“Are you ready? Ready for the playoffs?”*
…Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen is — in a big way. His “first love”*1, the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that he’s owned for the past 21 years, has made it into the Playoffs, and no one is more excited than the owner. One of the most devoted owners in the NBA, Paul Allen has always been his team’s biggest fan.
Allen attends a majority of the Blazers games, bought the team’s game stadium twice and weighs in enthusiastically on every decision, often splurging on players and expenses. He installed equipment aboard his ships that lets him watch Blazers games when he is away from home. And when Allen was asked to give the commencement speech to the graduating class at WSU in 1999, he graciously agreed, but gave it long distance via satellite uplink, speaking to Washington graduates from the Portland Rose Garden Arena so he wouldn’t miss a Playoff game.
So his Trail Blazers’ entry this year into yet another Playoffs series is a thrill—still a major thrill— to a guy who has had more than a few thrilling moments in his lifetime. Blazermania is back and no one is more caught up in the wave of excitement than the owner himself.
Current adventure, Trail Blazers. Past adventures? This guy’s had a few. Hopefully he’ll tell us more about all of them in his upcoming memoirs. http://www.businessinsider.com/paul-allens-newest-venture-a-memoir-2009-3 Don’t hold back, Paul—we want to know EVERYTHING !!!!! 🙂
In the meantime, here is a sampling of Paul Allen’s ideas about — Paul Allen, of course — from his statements to the press through the years. So, here you go….Part Three of Paul Allen: In His Own Words:
The projects you have funded so far cover a wide range of fields. What are the criteria you look for?
“I ask myself: What are the great questions in science, the knowledge that we are just scratching the surface of? The chance that we are going to pick up the phone and an alien is going to be on the other end is small, but it is certainly worth—on a modest scale, for me—seeing if we can enable some of that research. There are these greenfield areas like the human brain, systems biology, understanding how cells work internally, and how the proteins interact inside the cell. That’s an area I’m thinking about. Then there are the global issues we have today: global warming, the environment, and disease. I don’t know that I could make a difference in theoretical physics; that’s basically a bunch of mathematical and theoretical geniuses at different places. I’m not sure how anyone could make them work any faster than they are.” http://discovermagazine.com/2007/apr/the-discover-interview-paul-allen/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=
The Discover Interview, Evan Ratliff
On Advice to Young People
If you are starting any new venture, try to find people who share your
dreams with the same enthusiasm that you do and that can complement your
strengths and bolster your weaknesses. Start with small but achievable
dreams and under the right circumstances, these small dreams can lead to
bigger ones. Remember that you have all of the open-mindedness,
fearlessness and enthusiasm of youth. Believe in the possibility of success.
From Paul Allen’s WSU Speech to graduating class via satellite uplink from the Rose Garden Arena upon receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award—1999
Quote from the paulallen.com website (years ago):
“What is the best advice, business or otherwise, you’ve had and from whom?
The best advice I’ve received came many years ago from my father. He told me that you should love whatever work you do, you should try to find something you truly enjoy. And I’ve been lucky through the years that the work I’ve been involved with has been challenging and for the most part, fun.”
On Trying New Things:
You have to find and appreciate the joy and beauty of the world. And
many times that comes if you force yourself to try things that you
otherwise might be skeptical of beginning. In my case I discovered
scuba diving, but any kind of adventure that takes you totally out of
your normal life and into a different environment or meeting different
people can be very rewarding. Also, if you force yourself to be more
adventurous, the more ideas and different types of people you will meet
and the richer your life will become intellectually and otherwise…….
From Paul Allen’s WSU Speech to graduating class via satellite uplink from the Rose Garden Arena upon receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award–1999
On His Childhood in Seattle:
From “Paul Allen Unplugged” Dec. 2003 Columns UW Magazine
While many of our alumni know of your generous contributions to the University, most don’t know of the UW connections going back to your childhood. Your father Ken Allen began his career with the University libraries in 1951, two years before you were born, and was Associate Director of the libraries from 1960-1982. Did your Dad open the resources of the UW libraries to you when you were a child?
A. I spent many weekends in Suzzallo Library as I was growing up. I remember spending hours just combing through the stacks of musty books, including early books about computers. Books about science and aviation in particular were some of my favorites.
Did your family have season tickets to Husky games?
