He’s been touted as the “Pharaoh of the Pacific Northwest” for his renovation of South Lake Union in Seattle, and listed among Time Magazine’s Most Influential for two years running. He owns 3 major league sports teams, and has left big footprints in several industries, including computers, medicine and space travel. And yet Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen has been described as a down-to-earth, regular guy—“the nicest billionaire you’ll ever meet.”


But just in case you never do meet him, you can still see that “Regular Guy” side of Allen via a few videos that have been floating around the Internet lately.


Check it out:

1) Shaq Attack:

Basketball phenom Shaquille O’Neal recovers gracefully from a tumble into the stands by shaking the hand of Trail Blazers owner, Paul Allen.



2) High Five:

A Seahawks win has owner Paul Allen and fans in a very good mood. Check out this video of Allen high-fiving Seattle Seahawks fans as he walks off the field.


3) Twice Bitten:

Here Paul Allen is a good sport as he is attacked by a “vampire” while chatting with a comely news reporter about Gwen Stefani and technology.



4) Cannes Hello:

Here is a video of Allen in Cannes, France, coming ashore from a trip aboard one of his megayachts, Tatoosh. His lovely home in St. Jean Cap-Ferrat, called Villa Maryland,  was a hangout for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt during the 61st Cannes Film Festival last summer.



5) Blazers Workout:

Here is Paul Allen again after a Blazers workout, chatting about chatting with some dynamic new potential players from France — in French, no less.



6) Blazers Press Conference:


And here he is again talking about his favorite basketball team.



 7) Beard or No Beard?

 Here is Paul Allen joking around with Bill Gates as the famous photo from 1978 is retaken 30 years later: (2:30 minutes into the program):


(From BBC’s “The Money Programme: Bill Gates: How a Geek Changed the World.” (Part 2)


8 ) A Computer on Every Desk:


And here he is talking about the realization of the dream that he and Bill Gates had of putting a computer in every home and on every desk:



9) Best Computer History Video of All Time:

If you haven’t seen Robert Cringley’s “Triumph of the Nerds,” in which many of the pioneers of the computer industry, including Paul Allen, were featured, you’ve got to check it out. Here is one place where you can find it :



10) Jamming with Friends:

Finally, here are a few of my favorites—-Paul Allen performing in concert through the years, just being a regular guy, having a good time and playing some pretty decent guitar rifts besides!


Here he is hamming it up with his band:



And here is a bearded version of Paul Allen in 1995, having a great time performing with some good friends:


So maybe this post isn’t “Evri”-thing you wanted to know about Paul Allen—

in fact, you can find that here:



But it’s still fun to see Allen in candid mode. :-)_________________________________________________________________________________

BTW—I know I’ve been away for awhile.

I’ve been a little sidetracked lately, doing some serious cyberspace exploration with my mini-pc, a Flipstart, and I’ve been having just too much fun with it to stop by.   But I’ll be back soon, I promise, with more six degrees connections, and a list of cool sites and other things I’ve discovered lately along the way.

Stay tuned…..

To: William Gates

Chairman at Microsoft

Co-Chair at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Dear Mr. Gates,

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I haven’t yet received my invitation to your LinkedIn Network.  No biggie—-I know you’ve been busy lately—but it’s just that I’m sure we know a lot of the same people…..

Well, o.k., maybe I know OF a lot of the same people whom you know, but same difference, right? 🙂

Anyway, in the meantime, I thought I’d take a crack at the excellent question that you posted on your LinkedIn site:

“How can we do more to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology?”



I thought I’d start out by answering your question with a question:

What  were the things that inspired you and your friend Paul Allen when you were young? And just as importantly, what factors helped you both to become successful in those fields later in life?

You obviously know the answers better than I do, but I can take an educated guess based on your life, and turn it into advice for this new generation of young people:

1) Give them a vision:

Do you remember the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair?


