How Atari got started
It all started in the year 1972, when bunch of IT professionals, dumped their 9-5 jobs to start the concept of video gaming. The founding father was a 20 yr old guy named Nolan Bushnell (Founder of Atari), who just started with a $500 in capital.
He started a small company and named it GO, & then later renamed it after a Japanese word ATARI. He came to be friends with an engineer called Al Alco and convinced him to join his business. Nolan paid Al $1000 and some stock options and they started working upon the video game Atari, at the time when the Vietnam War was yet on.
They made the first machine pong in 1972. It consisted of a TV set, with two small controls (small joysticks) attached to cardboard. Just for trial sake, they placed it in a small bar. Before that, no one had seen anything like this, and bars were just famous for their traditional pinball machines. It was something out of the box. In addition, they also came out with an innovative concept of attaching a small coin-box, in which you place a quarter to start the game. It was an instant success.
This was the birth of the famous company called, Atari at Santa Clara, CA. Initially the first factory of Atari was a small skating ring, which they took on rent. They initially took a target of manufacturing 100 units a day, which even seemed big to accomplish for them.
Over the few weeks Atari became a huge success and they received a mind bungling order of 10,000 units. At that time they were working on a cheap single chip and sold the home version of Atari video game at under $100. Nolan, with an initial investment of just $500 made his first million at the age of 24 years in the year 1974. Atari had become a huge success in the world. Now at that time, Nolan had the maturity to understand that competition was going to come at his doorstep sooner than later. For his company, to continue succeeding there were two things he required.
The first was to hire the best engineers at that time and retain. To do this he understood that he needed to build the culture at Atari as a fun place to work. Secondly, Nolan knew the value of ideas & welcomed ideas at any stage. In fact Nolan said that, the only currency with Atari was ideas. Good engineers & a free flow of ideas made it possible for Atari to be at the top of competition for a lot many years. Though later they faced a lot of legal problems buy yet stayed in the market. To a good extent you can say that Atari was fore-founder of the video gaming industry, we know today.