numbers: 8, 5, 4, 9, 1, 7, 6, 3, 2?"

    Any idea, anyone?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @10:03PM (#43327965)

      The first 9 numbers, listed in alphabetical order.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The first 9 numbers, listed in alphabetical order.

        This question, if used nowadays, may risk you getting sued for discriminating against non-native English speakers.

        Non-native English speakers will NOT mentally translate the Arabic numerals to English at all, thus they would be disadvantaged.

        You may understand this more clearly if you imagine a Chinese company give you a similar interview question, but ordered by each number's stroke count as written in Chinese. Or a Japanese company using their phonetic order, or similarly with any other language.

        Being a

    • by slew ( 2918 )

      On a similar note, they should have in another question asked "What are the order of these numbers: 8, 6, 7, 5, 3, 0, 9?"
      I'm thinking you might be able to learn something about their answer to this question as well...

  • Yup. This. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @10:28PM (#43328047) Homepage

    I've written multiple books, done award-winning work, and have sterling recommendations/references from people that can say all kinds of fabulous stuff about me. But all of my best work in life has been done in the contracting/consulting space, where I was basically a lone wolf.

    Virtually every time a company has hired me, they have immediately put me in a box.

    Step 1: Refuse to allow him to use his own tech tools/toolchains crafted over years and with which he is fabulous and familiar.

    Step 2: Make sure that there's no allowance for him to do intense/creative work on his own daytime schedule; meetings are mandatory and if that means that the only time left for actual work is during hours when his brain isn't at its best, oh well.

    Step 3: Lock him into a narrow chain of hierarchy/command so that he can't ever talk directly to the role players that he needs in order to directly get things done; instead, ensure that he's always stuck playing telephone through many organizational layers and that his immediate contact has an MBA and doesn't ever understand what he's saying.

    Step 4: Evaluate him immediately (always too early) and on a linear progress model with synthetic "benchmarks," whether or not any of this matches the natural trajectory of the task at hand or not, so that instead of doing great things in the best way, he's working to "hit benchmarks" in ways that often interfere with the actual work, either slowing it tremendously or significantly reducing the potential of the final outcome.

    Step 5: Take away any physical and psychological comfort and idiosyncrasy that enables him to act naturally and think clearly; dictate dress, office layout and organization, hours, speech and communications channels, venues, and characteristics, so that he's not even himself most of the time when he's working for you (you know, the self that did the great work that you want to have).

    Step 6: Toss assorted new tasks and underlings into his lap that have no relationship to what he was actually hired to do and/or his actual area of expertise, ensuring that he'll spend more and more time doing stuff for which he is not the optimal laborer, again taking away from the work that you actually hired him to do.

    Step 7: Undervalue or refuse to value at all any research work, preliminary design/development work, or anything that isn't clearly "making product" and "hitting benchmarks" and be sure to stop by the desk every ten minutes and remind him that he wasn't hired "to do that" but instead to "produce."

    Under conditions of "employment" this has happened to me so many times that I hesitate to accept "employment" now and prefer to consult instead. I'm tired of seeing excitement turn into bewilderment of the "He came so highly recommended!" sort after just about every last thing that makes the best work that I've done possible (the work that they wanted to see done again, on their time) was methodically written out of my work life.

    Too many MBAs and HR drones out there in the corporate world that are really only comfortable seeing other MBAs and HR drones buzzing about the office, wondering why nobody outside of management and HR seems to be "getting anything done."

    • Re:Yup. This. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 31, 2013 @10:37PM (#43328067)

      I other words, the "team" member shouldn't be part of a team, or use tools and methods that others in the organization are familiar with, or even show up to work when the rest of the "team" needs him to be there.

      In other words, I'm going to bitch and complain and end up doing dead-end contract work because under normal circumstances I wouldn't be able to hold a job for longer than 6 months anyway.

      Yes, we real professionals know your type. You're the entitled, self-righteous college kid who thinks he deserves a corner office and a company Porsche on his first day of work, and a pat on the back and a promotion every time he accomplishes even a meager task. But, in reality, that you think you need to work at a specific time of day and under your own terms to be creative is not a demonstration of your genius, but rather of your mediocrity.

      The company situation you describe does not exist outside of Hollywood and the Dilbert strip. That's how I know your post is complete and utter whining bullshit.

