We've all been there. We've met someone with whom we instantly connect, and feel like kindred spirits. That's exactly what happened when I spoke to Nolan Bushnell yesterday. I feel like he is my new best friend forever.
This Is Big
Nolan Bushnell is a major score for our Convergence conference. We've had many of the major players in Silicon Valley, and Nolan is probably one of the two biggest ever. No radio conference ever gets this level of speaker. Ever. This is big.
Changing The World
You probably know there is a movie, Atari, being made about this brilliant man's life, and Leonardo DiCaprio is producing it and playing Nolan. I'm sure you know Nolan invented the multi-billion dollar gaming business when he started Atari, and he's the one who made all of our kids happy by founding Chuck E. Cheese. But there are literally hundreds of other things Nolan is associated with that you probably don't know about, including founding more than 20 companies and being named one of Newsweek's "50 Men Who Changed America."
Nolan has created many innovations in business culture that have become the norm, including unique business-planning sessions; flat, egalitarian management organizations; casual work attire; play/work environments; creativity as a competitive weapon; and the innovator’s bonus. All can be traced to their first uses at Atari and Chuck E. Cheese and were later instilled at Apple and other Silicon Valley corporations. (Steve Jobs had his first job at Atari.)
Loads Of Choices
I met Nolan yesterday for the first time by phone to discuss what I wanted him to talk about at Convergence for the opening keynote. He suggested lots of options, like:
- How to hire the next Steve Jobs
- How to foster and capitalize on innovation
- How to encourage and build a culture of intrapreneurship in companies, helping established entities stay on the cutting edge
- The key elements of a successful entrepreneur
- What are the trends in education now, and moving into the future? How will classrooms and learning be different in the years to come?
- The future: What tools have been used in the past to be on the cutting edge as technology becomes available and cost-effective? What are the trends that every company and discipline need to be aware of?
- Success and failure: While there have been many successes, there have been spectacular disappointments when businesses failed to launch.
- Fun: What is it about fun that makes products and companies successful?
Something Special For Radio
I told Nolan about the state of radio, the changes in the digital world impacting radio (he already knew), the reluctance to embrace game-changing technology, the lack of deep investment in innovation, and dozens of other things. Without skipping a beat, he said, "I know exactly what they need to hear. Is it OK if I'm a little controversial?" He said he would be touching on many of the subjects on his list, and some he usually saves for special audiences. I got the impression he believes he can help the industry change and evolve in ways that have never been discussed.
Not On Radio's Radar
Because I love great minds and love to talk about innovation, we discussed how Nolan is changing education and how children will learn. He talked about migration trends that will impact everyone -- and radio listening -- and he raised an issue that will not only change the world significantly, but will change how people use radio and impact time spent listening, by way of a new technology few people are even aware of. It was so eye-opening and logical, and it's not on anyone's radar. We must have talked for an hour and chased lots of subjects. I cannot wait to meet Nolan in person when he shows up for the opening keynote at Convergence.
I encouraged him to hang around for the day so everyone can get some one-on-one time with him, which he indicated he would do. Everyone in radio will be blown away by this major shift that is right around the corner. I hope you'll consider Convergence 12.I guarantee Nolan Bushnell will be worth making the trip. We are offering a group rate so you can bring the entire team at a very reasonable price, and learn and strategize together.
Why Should You Care About Convergence?
The biggest challenge for those running radio stations and companies is that you're so consumed with survival or the day-to-day activities of your job that it's hard to be focused on anything else, especially something you may believe is not going to be immediately productive. Many radio managers simply feel as though they cannot make money with digital, they don't have time to focus on the future, or they don't want to invest in something that is coming. I get that.
And the problem with that? We're not bringing you a bunch of futurists. We know of success stories. We know of serious money being made by radio companies in many different markets, formats, and environments. You may be so focused on existing that you're not looking at important opportunities. Worse, there is a major migration of the digital generation to control of media and business -- and they will not buy ads from ANYONE who can't offer deep digital components. (Websites, texting, banner ads are not what they're referring to.)
This reality is something we've talked about for years, and it's upon you now. Grab it, understand it, grasp it, and manage it, so you don't lose out. If you're a manager, a programmer, a sales manager, an owner, a digital director, or a corporate executive, you need to be at Convergence. It's the only conference focused exclusively on digital media revenues for radio, and it's been going on since 1999. Isn't it time you considered attending? If survival is on your mind, if career survival is important, whether or not your company sends you, you should attend. It's all about relevance in the media marketplace we live in today.
Go to www.radioinkconvergence2012.com to register for Convergence online, or call 561-655-8778.