Nolan Bushnell and Dr. Leah Hanes on ExoDexa and Shaping the Future of Education

In this episode, we discuss innovations with the exciting potential to shape an all-new future of education. 
My guests are Nolan Bushnell — the “father of electronic gaming” who has founded 20+ companies, including Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s — and Dr. Leah Hanes, CEO of the Two Bit Circus Foundation.
Nolan and Leah are currently working together on the gamified education company ExoDexa and have co-authored the book Shaping the Future of Education: The ExoDexa Manifesto, an Amazon best seller. 
Topics we cover:
  • How Nolan got interested in tackling education
  • Steve Jobs: “What if you’re in a room and everybody thinks you’re wrong, but you think you’re right and you’ve thought more deeply about it than anybody?”
  • The biggest solvable problems Leah and Nolan are focusing on
  • The vision and goals of the school of the future
  • What it really means to be designed around students first
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and why we should embrace it
  • Entrepreneurship in the classroom
  • “Competing” with video games vs. leaning into their organic ability to support learning
  • Challenges and opportunities of using video games in the classroom
  • “Games should be easy to learn but difficult to master.” Are schools focusing on mastery?
  • What are the critics saying?
  • The St. Crispin’s Day Speech and the “band of brothers”
Shaping the Future of Education is available on Amazon. Learn more at
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About today’s guests
In 1972, Nolan Bushnell created an industry when he founded Atari and gave the world Pong, the first blockbuster video game. Today his design credo―that games should be “easy to learn and difficult to master”―is inspiring a new generation of developers. A prolific entrepreneur, Bushnell has started more than 20 companies, including Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater; Catalyst Technologies, the first Silicon Valley incubator; and Etak, the first in-car navigation system. Bushnell was the first and only person ever to hire Steve Jobs, which he details in his 2013 book, Finding the Next Steve Jobs.
He is chairman of ExoDexa, a gamified education company; CKO of Moxy, a “play to earn” game and token platform; and an advisor to companies in the gaming and eSports spaces. He was named one of “50 People Who Changed America” by Newsweek. A biopic about Bushnell, tentatively titled “Atari,” was acquired by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company and is in pre-production.
Leah Hanes, PhD, is CEO of the Two Bit Circus Foundation (2BCF). During her tenure, 2BCF has developed a strong voice in the current STEAM education discourse. Bringing potent creative play allies like, STEAM Carnival,, and LA Makerspace under the 2BCF big top helped increase both reach and impact in education.
Prior to joining 2BCF, Dr. Hanes held a variety of positions focused on children and education. Most recently, she taught courses on adult developmental theory and ethics at Antioch University Los Angeles. Her PhD included a study of ethical decision-making and gender at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change. 
About the host
Ross Romano is a co-founder of the Be Podcast Network and CEO of September Strategies, a coaching and consulting firm that helps organizations and high-performing leaders in the K-12 education industry communicate their vision and make strategic decisions that lead to long-term success. Connect on Twitter @RossBRomano or LinkedIn.
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Creators and Guests

Ross Romano
Ross Romano
Co-founder of Be Podcast Network and CEO of September Strategies. Strategist, consultant, and performance coach.
Dr. Leah Hanes
Dr. Leah Hanes
CEO Two Bit Circus Foundation Board Member Lernip
Nolan K Bushnell
Nolan K Bushnell
Serial Entrepreneur/Founded: Atari, Chuck E. Cheese, Etak, ExoDexa. Books “Finding the Next Steve Jobs” "Shaping the Future of Education" CKO @moxyio
Nolan Bushnell and Dr. Leah Hanes on ExoDexa and Shaping the Future of Education