I’d bet a dollar that going to that Fair was a profoundly inspiring experience for you (and for Paul Allen too) when you were children living in the city of Seattle. Remember The World of Science and The World of Tomorrow?  You could walk right into those exhibits and experience the possibilities the future had to offer in a powerful, palpable way. You could stand next to a rocket designed by NASA or ride in a “Spacearium”–a virtual space ship and see the “stars.” You could witness “Space Age Communications” at Bell Telephone’s pavilion, or get a glimpse of how future computers could connect libraries together and make information accessible to everyone.

From p. 20 of the Seattle World’s Fair 1962 official program:

“The experience is vivid. Shafts of color have illuminated another life—an easy, gracious, stimulating future beyond tomorrow’s tomorrow. Time itself has been compressed so that you could stand on the threshold of Century 21.”*1

The World’s Fair offered a profoundly real vision of what the future could be—it’s opportunities and responsibilities—a vision designed to inspire kids to dream big and do great things. And you and Paul Allen and a number of Visionaries took that dream and ran with it, building the real “World of Tomorrow.”

2) Give them access to cutting tools and information.

Remember the Lakeside computer room–the teletype machine that connected to a computer at CCC? Wasn’t it remarkable for kids who were barely into their teens—12 and 14 year olds—to have access to something that was so cutting edge for its time? I wonder how many adults grasped the magnitude of what was being done in that little room; what you were learning and how futuristic it all was? Wasn’t it because you had free reign with that equipment—that you could play with it and explore what you could do with it—at least a part of the reason that you could envision its future potential? Wasn’t it a part of the reason why a few years later you could call up Ed Roberts at a time when few people even owned an Altair, let alone found a use for one, and confidently tell him you could write a language for his pc?

3. Give them exposure to cutting edge mentors:

I know that you had a number of really remarkable teachers at Lakeside and and had several other mentors back in those days, but I’ll mention just one of them as an example. Do you remember Steve Russell, the guy who wrote the first videogame, Spacewar?  He and Dick Gruen had just come to C-Cubed from Stanford’s SAIL  (Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab) program, which was involved with a number of research projects including, of course,  artificial intelligence.*2

That was a pretty cutting edge concept for its time. And although I heard that those guys never spoon-fed you any information (Paul Andrews called them “Zen Masters” because in response to your questions they would hand you and Paul Allen another manual so you could figure it out for yourselves 🙂 ),* 3  I imagine that working side by side with people who understood an area that most people had no clue even existed—guys who were dabbling on the cutting edge of technology—had an influence on you and Paul Allen, didn’t it?


So how do you give large numbers of young people access to creative tools and mentors?

Via the Internet, of course!

I have it on good authority that if you or Paul Allen or Steve Ballmer or Bono (or pretty much anyone from the X-Box team 🙂 ) were to offer a few insights via Youtube or live webcast etc., young people would be there in a heartbeat—watching and listening, eagerly absorbing what you have to say. 

The communication options out there today via the Internet offer a myriad of mentoring opportunities and an easy way to reach out to young people and impart new ideas, provide virtual communities, make contacts or share information.

And as far as creative tools go, maybe on a widespread level you could impart basic information—do a video on how to write a simple program, for example. On a more individualized level, one idea might be to pose a problem and then offer resources to the kids who present the best ideas and want to work on solutions to solve it—sort of an X-Prize-like contest where acceptance into the contest is competitive, but once accepted there are sponsors who can help the entrants to bring those ideas to fruition.

Then of course there are the science clubs, bowls, fairs and other kinds of contests already in place that you could support—not even necessarily financially, but through finding ways to keep everyone connected and facilitating connections to mentors in the various scientific fields.