A. Yes, my father had season tickets for the Huskies for my whole childhood and I remember going to many Husky games with him. One of the reasons that I really wanted to have an open-air stadium for SeahawksStadium is that I have fond memories of wandering around Husky Stadium with my Dad, eating hot dogs and being able to watch the Huskies play outdoors in the elements—I think it’s one of the best parts about football!
Do you recall attending any open houses or science fairs at the UW that might have sparked your interest in computers?
I went to science fairs many times and had a lot of fun. More than anything it enhanced my love of science— and I carry that excitement with me today. I am particularly interested in how the brain works, and what we might be able to learn by looking at the role of the human genome in the function and anatomy of the brain.
On His Eclectic Interests
“Allen says his business success is partly a result of his wide range of interests, which he thinks allows him to see connections between disparate areas that others may miss. His credits his parents, who gave him an open-minded start, dragging Paul and his sister Jody to galleries, the opera, science museums, dance concerts and aviation exhibits. “Even as a kid, every year I was interested in something different,” Allen says, “whether it was chemistry or cards or physics or electronics or space travel or music.” (Over the Horizon with Paul Allen: Another Microsoft Billionaire Speaks. Fortune: 7/11/1994 by David Kirkpatrick.)
From The Discover Interview with Paul Allen (by Evan Ratliff ) http://discovermagazine.com/2007/apr/the-discover-interview-paul-allen
What do you think are the chances of SETI’s succeeding—in other words, of finding intelligent life beyond our world?
“The scientists are optimistic because they think that if they have better instruments that look deeper or on more frequencies, there should be civilizations out there broadcasting. I think everybody would admit it’s a long shot, but if that long shot comes in… wow.”
If they do get the signal, will you be the first person they call?
“Actually, first they call the White House. At one point they told me I was third or fourth on the list. So I guess that’s one of the benefits of funding the project. But the phone hasn’t rung yet.”
What would that kind of discovery mean to you?
“That would be such a life-changing thing, for us all to know that there are other beings out there who we could potentially communicate with, or maybe we are listening to a signal that they transmitted hundreds of millennia ago. And then we’d say, “Well, what was in the message? Can we decode the message, and can we communicate back? What are they really like? Are they oxygen-breathing bipeds, or are they a gas cloud on some gas-giant planet?”
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/emp/allen.shtml Gene Stout Seattle P-I
June 22, 2000 The Visionary: Jimi Hendrix set off a spark in Paul Allen’s Imagination (On Jimi Hendrix, music and the Experience Music Project Music Museum):
I think Jimi expressed in some of his interviews, and in his songs, the idea that music serves as a magic carpet that can take you to different places,” Allen says. “There’s a churchlike feeling there, and great music makes the spirit soar.” …..
“………..”It was really a challenge to come up with things that were hands-on, yet robust enough to stand up to thousands of people using them and still allow a level of instruction for someone who hasn’t had much experience playing an instrument,” Allen says.
“We just want to get them excited about music and think, ‘Hey, here’s a door I can go through.’ There’s a lot of fun and excitement in self-expression.”
“Hail From the Chief” by Brian Davis from the Seahawks’ website: http://www.seahawks.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1002
“My experience with football goes back to watching Husky games with my father when I was under the age of 10—outdoors, eating a hot dog and cracking open some peanuts and seeing a game played out in the elements. That’s real football to me, so that was my dream and I think we’re delivering on that.”
On Science Fiction and the Science Fiction Museum
“The Microsoft billionaire, whose personal collection inspired the idea for a museum, hopes the facility attracts droves of sci-fi fans from around the galaxy.
“I was exposed to science fiction at an early age,” Allen says. “I think… it’s actually about science and where science is going to take humanity and culture in the future.”
On The Allen Institute for Brain Science
From “Piece of Mind” The Economist http://www.economist.com/theworldin/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12494720&d=2009
“The scientists used state-of-the-art technology to dissect a mouse brain, photographed it sliver section by section, then reassembled it in a computer database that would allow easy access. But it was the speed at which the project was accomplished and what they did with it afterwards that changed the game.
They released it to the public. Over the Internet. Free.
When we first put the mouse-brain atlas online free, it was met by the research world with suspicion. People wondered what the catch was. Scientific research has long been a solitary endeavour—one researcher, one microscope. Findings are protected so that discovery credit can be clearly defined and awarded. This is a successful model and will continue to be.
