Great Leadership With Jacob Morgan

Nolan Bushnell is a technology pioneer, entrepreneur and engineer. Often cited as the father of the video game industry, he is best known as the founder of Atari Corporation and Chuck E. Cheese. Currently, he is Co-Founder/Chairman at Modal VR, HearGlass Inc. and Brainrush, where he is devoting his talents to enhancing and improving the educational process by integrating the latest in brain science. 

Atari was started in September 1970. Everything about it was hard. This was before the microprocessor was invented. It was a ‘paranoid’ company; it always felt like others were at their back. Mostly, there was a sense of urgency to get things to market within the shortest time possible.  

It was also a very innovative culture. Perhaps the first to have a beer tap in the office! The ‘beer light’ was lit every night at 6 pm – people were encouraged to come in and share their problems and also their ideas. This informal communication style was purposeful; there were no executive parking spots. This egalitarian company had flexible hours and an open vacation policy. The emphasis was making sure the job was done, rather than where and when it was done. 

Bushnell says that they tried to have a flat organizational style. The best management was by cheerleading rather than assigned tasks. Leaders would make sure the desired outcomes were clear but it allowed for each employee to become passionate about the job they wanted rather than the one they were assigned.  

One of his techniques was having a plan he called ‘rotating to excellence’. This required that someone was fired every month. He acknowledges that this is difficult but if you fire the ‘worst employee’ every month, eventually you will end up with a stellar company.  

Nolan mentioned that he regrets having exited from Atari when he did – believing that there were a lot of things that he could have accomplished, that fell by the wayside after he left.  

What you will learn in this episode: 

  • How less than $1000 launched the video game industry 
  • Why the ‘Pong’ ball was square instead of round 
  • Why Nolan will never ‘retire’ 
  • What it was like to work with Steve Jobs 
  • How the Tiki room at Disney helped create Chuck E. Cheese 
  • Nolan’s view of the world of technology and how things are changing 
  • Why it is important to read science fiction 
Direct download: Nolan20Bushnell20DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 9:56pm PDT

Georgia Collins is the Senior Managing Director and Co-Leader of the Workplace Strategy Practice at CBRE. CBRE is a Global commercial real estate company that ‘helps clients identify opportunities to reduce and/or reallocate their costs, more effectively manage their resources, improve employee engagement and make decisions faster’.  With specific responsibility for research and development, Collins’ focus is on enhancing and expanding their service offerings so that clients can better understand, and more effectively deliver, environments and services that improve employee effectiveness and act as competitive differentiators in the war for talent.

Collins has more than 15 years of experience in the field of workplace consulting. A recognized leader in the industry, Collins’ project experience spans a wide range of markets and industries.

Prior to joining CBRE, Collins led strategic business consultancy DEGW’s North American practice where she led significant engagements for companies like Autodesk, Cisco, eBay and Microsoft. Prior to DEGW, Collins worked as an urban planner for Sasaki Associates.

Change management considers how to create workplaces that inspire and allow people to work at their best. When opening a new office, CBRE uses 80% of standard resources – market stand-up desks, for example. The other 20% are designed to be specific to that particular office. The time spent defining what makes each location special is an important part of the change. So offices in Hawaii look and function differently than those in Chicago.

Three steps in the process to successful design is thought of as a pyramid, with the base as the foundation, the middle, relational and finally the top of the pyramid is transformational. Specifically,

  1. Foundational – what are the things that people need to do their job? (i.e., fast internet or parking)
  2. Relational – how do you enable people to build their internal networks? (collaboration areas, break rooms, etc.)
  3. Transformational or differentiating – what makes this particular organization special?

Collins’ advice for corporations is threefold. First, consider how to strip out the friction in work. Second, think about how to elevate the work experience. And third, intentionally don’t ‘plan’ everything

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What Workplace360 is
  • Why CBRE decided to make some changes and how they figured out what changes to make
  • How to get people that are reluctant to embrace change to come along
  • What is ‘life admin’ or ‘work admin’ and how it might work for your office
  • Personalization in an open office – is it possible or necessary?


Direct download: Georgia20Collins20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 8:29am PDT

John Hass is the Chairman, President and CEO of Rosetta Stone, a language and literacy company with around 1,000 employees in the U.S. and around the world. Prior to Rosetta Stone, Hass spent two decades at Goldman Sachs both in New York and in Chicago. He was in the advisory part of the company working with Fortune 500 companies around the world on strategic initiatives. 

Learning another language has a lot of benefits, whether you are taking a language class in school as a 4th grader or whether you are learning some key phrases in another language for business purposes as a 40 year old. Some of the impacts that go beyond just learning another language, are creating a cultural awareness, inspiring empathy and rewiring your brain to make it easier for you to learn in general.

Hass says learning another language is, “a demonstration of a willingness to meet someone halfway, when you’re working with someone cross border, cross culturally, your willingness to speak their language, to be part of their environment, is always very well received in business, in culture, in travel and in most of what we do. It’s a very powerful, powerful tool, but it’s an incredibly rewarding tool as well.”

When asked about the changing nature of learning in general, Hass brought up a staggering statistic regarding newly graduating high school students. He said that according to the former United States Secretary of Commerce, students currently in high school will change jobs 10 to 16 times throughout their career. Because of that, learning has to adapt to prepare these students for the world of work they are entering. Education needs to prepare students to be flexible, adaptable and it has to give them a broader set of skills.