4) Reward Goodness:

“Of course, not all challenges spring from technology. Many of the toughest problems we face today; hunger, the environment, population growth and violence desperately need people who want to attack these problems and make a difference in the lives of others.”*4

That quote was from Paul Allen in a speech he made to the WSU graduating class of 1999. And you have echoed the same sentiment—that we need people who can address the urgent problems that our world is facing today such as poverty, disease, food and energy shortages and environmental issues.*5

See… Bill Gates’ Speech at the World Economic Forum on Creative Capitalism


As you said, the world of today is better than in years past. The leaders of today include a number of tech wizards and visionaries whose creative ideas and efforts have made the world a better place. And as you know, the youth of today are our world’s greatest resource and its best hope for the future.  Nurture those young people who share a vision of a better world and who come up with new ideas that address some of its challenges.

Inspire everyone, but focus your resources and mentoring efforts on them. If your vision of creative capitalism is truly to become a widespread business ethic, it is the youth of today who will embrace it and the next generation who will bring it to fruition. Seek out the kind of young people who share your vision, whom you want to be tomorrow’s leaders, and help them to get there through scholarships, internships, small business loans, other financial rewards, and of course, recognition.

5) Above all, don’t underestimate them just because they’re young.

As you know from experience, young people can accomplish a great deal!

Another Lakeside story…..

Do you remember Frank Peep from C-Cubed and ISI in your Lakeside days?* 6  A few years ago I asked him if he was surprised that kids as young as you and Paul Allen were could have accomplished so much. His response? A definite “No.” On the contrary, he was not at all surprised.

“Kids are fearless,” he said.

When the adults looked at those computers, they saw some really expensive equipment. When you kids looked at them, you saw a playground—a game, a challenge.  You wanted to play around with the system, test it out, explore its capabilities—which was exactly what you were supposed to do—you were hired to find the bugs in the system so those problems could be fixed. 

You guys weren’t afraid of anything, so you took risks and crossed boundaries and did things that the higher-ups—the adults—said could never be done. It was because of your youth, not just in spite of it, that you were able to accomplish so much.

Kids are too young to be afraid, too naive to know that something is impossible and too inexperienced to believe that the way it’s always been done is the only way to do it.

As you said, “Young people aren’t as constrained by traditional ways of thinking. They haven’t yet completely absorbed the “right” way to do things, so they are free to pursue ideas that seem impossible to those of us with more experience.”
http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_8302277 ,
With the Right Skills, Young People will Create More Innovations

So challenge them, give them a few creative tools and see what they come up with. You never know what could happen…..

So there you go…..answer #4 gazillion to your Linked In question—hope it helps!

…..And about that Linked In invite—no hurry or anything.  I’ll just be sitting here, waiting by my computer……. :-)*

*….actually, my computer will be sitting here in my pocket, waiting by me. I just bought a Flipstart—Yeah!! 🙂 But that’s another story for another time….. 🙂



1 Seattle World’s Fair 1962 Official Souvenir Program, 1961 ACME Publications

2. “Gates: How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented An Industry—and Made Himself the Richest Man in America.” by Paul Andrews and Stephen Manes. 1994;   p. 32–0e8B2JaUJ:www.stanford.edu/~learnest/net.htm+steve+russell+dick+gruen+SAIL&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us





3) “Gates” Ibid. at p. 30


4) Paul Allen’s WSU Speech to 1999 graduating class upon receiving the Regent’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.   http://regents.wsu.edu/distinguished-alumni/recipients/

The WSU site used to have an audio of the entire speech, which was originally aired via satellite uplink from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. (Paul Allen’s Trail Blazers were in the NBA Finals at the time.)

Also—I heard that Paul Allen just attended the TED conference:

See.. http://www.ted.com/index.php/pages/view/id/21



so these very issues have been on his mind too lately. He has also tried to inspire young people in a number of ways in the past; for example, check out these links:



5)  http://gaia.world-television.com/wef/worldeconomicforum%5Fannualmeeting2008/default.aspx?sn=24144&lang=en


6) “Gates” Ibid. p. 40; Interview with Frank Peep, winter of 2004.

Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen is one of those guys who gets more interesting the more you read about him. 

