“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.   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.”
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 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
Tom Griffin
 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 )
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?”

On Music   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.” 


 On Football:

“Hail From the Chief” by Brian Davis from the Seahawks’ website:
“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 
   “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.” (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:


Paul G. Allen
Remarks on Winning ‘The Robert J. Collier Trophy’
National Air and Space Museum
Washington, DC
April 19, 2005
from 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.,+Science+and+Technology+Figures/Paul+Allen/0dnL0857t8gym/4 )
 On SpaceShipOne:

” 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
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
 And as he said a couple of years ago, in Paul Allen’s own words…..

  “I’m not near the end of the story.”  (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: (

“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.”



 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…..



“…All my life I’ve wanted to see the day when men would conquer space and explore the planets—and I wanted to take part in it. I don’t have to tell you how that feels…”

From Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo” p.23



Escaping from earth will not always be automatically expensive; contrary to the impression created by a Saturn launch, the energy needed to reach space is remarkably small…..Commercial space flight is now beginning to be technologically feasible and will soon become economically viable.”

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

From the Foreword to Dan Linehan’s “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History”



“Tourism is the first market for the new spaceflight industry, as thousands of people with the dream to see the earth from space for themselves sign up for rides on suborbital spaceships, which will become increasingly affordable.”

From the book “Rocketeers” by Michael Belfiore



Space travel was exciting to any kid growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen was no exception. Like millions of American kids, Allen followed the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, and recalled the excitement he felt when the television cart was wheeled into his classroom so that he and fellow students could view the historic events on a black and white TV. Science fiction books fascinated him, like Robert Heinlein’s “Rocketship Galileo” which told the story of a group of kids who built their own spaceship; and a visit to the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair offered a simulated rocket journey into space in the world’s first “Spacearium.” 

As a kid, Allen built dozens of model rockets and even tried his hand at building a homemade rocket of his own out of an old lawn chair (it melted:-).  And he was awed by science fiction stories that made the big screen, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he saw at Seattle’s local Cinerama theater.


So when brilliant inventor Burt Rutan introduced the idea of a low cost suborbital spacecraft, Paul Allen was very, very interested.


The relationship between the billionaire and the inventor began with a different business venture, but by the Spring of 2000, when Burt Rutan felt that his idea was ready for funding, he asked for a meeting with Paul Allen and told him about the spaceship he was designing. Allen responded with a handshake and an enthusiastic—“Let’s do it.”



“”I always had in the back of my mind, would I ever have the opportunity to do something in a space-related initiative? Allen recalled. “And so when the SpaceShipOne opportunity came up, I was very excited to pursue it.”

From Dan Linehan’s “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History”(p. 19)



And the rest is history. The Allen-funded SpaceShipOne soared into space, and on October 4th, 2004, it became the first privately funded spaceship to make it into suborbital space twice in two weeks with an equivalent weight of 3 people, thereby winning the Ansari X-prize. It also thereby effectively jumpstarted the commercial space travel industry, something which had previously been thought so impossible that it had a “giggle factor.”


On that October 4th date, back in mission control, as SpaceShipOne was still floating in space, Paul Allen shook another hand—the hand of billionaire Richard Branson—who purchased the rights to Allen’s spaceship development program for his own commercial “spaceline,” Virgin Galactic.  The handshake symbolized the next great step in the commercial space travel industry—as “Rocketeers” author Michael Belfiore commented, “That moment marked the end of the beginning of the commercial space age.”


And on July 28, 2008, just a couple of weeks ago, the reality of private space travel—of ordinary people becoming astronauts and sailing off into space—just got closer with the unveiling of Virgin Galactic’s mothership, Eve, otherwise known as WhiteKnightTwo.  The WhiteKnightTwo, a beautifully designed carrier aircraft, will be launching rocket SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts into suborbital space in the near future.


In fact, if you have a couple hundred thousand dollars (or A LOT of Virgin Atlantic frequent flier miles)*, and a dream to be an astronaut, you can sign up to be a passenger on a Virgin Galactic spaceflight right now:





and for “Virgin Atlantic Frequent Fliers”*


Apparently, a large number of people have already signed up.






It’s all pretty exciting when you think about it, and it had me wondering what space travel might look like, say, 50 years from now.  So just for fun, I thought I’d write a story about an astronaut from the year 2058, who is also, since spaceships are so common at that time, basically just an ordinary businessman on his way home from work.