      • than many at the corporations with whom I work imagine to be fair.

        I lose the stability and benefits that come with employment—but I gain productivity, the satisfaction of a job well done, and control over my own work life.

        Call it whatever you want. But two of my current relationships have asked to put me on the books, with a raise, benefits, a great title, and a nice office. I've told them no in both cases—much to the surprise of one CEO. Instead, I continue to teach at the local university and

  • Wrong assumptions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khchung ( 462899 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @10:51PM (#43328127) Journal

    Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent

    Bushnell is convinced that there are all sorts of creative and unconventional people out there working at companies today. The problem is that corporate managers don't recognize them. Or when they do, they push them to conform rather than create.

    The underlying assumptions are WRONG. Most companies are NOT interested in finding any creative talent, nor are they interested in any unconventional people.

    In my experience, most companies just want cheaper worker who do not make waves and will just bend down and work. Their managers like to TALK ABOUT finding talent, or finding creative/unconventional people, mainly because it is what their stockholders expect to hear, and partly to make it sound like they are working hard, and also partly to make their cheap workers think that their managers actually care when they work hard.

    The fact is, most companies managers just want to keep the status quo and rake in their bonuses. Any creative or unconventional worker is threat to their status quo, and that's why even if those people were hired, they would be pushed to "conform rather than create".

    ACTION speak louder than words. See what companies really DO, rather than what they TALK about, to infer what they really want.

    If you are the next Steve, go ahead and start your own company, no existing company will want you.

  • . The basics: Make work fun; weed out the naysayers; celebrate failure, and then learn from it; allow employees to take short naps during the day; and don't shy away from hiring talented people just because they look sloppy or lack college credentials. Bushnell is convinced that there are all sorts of creative and unconventional people out there working at companies today. The problem is that corporate managers don't recognize them. Or when they do, they push them to conform rather than create.

    All good advice that MIGHT work. Or might backfire tremendously. It is the same mentality - no one got fired for choosing IBM/Microsoft/Google.

    If you actually try to apply this principle, I believe it will lead to a loss in productivity in general. Outliers are just that - outliers. Listing a few big-names and saying that these guys made it despite their lack of credentials/oddness shouldn't cloud the fact that for a majority of people with lack of credentials is because they are not competent. That is li

  • Mr. Jobs seems to be more present now than when he was alive.

    Is it at all possible that the technical community allows him to rest in peace instead of trying to exploit his name for page hits and SEO?

  • by joelsherrill ( 132624 ) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @11:48PM (#43328313) Homepage

    Isn't productivity from a dead guy zero. Why would anyone hire a dead guy?

    All I can think of is a new movie called Weekend at Steve's.

  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Monday April 01, 2013 @07:44AM (#43329503) Journal

    Speaking as the owner of a decently-sized company, and a responsible adult, I can say with certainty that work is not supposed to be a frat party, and throwing lunchtime keggers for your employees does not make them more creative or more dedicated workers.

    Yes, it's important to provide a comfortable working atmosphere for your employees, and to be flexible to the needs of your employees should they have life circumstances they need to deal with. But, a completely slack environment void of rules and expectations only leads to organizational chaos.

    Back when I used to do "conventional" hiring, I interviewed a lot of "Steve Jobs" types - the arrogant, entitled, indignant type that was more concerned about the frat party and with there being no rules or structure than with the diligent exchange of productivity for compensation. More often than not these would be people who had high expectations of my company, but expected me to have low expectations of them. I was just to take what they were willing to give me and be happy about it.

    Those kinds of people, the ones who are in it for "what can you do for me today?" are absolutely toxic to an organization in my experience. I'd much rather hire the altruistic "what can I do to help my teammates succeed?" type.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday April 01, 2013 @09:10AM (#43330061) Journal

    I love how all the (high rated) posts here are about companies 'thinking outside the box' and 'needing to recognize talent' etc.

    The fact is, the title could just as well have been "Steve Jobs' success was extraordinary; complete assholes STILL generally not preferred as employees, coworkers, or bosses."

    Let's be honest, yes, Steve Jobs' success was extraordinary - whether that's a combination of talent or luck, is your call. But he was an asshole, and 99.9% of the time, assholes really aren't great to work with or for. HE wasn't great to work for, he was still a dick, it's just that he was successful.

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