I've always thought legal addictions are a great way to create a business. Starbucks is a wonderful example.
Today, companies have to radically revolutionize themselves every few years just to stay relevant. That's because technology and the Internet have transformed the business landscape forever. The fast-paced digital age has accelerated the need for companies to become agile.
'Grand Theft Auto', in its deification of antisocial behavior, is where I heap the most of my scorn.
I founded Atari in my garage in Santa Clara while at Stanford. When I was in school, I took a lot of business classes. I was really fascinated by economics. You end up having to be a marketeer, finance maven and a little bit of a technologist in order to get a business going.
Atari showed that young people could start big companies. Without that example it would have been harder for Jobs and Bill Gates, and people who came after them, to do what they did.
When I was running Atari, violence against humanoid figures was not allowed. We'd let you shoot at a tank... but we drew the line at shooting at people, with blood splattering everywhere.
Some of the best projects to ever come out of Atari or Chuck E. Cheese's were from high school dropouts, college dropouts. One guy had been in jail.
I had an awful lot of my soul invested in Atari culture.
Everybody copied Atari products. So we started messing with them and it was fun. We bought enough chips that we could get them mislabeled. So we bankrupted at least two companies which copied our boards, and bought all the parts but they were the wrong parts, so they're sitting on all this inventory they can't sell because the games don't work.
Selling Atari when I did - I think that's my biggest regret. And I probably should have gotten back heavily into the games business in the late Eighties. But I was operating under this theory at the time that the way to have an interesting life was to reinvent yourself every five or six years.
We had some really powerful technology - Atari always was a technology-driven company, and we were very keen on keeping the technological edge on everything. There's a whole bunch of things that we innovated. We made the first computer that did stamps or sprites, we did screen-mapping for the very first time, and a lot of stuff like that.
In 1980, Atari was bringing in around two billion dollars in revenue and Chuck E. Cheese's some five hundred million. I still didn't feel too bad that I had turned down a one-third ownership of Apple - although I was beginning to think it might turn out to be a mistake.
Learning ballroom dancing is great for your brain. But it only works for three to six months. After that, you've got all the benefit you can get, and so you have to move on to yoga, and then Tai Chi, and then bridge, always keeping on the steep part of the learning curve.
You wanna build your IQ higher in the next two years? Be uncomfortable. That means, learn something where you have a beginner's mind.
The big problem that UWink had was we were essentially building tablets because they hadn't been invented yet. That drove up the cost a lot.
I always loved both 'Breakout' and 'Asteroids' - I thought they were really good games. There was another game called 'Tempest' that I thought was really cool, and it represented a really hard technology. It's probably one of the only colour-vector screens that was used in the computer graphics field at that time.
One of the big concerns I have is that most of the HR departments in a lot of companies are hiring away from creativity and they don't know it. For instance, they are requiring everybody to have a college degree. The most creative people I know couldn't deal with college.
A lot of what is wrong with corporate America has to do with a culture filled with antibodies trained to expel anything different. HR departments often want cookie cutter employees, which inevitably results in cookie cutter solutions.
I believe there are Steve Jobses all around us. Really, what is happening is that they're being edited out of importance.
I've been in navigation systems, robotics, restaurants, communications systems, touch screens, and now I'm back in games. I like to say I have five-year A.D.D.