When they make

Published by Lori Pickert on August 5, 2011 at 05:39 PM

When I hired engineers and people on the creative side, I never looked at their grades,” he said, referring to the teams he built at Atari and beyond. “I interviewed them strictly on their hobbies, and if they did not have a hobby in technology I wouldn’t hire them... Kids, when they make, are actually preparing themselves better for the jobs they’ll have in the future than [they are by] getting straight A’s. Nolan Bushnell, lifelong innovator — from Pong to Chuck E. Cheese’s (via youmightfindyourself)


Comment by patricia on August 5, 2011 at 06:48 PM

Yay! You blogged! I don't care if it's "sort of"!

Love this quote. It makes me think of one I gathered for a workshop I'm giving on kids and writing, from Thomas Newkirk, a writer and college English professor:

“The good writers I see in college have often developed their skill in self-sponsored writing projects like journals or epic, book-length adventure stories they wrote on their own.”

It's fun to be a (ahem) getting-older parent, and to watch your kids growing and developing, and to see how all that making and playing really can lead to real-life passions and enterprises.

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 5, 2011 at 09:26 PM

haha, thanks, patricia.

it seems obvious to me that the thing that is going to make a great writer is doing lots and lots of writing .. i love that phrase "self-sponsored". it's not shocking to me (or to you, i know) that work kids choose to do on their own would be a powerful way to develop skills.

Comment by Dawn Suzette on August 6, 2011 at 01:34 AM

Happy to "see" you again!

What a concept. Hire people based on their passions not their grades... This guy is off his rocker ;)

I am continually trying to keep up with the things my kids want to make. This quote is wonderful inspiration to continue to supply them with all I can to feed their passions.

Comment by Brynn on August 6, 2011 at 02:19 AM

Yea! Great to see a fresh entry from you in my reader! I've been spending lots of time combing your site...thinking, thinking, thinking about how to integrate project-based learning/emergent curriculum as part of our homeschooling journey. Finding myself inspired by the resource you have created here.

Now to move from thinking to doing. To start: my own project journal

Feeling oh so grateful for all you have shared.

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 6, 2011 at 01:18 PM

hi dawn — it's great to "see" you, too. ;^)

i think it's about hiring people based on what they've actually accomplished — and people tend to accomplish a lot with their passions!

we've just recently been helping along a young friend who is interested in computer programming as a career, and the feedback from professional programmers is overwhelmingly that education is important .. but some people don't have degrees and have tremendous success. this reminds me of the data re: kids who got *into* ivy league schools but didn't attend — they ended up making as much money as their ivy-going friends. it really all boils down to ability and skills.

testing to see what someone pursued in their free time seems like a great quick way to test whether they'll be passionate about it in the workforce.

also, every single person i've ever asked has readily agreed that they learned *much* more on the job than in the classroom — and hobbies/chosen work would seem to fit into that category of "on the job". we learn so much by "making" — by doing real work!

hi, brynn, and thank you! :)

let me know how your journal goes, and i'm so glad you are going to integrate project-based learning. keep me informed! and thank you again — i'm very glad it's been helpful. :)

Comment by se7en on August 6, 2011 at 08:01 PM

Oh blessed relief, I hope there are more folk like this around a couple of years from now... and I will leave my one boy dismantling every piece of electronic equipment in the house, constantly!!! And my other son building lego empires as far as the eye can see... I am kind of hoping there is a job at LEGO for that one... I could go on!!! Actually, to be quite honest passions are exactly that: things they are passionate about!!! And there is very little we can do to about it... they have to just do it, again and again and again... each slowly and steadily gathering up their ten thousand hours in their own specialty...

And thanks for the twitter welcome!!! After a slow start it is becoming my friend!!!

Comment by Sally on August 6, 2011 at 08:31 PM

Great post! Do it again soon. K?

Comment by Deirdre on August 7, 2011 at 01:30 AM

You know just seeing a post here makes me happy:)

Have you read any of Katrina Kenison? Just read this post of hers along the same line: http://www.katrinakenison.com/2010/03/31/spice-of-life/

I loved watching these boys at work/play and wondering how it will evolve:)

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 7, 2011 at 11:31 AM

hi se7en ;)

yes — the only thing i would add is — we can encourage them and support them! :)

sally, i shall try — that's my intent. :)

deirdre, thank you for the link! here's a similar one:


i can already look back and see the seeds of my boys' passions. i'm glad they had the chance to stay with them, and just as you say, i can't wait to see what they do with them in the future. :)

Comment by Florence on August 10, 2011 at 02:55 AM

Fantastic quote! Keep them coming! I'm so glad I found you again! A home to come to for inspiration!

It's funny to think about hobbies as a concept -- my son wouldn't understand the word because it implies a boundary that doesn't exist in his life right now.

I hope someday he will have work that feels the same way for him.

I hope, in fact, that I will have work that feels the same way for me before too long!

Comment by Elizabeth on August 10, 2011 at 03:47 AM

Welcome back Lori!

I realized this quote recently in my own life. Last summer I had to take a job (temporarily) to pay off those blasted student loans. Basically, I used my degree to pay off my degree. Anywho, I realized I wasn't "into" my job when I saw my co-worker reading magazines about our trade during lunch. I mean, I'd never do that. I want to take a break from my job when I clock out. So what do I read when I clock out? Homeschool blogs and magazines. Books on homesteading, sewing and works that inspire me to grow as a wife and mother. That's what inspires me...that's what I aim to be good at.

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 10, 2011 at 01:09 PM

florence, i'm glad we found each other again, wandering around the internet! :)

that is funny re: "hobbies" -- it makes sense in the context, though. deep interests, passions, self-chosen work ..

elizabeth, thank you. :)

there's "work" and then there's work .. self-chosen, meaningful work vs. "work" defined as something you do in exchange for money. combo? the holy grail! :)

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