However, the Human Genome Project demonstrated a different path: multiple teams working collaboratively towards a common goal. I believe a real acceleration in progress and innovation comes from the open sharing of ideas and collaboration. We wanted the mouse atlas to be free and available for all to use as the basis for foundational research and discovery.
A new generation of implantable pacemakers for the brain will be widely used to treat everything from depression to addiction and Parkinson’s disease
If we thought it would be a hit right out of the gate, we were slightly wrong. It took a while for people to trust that it really was free to use. No one believed in a free lunch.
Now, things have changed. Today we have many scientists using the atlas for their research into Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorders, Down’s syndrome, Parkinson’s, fragile x mental retardation and epilepsy. The atlas is also giving scientists insight into alcoholism, obesity, sleep, hearing and memory.”
And from a recent Wired Article:
In March 2002, Paul Allen—co-founder of Microsoft and 41st-richest person in the world—brought together a dozen neuroscientists for a three-day meeting aboard his 300-foot yacht, Tatoosh, which was anchored in Nassau, Bahamas. At the time, Allen’s philanthropic work consisted of an eclectic (some say frivolous) set of endeavors. There was the Experience Music Project in Seattle, a rock-and-roll museum designed by Frank Gehry; the Allen Telescope Array, 350 radio telescopes dedicated to deep-space observation and the search for extraterrestrial life; and SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded plane developed to put a human in space. But Allen was eager to start something new: a project involving neuroscience. He was excited by the sheer uncharted mystery of the mind—one of the last, great scientific frontiers—hoping a single large-scale endeavor could transform the field.
“I first got interested in the brain through computers,” Allen says. “There’s a long history of artificial intelligence programs that try to mimic what the brain is doing, but they’ve all fallen short. Here’s this incredible computer, a really astonishing piece of engineering, and we have no idea how it works.”
Over several days, Allen asked the neuroscientists to imagine a way to move their field forward dramatically. “I wanted them to think big,” he says. “Like the Human Genome Project, only for the brain.”
http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/17-04/ff_brainatlas (Jonah Lehrer 3/23/09)
and from The Discover Interview: Paul Allen by Evan Ratliff
Your interest in the workings of the brain seems like a logical step for someone who started out writing software.
“Yeah, if you are involved in computers, at some point you end up being fascinated by the idea of the human brain. The human brain works in a completely different fashion from a computer and does some things so much better than a computer, and this may remain true for the next 100, 200 years. How can that be? So I brought a bunch of neuroscientists together and asked, “What can I do that would be interesting and different that would potentially help the field of neuroscience move forward?” The answer was a genetic database of the mouse brain.”
On Space Travel:
THE ROBERT J. COLLIER TROPHY
Paul G. Allen
Remarks on Winning ‘The Robert J. Collier Trophy’
National Air and Space Museum
April 19, 2005
from www.paulallen.com website
“I feel I’ve been lucky to be part of three great waves of change—the personal computer, the Internet, and now private space travel. All were extraordinary, but for sheer adrenaline, nothing will ever top that day last June when we first sent Mike Melvill to the edge of space in SpaceShipOne.
I was always interested in flight and growing up in Seattle in the 1950s and ’60s was a great place to explore those interests. We had the World’s Fair, a strong local aeronautics industry, and I loved going to the library with my mother where I found books like Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo,” or Willy Ley’s “Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel.”
Science fiction was great back then, but it was amazing how much trouble it had keeping up with the reality of actual space travel. Like millions of American kids, I followed the Mercury suborbital flights, then Gemini, and then the Apollo lunar missions. I remember how exciting it was to watch those events on our grainy black and white TV set. Like many kids back then, I built scores of airplane and rocket models, and naturally, I had a plastic Air Force helmet with a flip-down visor. I even had hopes to become an astronaut one day. But after my 5th grade teacher realized I was sitting in the front row of class and squinting—it became apparent that I was nearsighted and I realized that becoming an astronaut was not in the cards for me.
I have no doubt that these formative early experiences with space exploration helped fuel my desire to build and program computers. That same spirit of invention was always in the air in the early days of Microsoft. With SpaceShipOne, the work we did with Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled reminded me in many ways of the work Bill Gates and I were doing when we were just starting out. There aren’t that many times in your life you get to work on a project that is challenging, groundbreaking, and just plain fun.”
