Atari and its meteoric rise as a household name in the 70s might seem like ancient history, but for many young people of that era, Pong was the definition of video game. More than that seminal game, the work led by Nolan Bushnell gave birth to consumer electronics in Silicon Valley. As seen in the above video, without Atari Steve Jobs might not have been able to procure the parts that Steve Wozniak needed to make their first Apple Homebrew computers.
The above video recording of the IEEE’s Silicon Valley History Committee’s panel, Atari’s Impact on Silicon Valley: 1972-84, featured Atari executives who conceived of and brought a new industry to America’s living rooms. Beyond the technology, Atari represented a different kind of culture compared to mainstream corporations. Ultimately, it was the difference in culture that led to its demise. As Steven Mayer says so eloquently about its end, “It [management] had lost its passion and customer focus;” a good lesson for any company.
Special thanks to Brian Berg for the excellent job moderating the panel and filming by James Snyder.
[Note, to quickly scroll through the video segments, click on the drop down menu in the upper-left portion of the video player, or click the arrow key in the lower-left portion of the video player]