Just one more thought… case you hadn’t guessed, this story is NOT real. And one more thing—if you see Microsoft Co-founder,  Paul Allen’s name (and related stuff) pop up in the story, remember that this IS the Six Degrees of Paul Allen site…….. 🙂






Businessman Bo Nunez stepped inside the gleaming spaceship and trudged wearily down the narrow aisle leading to the first class section of the 8 pm Virgin Galactic Transport Shuttle. It had been a long day.


He looked forward to getting home. Although the commute to his condo on the Rutan Community Moon Colony was a long one—roughly an hour’s journey—he did not regret the purchase of his new dream home there last year in 2057.  The price was admittedly astronomical, but it was a nice little community—the amenities were unparalleled, and the views—well, the views were literally out of this world.


He sank down into his plush leather seat, buckled his seat belt and settled in for the ride home. Donning headphones, he began to listen to a song he designed last night on his computer with the help of the latest Drumcore software. He had become a pro at mixing tracks—and by blending a little U2, Blues and drum solos from his favorite artists, he had come up with a pretty decent song. In fact, the recording would have been perfect were it not for the vocalist. He chuckled as he heard his own voice. “OK, so I guess I won’t quit my day job,” he laughed.


He pulled his Kiha* out of his shirt pocket and gently set it down on the pull-down table in front of him. Immediately the surface of the table began to shimmer and ripple as if it were made of water. Multicolored tropical fish appeared to swim deep into the surface of the table and across the screen in 3D, as the scene reflected the underwater beauty of Bo’s favorite dive spot in Palau. This was clearly his favorite screen saver, this underwater video that Bo took last summer, and it always put him in a good mood after a hard day’s work.


“Hello, Bo” said a soft, pleasant voice coming from the table. “Where do you want to go today?”


“To the moon, Alice!” he thought, remembering the ancient Jackie Gleason reruns that were so popular in the 2040’s. But instead he smiled and said:


“How about checking today’s headlines?”


Immediately the surface of the table changed to reveal the top stories and photos of the day. One headline in particular caught his eye:


“The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Changes Its Name.”

AP Seattle, Washington


“The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has announced that it is changing its name and its focus due to the recent development of the Cancer/HIV vaccine.  Since the vaccine was discovered a few years ago, these diseases have been effectively made obsolete in the civilized world.


The newly renamed Fred Hutchinson Research Center will now merge with neighboring charitable organizations; The Allen Institute for Brain Science, founded by Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen and the Gates Foundation, founded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, to refocus its efforts and collaborate its resources in order to bring the vaccine, along with other recent Allen Institute cures for MS, MD and Alzheimer’s Disease, and the latest spinal cord regeneration treatment, to underdeveloped countries.


“We are extremely pleased and honored to be a part of this wonderful project,” stated Jo Allen Patton, chairman of the Allen Family Foundation. “We are grateful to the remarkable men and women who have developed breakthrough medicines that are now capable of defeating these devastating diseases, and we hope to continue to provide the funding necessary to bring these cures to every person who needs them in every corner of the world.”


Nunez paused for a moment to absorb the information. “Another scientific breakthrough from the Allen District of Seattle! What a place it must be!


“And Paul Allen—I’ve heard of that guy,” he thought. “I wonder what he’s doing now?”


Curious, Nunez did an EVRI  search and discovered that at 105 years old the Microsoft Co-founder had just cut his 4th best-selling rock album.


“So he finally broke down and released another set of songs,” Nunez thought. He remembered what terrific hits the first three albums had become nearly 20 years ago, but he had heard that Allen hesitated to issue another album.  It was important to him that people remembered him for more than just his music.


Right under that headline was an article about Allen and Gates:


“Dynamic Duo Strikes Again


People Weekly


‘Holy smokes, Batman!’  The Dynamic Duo is at it again, battling the forces of evil.


No, we’re not talking about ancient comic book superheroes, but about an unbeatable team of philanthropists named Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Not quite a century ago, when the pair was barely out of their teens, they wrote a language that changed the world, and founded a company that is still one of the most successful organizations in the history of business.


And now they’ve joined forces again to take on a new villain—-disease.


Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have been in the disease vanquishing business since the turn of the century. Through their efforts with the Gates Foundation, the disease Malaria, a horrible scourge that plagued millions of people many years ago has long gone the way of Microsoft’s early competitors. But Gates has begun to tackle other dark forces and has taken on a new partner to do it—his old Microsoft partner, Paul Allen.