The guy is involved in everything you can imagine, in every area you can imagine with everyone whom you can think of. 

I was thinking about this sometime last year when I told a friend that I thought that everything in the world could be linked to Paul Allen within 6 degrees. You’ve heard of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, right? Well, ironically, a few days after I said that to my friend, I read that Paul Allen and Kevin Bacon were performing together on stage aboard one of Paul Allen’s yachts during the 2005 Cannes Film Festival! 

 Six degrees of Separation is basically the idea that anyone can be connected to anyone else through a chain of acquaintances with no more than 5 intermediaries.   One day I was playing around with my laptop and thought it would be fun to invent a new game based on that theory called “Six Degrees of Paul Allen.” The point of the game is to try to link Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen with anyone or even anything—within 6 degrees. And that’s how this blog was born.

On September 4th, this blog will have been around for a year.  And I have to tell you, it’s been a blast! I’ve spent last year trying to find new links between Paul Allen and remote celebrities and even historical figures from a 100+ years ago and that task has been easier than I thought it would be—which leads me to believe that the Six Degrees — “Small World” theory might actually be true, especially when it comes to people like Allen, who really get out there.

Before I do anything else, I want to thank you guys for reading my blog—you have no idea how much you make my day by stopping by!  Serious kudos also go out to Matt Mullenweg (http://photomatt.net/about/)  and the Awesome WordPress Blog Masters, primary enablers of my Blog Stat addiction (almost 14,000 site views and counting!!!:-) — you guys rock!!!  And Google —- it’s such a thrill to see my blog translated into Portugese, etc.— it is so cool! Really, thank you, you guys, for giving me a chance :-)!

Since this is an Anniversary issue, I thought it might be fun to do something out of the ordinary—so here is the “official” Six Degrees of Paul Allen Anniversary Contest.  Unlike the used salad shooter and the video tape rewinder in the shape of a sports car, there is actually a real prize for this contest—a 1 Gigabyte USB Drive (see below). So I’m thinking that someone might actually want to enter the contest, and if not, I’ll send the prize to myself and be the first person on my block with an R2D2 Jump Drive!  Anyway, see if you can be the first to answer the questions below in the comment section, and if you’re the first to answer all 10 questions correctly by 9/4/07 at midnight, I’ll send you the prize. No, really, I will…..:-)***

So here goes…..

1) MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) of Albuquerque, N.M. announced “The World’s First Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models,” the Altair 8800 PC on the cover of the January 1st 1975 issue of Popular Electronics. Shortly afterwards, a couple of guys called MITS’ owner Ed Roberts and told him that they had a BASIC interpreter for his computer, the Altair.  One of them later went out to meet with Roberts, discovering on the plane that he and his partners had forgotten to write the loader for the program! He hastily finished writing the loader as he flew in to New Mexico and demonstrated the completed program, BASIC, at MITS headquarters to Ed Roberts and his staff. Fortunately the program worked, and Robert hired him as MITS Director of Software Development.  Who was he?  

2) The Rose Garden Arena, located at One Center Court in Portland, Oregon, opened its doors on October 12, 1995. The stadium, which is often used for concerts and other events, is the home of Portland’s professional basketball team, the Portland Trail Blazers. The guy who originally footed most of the $262 bill for the stadium also currently owns the Portland Trail Blazers. What is his name?  