Recently on space travel, while watching friend Charles Simonyi blast off into space for a trip to the International Space Station:
“It’s fantastic to see a launch, but when it’s one of your friends it’s just something so special,” Allen told Associated Press. Allen said he would not be interested into getting into orbit using Russian technology, but is hoping to using his own spacecraft. He is a major investor in SpaceShipOne, the first commercial space operation.
http://www.personalspaceflight.info/2009/03/27/paul-allen-future-space-tourist/ http://content.usatoday.com/topics/photo/People/Business,+Science+and+Technology+Figures/Paul+Allen/0dnL0857t8gym/4 )
” As an engineer, I’ve learned to avoid words like “awesome” or “amazing” that don’t describe things specifically; but I can’t think of any other way to describe Burt’s team and what they have achieved. With only 20-odd people, working out of a simple hangar in the Mojave Desert, they reinvented, for all time, the way we view space exploration—that we can accomplish it in new and cost-effective ways as private enterprise, and that soon it will be a possibility for a great many of us.
I’d also like to say a word about courage. Never in my career have I put my own life on the line to advance knowledge. Our pilots did just that. I can’t say enough to convey my thanks to Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie and their families for their commitment to SpaceShipOne. Without them, none of us would be here today. The early aircraft pioneer Otto Lilienthal once said, “To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. To fly is everything.”…………………..
…………..But I hope SpaceShipOne does more than just bring people to the edge of space. I hope it helps to rekindle a passion for aviation, rocketry and exploration among kids. And I hope it motivates educators to lay the important foundation of making science and math really engaging to a new generation of students. ” (Collier speech as posted on paulallen.com)
On the Biggest Thrill:
“I feel I’ve been lucky to be part of three great waves of change—the personal computer, the Internet, and now private space travel. All were extraordinary, but for sheer adrenaline, nothing will ever top that day last June when we first sent Mike Melvill to the edge of space in SpaceShipOne.” (Collier)
On what he wants to be his legacy:
“You just try to create things or look for opportunities to do things for the world at large that are going to make the world a better place.”
On The Future:
“I was always thinking about the future as a kid,” he says. “When you’re
a kid, you think anything is possible. You don’t know about constraints.”
Living: Sunday, June 14, 1998 A Wealth Of Interests — The Big-Idea Billionaire — Paul Allen Is Into
Sports, Technology, Music, Real Estate, Movies – And He’s Not Done Yet” by Richard Seven
(He still does think anything is possible, or at least he seems to….)
“From technology to science to music to art, I’m inspired by those who’ve blurred the boundaries, who’ve looked at the possibilities, and said, “What if…?
In my own work, I’ve tried to anticipate what’s coming over the horizon, to hasten its arrival, and to apply it to people’s lives in a meaningful way. Challenges inspire me, whether it’s pushing further into space than any private citizen ever has, as with SpaceShipOne or into the inner reaches of the human mind, as with the Allen Brain Atlas initiative. The varied possibilities of the universe have dazzled me since I was a child, and they continue to drive my work, my investments, and my philanthropy.”
I hope you believe, as I do, in the inexhaustible ability of human beings to find answers to problems, to create works of beauty and originality, and to craft vital new ideas inspired by those who’ve gone before. The possible is constantly being redefined, and I care deeply about helping humanity move forward. “ (From Paul Allen’s website www.paulallen.com)
And as he said a couple of years ago, in Paul Allen’s own words…..
“I’m not near the end of the story.”
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2005-01-17-paul-allen_x.htm (Microsoft Co-founder’s Dreams Funded into Reality by Allison Linn 1/17/05)
I can’t wait to hear more…..looking forward to hearing the rest of the story in your memoirs, Paul!!!!…. 🙂
*From Jason Quick of the Oregonian: (http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindblazersbeat/2009/04/behind_the_blazers_locker_room_13.html)
“A scene that shows how fired up owner Paul Allen is: As the media was waiting to get inside the postgamelocker room, Allen emerged from his private suite. As he walked through the gauntlet of reporters he looked at me and smiled. “Are you ready? Ready for the playoffs?” And with that, he extended a fist for a fist-bump. I think it’s safe to say Paul is ready for the playoffs. And I think it’s safe to say Paul is glad he didn’t sell the team a couple of years ago. I still contend he is one of the best owners in sports.”