Allen has been on a disease fighting mission of his own for many years. The Allen Institute for Brain Science, a charitable organization that he founded in 2003, has made major breakthroughs recently in combating a number of debilitating illnesses that have plagued the world. The Allen Institute has historically ventured into a number of research projects such as the brain map and spinal cord map, and has published its findings for free, assisting researchers to find cures for diseases in their particular fields. Recognizing that this kind of information-sharing leads to scientific breakthroughs that benefit everyone, other researchers have followed suit, and the speed of progress in fighting these infirmities has taken off like lightning in recent years, most recently leading to cures.


The Gates’ will now join The Allen Family Foundation and the recently renamed Fred Hutchinson Research Center in bringing these cures for a number of diseases, among them Alzheimer’s, MD, Multiple Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, as well as the recently discovered Cancer/HIV Vaccine and Spinal Regeneration and Regrowth treatments, to countries that currently do not have access to this kind of medicine.


May their battle against disease take them to the ends of the earth and to the farthest reaches of space; or, in the words of another Superhero,


‘To Infinity and Beyond!’ “




This was great news. Bo remembered a friend of his from years ago, a good friend whom he’d lost…….”I wish those cures had been around earlier,” he thought to himself.


He was deep in thought when the seat belt light clicked off and nudged him out of his reverie. Bo looked up from the screen on the table in front of him and gazed out the window. What a view! He could never get used to how beautiful the earth looked from up here.


Some of the passengers had taken off their seat belts and were floating around the room, laughing and doing somersaults, and noisily calling each other over to the many windows of the spacecraft to check out the spectacular scenery. When the cabin was full, this was considered bad manners—-this bouncing around the room, sometimes bumping into people who just wanted to get home. But tonight, perhaps because of the late flight, the cabin was nearly empty, and there was plenty of room to move around.


As many times as he had made this trip, Bo could not resist feeling completely thrilled by this part of the ride. The feeling of weightlessness made him feel, well, even a little giddy, like a kid riding on a roller coaster for the first time.


But today for some reason, he was overwhelmed by the feeling.  Maybe it was the stress of the day or the good news he’d just read. Or maybe he had just taken it all for granted for too long. Whatever the reason, today he couldn’t resist taking off his seat belt and joining the floaters.  As he released the latch of his seat belt and floated away from the restraint, suddenly Bo Nunez forgot the seriousness of the day he had just had. He forgot his age, his business, his life back on earth. For this moment, none of those things mattered. He was 10 years old again—free—and if he wanted to jump off of his first class leather seat and bounce around the walls of this luxury craft in his business suit, he could care less how it looked to anyone else.


The seat belt sign came on again, much too soon it seemed, and he belted himself in once more for the lightening-fast ride home. He was breathless, elated from his venture climbing around the cabin and he felt a little like a school kid who had misbehaved in class and had gotten away with it.  By the time the Virgin Galactic Shuttle descended upon the Lunar Spaceport and touched down on the surface of the moon, Bo Nunez was in a very, very good mood.




Just for fun…so that means that none of this is real. But impossible? Maybe not …… J




Check out these links…….

Dan Linehan’s SpaceShipOne: an Illustrated History:

Michael Belfiore’s “Rocketeers”


“Rocketship Galileo” Robert Heinlein

Other References:
Remarks upon winning the Robert J. Collier Trophy from Allen’s website

Other Links:

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Ready for Trips into Space::

Upcoming conference on what’s next in the tourism industry:


Paul Allen’s SpaceShipOne:


Condos on the moon in 50 years?

(What about 15?)


Institutes mentioned as they are in 2008: 

The Allen Institute for Brain Science:


Allen Institute Spinal Cord Map:


Allen Institute Brain Atlas:


The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center:


 Other Stuff Mentioned:









The Paul Allen Band:




*(BTW, I have no idea what they’re up to—just took a guess….:-)


Microsoft’s “Surface” 



SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo Videos and more:


 Inside SpaceShipTwo

 From the Discovery Channel and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions “Black Sky”   (Mike Melville)

 SpaceShipTwo Demo

SpaceShipOne winning the X-Prize (Brian Binnie)

 Space Travel future

 Virgin Galactic SpacePort

 Virgin Galactic video narrated by Richard Branson

 Animation of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo from a year ago

 Private industry moves to take over space race

Honeymoon in Space, Anyone? 🙂


Paul Allen wants a space ship for Christmas—a full size, fully operational space ship of his very own. He also wants a machine that can make stuffed animals come alive.