Hass is a huge believer in perpetual learning. He understands the importance of lifelong learning and says, “you have to love to learn, you have to be willing to learn. Your learning can’t end when you graduate with whatever final degree you have. You have to continue to learn to be successful.”

Another important aspect about the future of learning is personalized learning. It is not good enough anymore to have one teacher standing in front of 30+ kids teaching them all the same material, at the same rate, and in the same format. Hass believes that AI and other technology will play a huge role in the future of personalized learning and allowing students to learn at their own pace and in a way that makes the most sense for their abilities.

Hass admits that he is not an expert in robots or automation, however when asked about his take on robots in the future of work, he says this really goes along with his beliefs about the future of learning. We have to broaden our skill-set and improve our flexibility. He sees robots and automation replacing jobs in industries he never would have expected in the past, and he believes we are only at the forefront of this move towards automation, so we need to be prepared. 

Hass’s advice for the audience, especially the younger people just about to enter the workforce, is to look for new ways to learn, love to learn and always continue to learn. Find great sources that allow you to continue learning throughout your professional career.


What you will learn in this episode:

  • What benefits come along with learning a new language
  • John’s take on the changing nature of learning
  • Who is responsible for learning? Individuals, Companies, or Schools?
  • What technology Rosetta Stone is using
  • A look into Rosetta Stone’s corporate culture
  • What does personalized learning look like
  • John’s view on robots and automation in the future of work
Direct download: Arthur20John20Hass20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:36am PDT

Dr. Alissa Johnson, aka Dr. Jay,  is the Chief Information Security Officer for Xerox Corporation.  She is also the former Deputy Chief Information Officer of the Executive Office of the President. Dr. Jay is an IT strategist and visionary with experience in government and private industry.

As the world goes to a paper-less society, Xerox Corporation is focusing on companies’ document workflow. They work to ensure that all of these assets are protected, crossing many boundaries. Dr. Jay’s department looks at both the offensive and defensive aspects of cyber security in order to anticipate all of the things that ‘might happen tomorrow and five years from now’.  She describes how organizations get billions of attempts of hacking a month.

Due to the constant onslaught of potential hacking, it has required companies to collaborate and share information to work to offset the threats.  The hackers are automated so this has required companies to think along the same lines. Her advice is to ‘protect the crown jewels’ – the critical information in an organization, for example intellectual property and passwords.

Security Tips for Individuals:

  1. Change your password
  2. Have multiple bank accounts – put an amount in each account – that way if it is stolen you will have some money in other accounts. It is important to diversify - don’t have all your eggs ($$) in one basket!
  3. Don’t be afraid of technology, but be smart. You can’t go all in with everything – for example, mixing work friends with high school friends on Facebook or LinkedIn.
  4. Be mindful of everything that is connected. You have to know what is connected

Security Tips for Organizations:

  1. Set where you want to be in your ‘risk appetite’. Consider that the threshold is something that can be reevaluated each year but maintain during that time period.
  2. CISOs can’t hinder innovation – perhaps the answer is … ‘Yes, and …’
  3. Remember the basics – password updating, etc.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What the future of privacy and security will look like
  • The difference between privacy and security
  • The risks of automation
  • New possible hacking techniques
  • Suggested book to read: The Cuckoo’s Egg. The introduction of cyber security.
  • The future of virtual reality in education
  • The trade-off - use of smart homes and loss of privacy
  • What technology Dr. Jay is paying attention to…and what is ‘overrated’
Direct download: Dr20J20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 1:50am PDT

Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing "seth" into Google) is one of the most popular in the world.  His newest book, What To Do When It's Your Turn, is a bestseller.

Godin says that it is important to define work. People have been brainwashed to think that work is something where we need to ‘do what we are told’ – that it is all about compliance.

People that go out on their own – freelancers - fall into two camps. The first are those that are ‘workers without a boss’.  They do fine work when they have a client that acts like their boss and then they get freaked out when they can’t get another gig. This is because they are compliant and loathe taking a stand on something at the same time they are compliant.

The second group of freelancers are those that often fall into the trap of thinking they need to invent something original, be the first to do something. When in reality, no one asked them to do something original; instead they need to do something worthy, which creates value.

Often, people are hiding in their jobs –without realizing it. There is a cushion of comfort at their job. The company will take care of you if you become ill, there is a sales department that will sell for you and so on. However, this can keep employees from their end purpose, interacting with their customers and really understanding everything that goes on in the workplace.

How should we be preparing for the future of work?

  1. Learn how to be generously persistent as you fail. Try something new, fail, get back up and try again. Once you’ve mastered that – start something else new, fail, try again …until you are comfortable of the concept of launching something new.
  2. Work on understanding symbolic logic, how ideas work and the validity of an argument from a scientific point of view. This will enable you to be an informed consumer of information and form your own opinions - the opposite of dogma and compliance.

Godin’s advice for employees is: regardless of the past you ‘get the chance to do the future over again’.

His advice for manager is that a manager and a leader are different things. A manager gets you to do the same thing you did yesterday but faster and cheaper.

Leaders are people who take a team and figure out how to solve a problem even though they don’t know how to do it. If you are manager, figure out how to be a leader, if you are a leader figure out how to shine a light on problems.

Things you will learn:

  • How to hire people that you really need
  • Putting your ‘sucky’ job in perspective
  • The reality of AI in the past, present and future
  • What makes Godin successful at what he does and why he left full time work
  • How to be a perpetual doer
Direct download: Seth20Godin20Podcast_DONE.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 10:19pm PDT