Nolan Bushnell: "My projects: a platform to complete high school in 6 months and one for crypto betting"

Nolan Bushnell: My projects: a platform to complete high school in 6 months and one for crypto betting

Nolan Bushnell

He is almost 80 years old, but he has never stopped innovating. He founded Atari, created video games by inventing Pong, and has continued to churn out new ideas and open startups ever since. Nolan Bushnell, guest of honor at Lucca Comics & Games, is considered one of the 50 men who changed America. And he's not going to retire.

“I have two main projects. One is called It is a blockchain platform with crypto token for smart contracts. The goal is to create a way in which everyone can compete in virtual betting, "says Nolan Bushnell, then moving on to a concrete example. “Suppose I say: I can beat you in Fortnite. Let it bet? If the bet is accepted, a temporary wallet is created via Moxy, the scores are recorded, and as soon as the game ends the smart contract is executed and the crypto tokens are transferred from the temporary wallet to the winner's one. We will launch it at the end of the month ".

The second project is completely different, and much more ambitious:" I have prepared a gamified educational platform called ExoDexa. We want to provide an education comparable to that of high school in just six months, and with a better retention rate. Today the platform is only available in English, but in 2024 it will be in Italian ".

Nolan Bushnell at Lucca Comics & Games 2022

The democratization of video games

Bushnell has then shared his recipe for becoming a millionaire - or at least living life to the full. “The wonderful thing about today's video games - comments Bushnell - is the democratization of development tools. You don't need to study Unity at university. It can be done on the web. It's free. Anyone could learn the basics in one month, become good in three months by studying part-time. Then you look for an idea, make a game, publish it on Steam, and earn a million dollars. The only thing that stops you is starting ".

This is Bushnell's main advice to the Lucca Comics & Games audience: "The important thing is to start. At first you will suck. But when you introduce yourself to the world, the world responds to you, and you have to listen. If the first game isn't good, the audience will tell you why. So next time you will play a better game. Do, listen, repeat, listen again. And you will soon find a niche where people are willing to pay for what you do. At first enough to afford just one beer. It's a small profit margin, but it's a step. Then two beers. And then ... well, not too many beers, it's not good, but you get the concept. ”

According to Bushnell, even 8-9 year olds can program a video game today. He has seen some, and they were beautiful too. Are we entering the golden age of video games? "Maybe yes - replies Bushnell - if I think that all generations can develop video games today, one thing is certain: the future looks great to me".

A history of mistakes and successes

"When I founded Atari we didn't have money, we didn't have a factory, we didn't have any marketing skills. We only had one tool: innovation. But I was convinced that if we kept innovating enough, we could build a factory. , learn marketing, solve all the other problems ". Thus Bushnell recounts the lessons learned in the 50 years of Atari.

" Atari has done two right things - explains the entrepreneur - has focused on innovation, and gave importance to results, not processes. All employees were treated like adults. There were no time stamps to stamp, we didn't care when - or if - they came to the office: all they had to do was create what we asked for them. It's difficult: a manager - or the president, which was me - has to develop the goals so that they are not too difficult, nor too difficult. But if you succeed, magical things happen. "

But there is a specific point for which Bushnell asks for the public's gratitude:" When Atari started, the engineers came to work in white shirt, jacket and tie. I made sure that engineers could come to work dressed like shit. And you should all thank me for that! ”

What about mistakes? “Sure, I'd rather not do it. But I don't let them stop me. I turned down a third of Apple that I could have had for $ 50,000. Steve Jobs came to me wondering if I wanted to be his third investor. And I said no. Do you know what a third of Apple would be worth today? Not me. Or maybe yes, but I try not to think about it. ”

We cannot avoid aging. But you can avoid becoming more stupid

How does Bushnell manage to be so multifaceted? Simple: every year he carries out a part-time project outside his comfort zone. “You can't help getting old. But you can avoid becoming more stupid. How? By training our mind to do something that is not for us ”. Bushnell's method is eccentric and brilliant, as befits the character: “I don't choose projects, because I would end up cheating. I draw them by lot by putting cards in a hat. Five years ago this came out: write a book. Now, I am an engineer. I don't know how to write. I don't know spelling. My grammar sucks. But I had to do it. So I started. I like science fiction, so I started from there. I had a manuscript, I thought it was good enough, I went to the publisher and he said: no, your first book must be a business ".

Bushnell complied, and the result is" Who will be next Steve Jobs? ”, A fairly successful book also published in Italy by Hoepli.

The lesson that Bushnell wants to leave to the Italian public gathered at Lucca Comics & Games is this:“ Do strange things. And you may find that your brain is better suited to do just those. And more than that, life is an adventure. Live it fully ”.

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