Check out this article:

 ‘Dear Santa’: Kids ask for their heart’s desire” See.. the article:
December 24, 2007) — “Whittling down a wish list can be tough for a wide-eyed child at Christmas.
But some kids aren’t that picky.“Dear Santa, You can bring me whatever you want, because I like everything,” writes 5-year-old Sophia Triassi of Greece………..…..Some letter writers showed their artistic side by offering illustrations of their Christmas wish. Take Paul Allen of Geneseo, Livingston County, for instance. “For Christmas I want a reel spas ship — like the one on the back — and a machine that can turn stuff anmls too life,” writes Paul, 8, a second-grader at Geneseo Elementary School. Paul’s mom, Deb Allen, says Paul has acquired an interest in Star Trek during the past year.“I dunno if he thinks he’s gonna get one with warp drive,” says Allen of Geneseo. “He insists it’s gonna be full-size. I said, ‘Now, where are you gonna store this? Santa’s not gonna fit that under the tree.’ He said, ‘He can put it in the front yard, that’s OK.'”  

Of course, the person who asked Santa for a full-sized space ship is Paul Allen, a second-grader from Geneseo Elementary School, not Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.  The latter wouldn’t put a space ship on his Christmas list because he already has one.


In fact, Santa Claus may have a hard time this year trying to find the perfect gift for the Microsoft co-founder, because there aren’t many things in the world that this Paul Allen doesn’t already own.


 Can you imagine having the Microsoft Co-founder on your Christmas list?

What do you get a guy who already has everything?

To begin with, it’s a good bet that whatever most people could afford is probably a lot less than what Allen spends just filling up his Megayacht, Octopus. A mere tank of gas for his 414 ft yacht will set you back at least $150 thousand dollars.


And I’m thinking that he probably already has enough ties.

So what are some other options? Sports, maybe?…..Let’s see, he already has a football team and a basketball team—what about a Soccer team?

Nope, he just bought one of those a few months ago.  

And the “Pharoah of the Pacific Northwest” doesn’t need anymore real estate.  

He’s got a killer art collection…..

See…. ….and a really nice guitar—well, actually, quite a few really nice guitars.. See…  

And though a model airplane might make a good gift, Allen already has a few of those. His collection of World War II planes is just as nice as you can get —especially when you consider that the planes he owns are also full size and fully operational. See…


So there isn’t much that you could get Paul Allen that he doesn’t already own. 

But I have an idea about what might be the perfect gift for him—something he really, really wants. 

 If you happen to have a few billion dollars to spare and are an ace at bidding at auctions, Paul Allen could really use a few wireless airwaves. See, there’s this FCC auction coming up next month, and the new 700 MHz band airwaves would match perfectly with the licenses he bought just about 5 years ago……

Check it out—   

Just an idea… J

But to be serious for just a moment, I do hope that you all have a wonderful, blessed, and happy Christmas!!!

And, in holiday tradition, here are a few interesting sites that I’ve come across this year—which will hopefully give you some Christmas cheer: 

If you want to track where Santa is headed right now, check out this site….

 Norad Tracks Santa 

And if you’d like to listen to a terrific radio station online, try

(My favorite Christmas “station” is “The Nutcracker”)

If you’d like to go caroling, but can’t remember the words to your favorite Christmas songs, here’s a helpful site:

And for a lovely last minute Christmas card:  

If you’d like to read a few classic Christmas stories, check out ebooks:

A Christmas Carol


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas


For how to say “Merry Christmas” around the globe: For the First Christmas Story:  And for the story behind the story:   

And finally, here are a few great Holiday Videos:

It’s a Wonderful Life (Ending)

2 Josh Groban songs:

Polar Express “Believe”



What Christmas is all about: A Charlie Brown Christmas


Answers to The Six Degrees of Paul Allen Anniversary Contest 

 So the prizes didn’t jazz you, eh? C’mon, how many people do you know who have a Darth Vader Jump Drive? Oh well, I had to choose between giving out a Star Wars USB Drive or a new Xbox 360 Elite, and I knew that no one would want one of those, so….:-)

(But seriously, you might want to check out Dynamism’s site.  There are a few really cool items for sale including some sharp-looking futuristic sunglasses that double as a 50-inch plasma screen T.V. when connected to your video Ipod—well, something that feels like a 50-inch screen T.V., anyway—the “I-Theater” sunglasses are actually small enough to fold up and put in your pocket!   Or you could check out the  iTech Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard –why lug around a real keyboard when you can flash a virtual lighted keyboard and type on just about  anything? (see… and   ). Pretty cutting edge stuff, you know?  

