Friday, March 29, 2013

Even Nolan Bushnell sees it

Today's Silicon Valley Biz Journal has a story -- interview actually -- with Nolan Bushnell, where he calls on HP and Yahoo to "get creative".  Wow!  Good idea....

Bushnell, one of the whackier guys ever to come out of Silicon Valley, should know.  His Chuck'eCheese notion was about as far from HP culture as one could get, but then so was Pong.  Nolan was an indefatigable character, willing to go to third-grade classrooms and preach the gospel of doing what you believe in -- he did this once for my youngster in a small Portola Valley school.  I was impressed to say the least; Nolan has a heart of gold, I concluded that day.

But really, what do you do if you're Meg Whitman, or anyone on her board, or any of her exec team -- cheerlead, or get down and dirty with 'em, or set up prizes with contests?  This game of creativity is not a simple challenge, for a company the size and legacy of HP.  Not even at Yahoo, where presumably now the serendipity of standing together at the coffee pot can work (oops, that's an old metaphor).

Creativity, some aver, is a mindset -- unfettered, unconcerned with reality -- kind of the Steve Jobs reality distortion field idea, WHAT IF?  It takes belief that dreaming can matter, that incessant running in place is not always the best way, and incremental change, while great for the Japanese car companies, might not be the 'final answer'.   Walk Google's campus, or spend thirty minutes at Facebook -- the mood in the air is light, stimulating, exuberant (or at least it seemed so to me).

How do you command 'elan' and verve and unabashed enthusiasm?

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