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00000174-b11b-ddc3-a1fc-bfdbb1d30001HearSA is an online audio archive of public programming intended to foster discussion and enhance awareness of informative local presentations and events. The archive includes lectures, panel discussions, book readings, and more. The opinions presented in these programs are those of the author or presenter, not Texas Public Radio or any of its stations, and are not necessarily endorsed by TPR.

Atari Founder Energizes Tech Bloc Crowd

Scott Ball
Nolan Bushnell speaks to Tech Bloc at Rackspace on Nov. 9, 2017.

Tech Bloc, San Antonio's technology advocacy organization. San Antonio-based tech company Rackspace played host to Tech Bloc's big annual rally Thursday, November 9.

"This has been labeled the night of the nerds, and as a fellow nerd I have to say ‘amen’ to that!” said Rackspace CEO Joe Eazor introducing the night.

Tech Bloc held the rally in order to celebrate the success of local tech companies such as Rackspace, and also to inspire San Antonio’s youth in their pursuit of careers in the field of technology. The event featured a special guest speaker, Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari.

Bushnell spoke to the packed house of around 300 San Antonio tech enthusiasts about his early years as a young college grad founding one of the world’s most successful gaming companies where he “gave Steve Jobs his first job.” He also created a chain of restaurants, Chuck E. Cheese’s, where he tested out his companies new gaming systems. Bushnell talked about his current work, which includes an ambitious idea for a “space elevator,” and his advocacy for improving the education system through a greater incorporation of technology. “Read science fiction and get ideas,” Bushnell implored the audience. “Use technology to figure out a way to fix anything that irritates you. We are here to make life as frictionless as possible.”  

Before Bushnell spoke, an opening panel called "Rackspace: The Startup That Changed San Antonio" featured Graham Weston, Dirk Elmendorf, and Lew Moorman recounting the story of the company's founding and growth. When talking about how San Antonio has contributed to Rackspace’s success, the founders said, “It got us out of Silicon Valley craziness. We were able to hunker down here and build a business.” They also praised the quality of the employees they were able to hire in San Antonio, “There’s a lot of talented people in this city. I’ll always be able to put the talent from our San Antonio office up against that of any other office.”

Credit Darren Abate
Graham Weston, Dirk Elmendorf, and Lew Moorman.