I don't know how many people check this site but if there are some views I
will post some stories about when I worked at Atari in the very early days.
Here's how I got hired.
In 1973 I found an ad in the San Jose Mercury News want ad section for a
production job at Atari. I didn't know what they did but the ad mentioned
soldering and wiring and I had electronics training in the Navy.
I went to the factory in Los Gatos and got an interview right away. The lady
doing the interview said that before we got too far along she wanted to show
me the production floor to see if I could work in that environment. On the way
I saw my first Pong game in the hallway. It had just gone out of production.
As we toured the plant I could see why some people might not feel comfortable
working here. At the time I was 30 and most of the workers were much younger
than me and many were dressed like hippies. They were making "Gotcha". At
one end of the production floor there was a large sign that read "SUB ASS" short
for sub assembly. On the other end there was a moving assembly line for final
assembly. It all looked exciting to me.
Back in her office she asked me a lot of questions and at one point said "I
think I'm going to have you talk to our VP of engineering, Al Alcorn".
His office was down at the far end of the building right outside the engineering
lab. He was an imposing figure who I instantly realized was very sure of himself
and very into his job.
He saw on my resume that I had worked at a small start up company, there was a
lot of them in those days, so he was very proud to tell me how he was Atari's
first engineer when it was just a start up. We had something in common.
We talked start ups for a while and then he drew some circuits on his black
board, yes it was a black board not a white board. I stumbled my way through
that, he showed me around the lab and offered me a job. I started the next
If there is much interest I will post more.