 3) Seven tug boat crew members were plucked from icy seas off Port Alfred a couple of days ago in a dramatic sea rescue involving the luxury super yacht, the 414ft. Octopus. The maritime drama started at around 2pm on 8/23/07 when the tug boat, called Douala Tide, mysteriously sank 31 nautical miles off Port Alfred in heavy seas. The Octopus was one of the first ships on the scene and managed to rescue seven crew members of the tug. Who owns the Octopus? http://www.dispatch.co.za/2007/08/24/Easterncape/abdrama.html 

 4) The Seattle Seahawks football team was purchased in 1988 by real estate developer Ken Behring.  Eight years later, when Behring decided that he wanted to move the team to Los Angeles— much to the chagrin of Seahawks fans—another guy stepped in and eventually bought the team, thereby keeping it in Seattle. (For fun, check out this article from The Seattle Post-Intelligencer written in 1996: “SOS: Seahawks Mess Not About You” by Laura Vecsey. ( http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/archives/1996/9604030018.asp ) In 2002 the new owner helped build a new stadium in Seattle for the team called Qwest Field. In 2006, this same owner took the Seahawks to SuperBowl XL. Who was he? 

 5) The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. The Foundation was established in the year 2000 and is dedicated to “bringing innovations in health and learning to the global community.”   Who founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? 

 6) This famous photo, taken in 1978, depicts the early Microsoft crew. See… www.answers.com/topic/microsoft-staff-1978-jpg  One of the co-founders, a young looking guy with blonde hair is seated on the far lower left of the photo. His co-founder is seated on the far lower right sporting a beard and long hair.  Who is the co-founder seated on the right in this picture?  

7) Vulcan Productions (www.clearblueskyfilms.com),  an independent film company, has produced a number of movies since it was founded including the Emmy winning documentary, PBS’ “Rx For Survival” and the Peabody Award winning “Black Sky,” a documentary about SpaceShipOne, the spaceship that won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004. Who is the Chairman of Vulcan Productions? 

 8.) This computer mogul is also a rock musician who has performed with numerous musicians including Dave Stewart, Dan Aykroyd, Carlos Santana, Little Feat, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mick Jagger and Peter Gabriel.  In 1999 he cut an album with his rock band, Grown Men.  On the album, special thanks were given to Dave Stewart, Peter Gabriel, Dan Aykroyd and the crews of the Meduse and the Charade,  two megayachts that this guy owned at the time.  He most recently performed with Spinal Tap at former Vice President Al Gore’s Live Earth Concert at Wembley Stadium in London. Who is he? 

 9) This tech wizard is connected within six degrees to a number of famous people including Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Princess Grace Kelly, photographer Annie Leibovitz, writers Truman Capote, Ian Fleming, John Steinbeck and Mark Twain, President Franklin Pierce, artists Georgia O’Keefe and Pablo Picasso, statesman Nelson Mandela and his Council of Elders, Former President Bill Clinton, scientists Carl Sagan and James Watson, musician Paul McCartney, director Martin Scorsese and actors Tom Hanks, Eric Idle and Scarlett Johansson—of The Perfect Score.  What is his name? (Hint: he wrote PC BASIC).  

 10) In 1999, Seattle P-I’s movie critic William Arnold wrote this article about the revival of a nearly demolished theater in Seattle called the Cinerama. Fill in the name of the person he’s talking about at the end of the quote–( eg. Who saved the Cinerama?):

“It may sound like shameless hype, but there’s no other way to say this: the survival and restoration of Seattle’s Cinerama Theater in the late 1990s is simply one of the greatest success stories in the whole checkered history of movie theater preservation in America. When the theater’s 35-year lease ran out in March 1997, no exhibitor was even vaguely interested in the once-luxurious movie showcase at Fourth Avenue and Lenora Street. The Seattle media wrote its obituary, and no sane observer gave the naive, grass-roots “Save-the- Cinerama” campaign the slightest chance of success. But two years later, the Cinerama is not only still standing, it’s undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation, and will reopen April 23 as the most technologically advanced, state-of-the-art cinema, not just in Seattle and the Northwest, but arguably on the entire planet.  A year ago, in what was supposed to be the Cinerama’s final week, I took a last, sad tour of the long-neglected facility — cringing at the water-damaged walls, crumbling screen, broken seats and dilapidated fixtures that seemed almost beyond repair. Late last month, I wandered through the same space and found it had been not just lovingly restored to its full 1963 glory, but transformed into a kind of nirvana for movie lovers — a theater so chock-full of extras and innovations that it’s hard to list them all……….”   See… http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/movies/cine08.shtml


OK–The first person to answer all 10 questions correctly and write the answers on the comment section below by Sept. 4, 2007 at midnight EST will receive a 1 Gigabyte Star Wars Mimoco USB Drive from Dynamism, the company that sells Paul Allen’s mini-pc, the Flipstart. See… http://www.dynamism.com/usb-star-wars/main.shtml ***

Good luck, guys!!! 

