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Keynote Speaker

Everyone agrees—the magic of CAST is found in the variety and quality of its outstanding workshops and featured sessions. STAT is thrilled to welcome Nolan Bushnell—technology pioneer, entrepreneur, scientist, and engineer—to CAST23, November 9–11 in Houston.

Nolan Bushnell

Keynote Session | Thursday, November 9 | 9:30 AM–10:45 AM

One of Newsweek’s “50 Men That Changed America,” Nolan Bushnell is the quintessential technology pioneer, entrepreneur, scientist, 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’s Pizza Time Theatre. Today his design credo—that games should be “easy to learn and difficult to master”—is inspiring a new generation of developers. Nolan was the first and only person to hire Steve Jobs (at Atari), which he details in his 2013 bestseller, Finding the Next Steve Jobs, published by Simon and Schuster.

Over the past 4 decades, it’s staggering what Nolan has created as a prolific entrepreneur, founding more than 20 companies, including Atari; Chuck E. Cheese; Catalyst Technologies—the first tech incubator in Silicon Valley; Etak—the first car navigation system whose mapping is still the basis for car navigation systems today; Androbot—a personal robotics company; ByVideo—the first online ordering system, which allowed customers to order and pay for product from kiosks; uWink—the first touchscreen ordering and entertainment system at restaurant tables; X2—a new game company focusing on powerful new tech for games for Microsoft’s Alexa; and Modal VR—an end-to-end virtual reality platform that delivers large-scale and fully wireless immersion for multiple users at once.

Today he oversees and/or sits on the boards of several companies that use artificial intelligence, virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality, as well as other advanced tech. In 2019, Nolan released his latest offering, a multimedia murder mystery game called St. Noire, made for Amazon’s Echo powered by Alexa. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, St. Noir won the “Best Innovation” award. He is currently working on a dozen more similar games, and they will soon become playable interactively online as well as in person.

In the process, he pioneered many of the workplace innovations that have made Silicon Valley a long-standing magnet for creative talent. Additionally, he has consulted for numerous corporations, including IBM, Cisco Systems, and USA Digital Communications. He has been featured by major media worldwide including Fast Company, Wired, HuffPost, CNET, The Guardian, and BBC, and as a guest on countless business news shows.

Nolan has won several awards around the world and has been featured in many documentaries about Silicon Valley and video games, including recently in CNN’s The Eighties, produced by Tom Hanks, and will soon be seen in 2019 in another major documentary called Game On on The History Channel about the video game industry. Nolan was even given a cameo in the 2013 film Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, a tip of the hat to Nolan for his role in hiring Steve Jobs for his first job ever at Atari. A biopic about Nolan, tentatively titled Atari, with Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company is also in the works.

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