———————————————————— *** J
I’m not sure I really have to do this, but just in case someone thinks
his or her answers should have shown up first and he/she should have
won, I don’t want to spend my life savings buying Star Wars themed
USB drives for everybody, you know? 🙂
By entering the contest you agree that your answers are not “consideration” and that I don’t owe you anything; contest is void where prohibited, subject to availability, and good only where Dynamism ships and as long as the shipping fee costs less than the item itself. (Note–Dynamism is not affiliated with the contest nor this blog–the company just has a lot of fun stuff, including cool-looking jumpdrives…:-)
Don’t enter if…..you’re even remotely connected to spam, if you’re coming from a site that’s not ‘G’ rated, if the WordPress Akismet thinks you’re spam, or you send emails to a lot of people who don’t know you on a regular basis. And if you think you should have been first, but your answers don’t show up first below, I’ll give you sympathy but not another USB Drive—basically this is just for fun, guys !!!!

Good Luck!!!

Paul Allen’s Vulcan has just ruined one of my best excuses.

“So when’s the new book coming out?” people would ask me… And I’d say, “Well, as soon as Vulcan releases the FlipStart…..”

I thought I was safe until yesterday, when Vulcan leaked the story that Paul
Allen’s cool blue mini-pc is coming out this month.
 The FlipStart will be available on March 27th online at www.flipstart.com.

The official announcement won’t be made until later—possibly even later today—but here are
some links to a few sneak previews:



http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=8606 http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/112384.asp http://www.pcworld.com/printable/article/id,129634/printable.html# 


The quick specs are:

Dimensions: 5.9” by 4.5” by 1.6” with a 5.6” display.Weight: 1.5 lbs Has a battery life of about 3.5 hours and will run
Windows Vista or XP Pro.
It has a 30 GB HDD, a 1.1 GHz Intel Pentium M processor and 512 MB

Internet Connection: Built-in high speed cellular connection (EVDO) and
Wi-Fi. It also has Bluetooth.


Paul Allen, in his characteristically prescient way, thought up the
mini-pc idea before mini-pc’s were cool.
In January of 2003 at the Consumer Electronics show, he gave us a first glimpse of the ultra light computer that he had envisioned at least 18 months before.*   At the 2004 DEMO conference, he
had us all salivating over the tiny prototype he held in his hands—a
ridiculously lightweight, 30 GB, full blown computer.

But after the DEMO conference was over, the FlipStart wasn’t released
for a long time. For some reason Allen felt he needed to wait and make a
few refinements. So we waited too. The Microsoft Co-founder, a
perfectionist, has had a bit of success in the micro-computer industry,
so it may well be that the finished product coming out now will be worth the wait. 
  Check out this FlipStart demonstration on Youtube—the device does look pretty cool 🙂 
 ( http://jkontherun.blogs.com/jkontherun/2007/03/jkontherun_firs.html)

 I have a few pc’s at home, including one that is considered ultra portable
(window shopping at Fry’s electronics is my idea of fun:). But I still
haven’t found the perfect combination of size and function.
There are a number of interesting options out there,
but it would be nice if the FlipStart ended up being the mini-pc I’ve
been looking for all along. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to get my hands on one,
you know?


Maybe it will help me to finally finish that book, now that I’m all out
of excuses…..:)


(* http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/103340_vulcan09.shtml) (BTW—the Andy Warhol links are coming soon—I promise!:)