 But anyway—let’s get back to the contest ….. I know you’re just dying to know the answers, so here they are!  


(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 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?  

Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.  Also— See Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews’ biography, “Gates; How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry—and Made Himself the Richest Man in America” pp.68—76. 

The story goes something like this…. Paul Allen and Bill Gates were friends who had worked with computers since high school. They had been following the development of microprocessors, and knew that they had tremendous potential.  One day Allen was walking across Harvard Square when he saw the headline of the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics—“World’s First Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models”—with a photo of an Altair computer on the cover.  

He knew that this was what he and Bill Gates, then a Harvard student,  were waiting for. The Altair was a computer with limited capabilities and no software—yet at the time it was a breakthrough machine—-other mainframe computers of the day were huge, expensive refrigerator-like contraptions—and here hobbyists had the exciting opportunity to own their own, affordable PC!  For 1975 it was like something out of a science fiction novel. 

Allen and Gates had never seen an Altair, but had designed a simulator for another business they had started together called Trafodata.  They knew it was possible, then, to design a software program for the Altair on a large PDP-10 computer.  Harvard just happened to have one of those, and Paul Allen took on the task of designing a simulator for the program they would be writing for the Altair. Bill Gates then started designing the Basic programming language itself. A third friend from Harvard, Monte Davidoff, worked on the math routines for the program.

Tall and bearded, Allen was the oldest-looking person in the group, so he was chosen to meet with MITS Director,  Ed Roberts to demonstrate the program the guys had invented. When Allen arrived at the Albuquerque airport, he expected to meet a professional in a business suit. But MITS director Ed Roberts was instead an earthy-looking guy who arrived in a pickup truck. Roberts’ company, MITS, was located in a dusty strip mall that also housed an office supply shop and a massage parlor. It was not exactly the Ritz. But Allen was not the only one who was surprised. Roberts was equally disconcerted when the software professional who was listed on Trafodata letterhead as  “President” of the company could not even afford the cost of an overnight stay at a local hotel!  Nonetheless, the next day, when the Altair had passed all of its memory tests and was ready for Allen’s program, the software that Allen and Gates wrote for the computer actually worked!

 Paul Allen returned home to greet his friend Bill Gates with a brand new Altair computer provided by MITS and a new title, “Vice President and Director of Software at MITS.”  

(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? 

 Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.  Allen purchased the Portland Trailblazers from Larry Weinberg in 1988 for $70 million dollars. The team was his first major purchase since Microsoft went public in 1986, and his first purchase of a professional sports team (though it wouldn’t be the last).  The team is still a favorite with Allen, who recently spent millions of dollars on new players this year in order to give the Blazers a winning edge in the upcoming season. 

 (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?  

Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.  Allen owns the megayacht Octopus, which was at one time the largest privately owned yacht in the world. Allen was reportedly not on board at the time of the rescue but the crew members of his ship were the heroes of the day when they saved the lives of seven people during a violent storm near Port Alfred, South Africa. The 414 ft yacht crew responded to a distress call that was sent out to whomever was nearby, and Allen’s ship was large enough to withstand seas so heavy that rescue teams could not come close to the area  for several hours. 

 (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. ( )  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? 

 Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.  If you have a chance, read Laura Vecsey’s editorial (above), written at a time when saving the Seahawks and keeping them in Seattle was a Quixotic dream held by a few  diehard fans. In 1996, SOS—the Save Our Seahawks group  who showed up to meet the players on their expectedly brief return to Seattle—were thought of as the “poor betrayed fans, who go down fighting like Don Quixote against the windmill.”    Enter Seattle’s Clark Kent, Paul Allen.   Although Allen’s father played football, Allen bought the team before he became an avid football fan, more than anything else as a favor to his hometown. The postscript for this story is that Allen purchased the Seahawks and then helped to build a stadium, eventually taking the team to the Superbowl. Check out this video of Allen raising the 12th Man flag at the NFC championship game the year the Seahawks went to the Superbowl. As Paul Allen appeared before a packed stadium crowd at that game, the marquee flashed “He Saved Our Seahawks” and the fans cheered so loudly that it shook Qwest Field Arena.  What a moment! 

(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? 

 Answer: Bill and Melinda Gates. 


What the Gates’ are doing is truly heroic. See this excerpt from Time Magazine:  

“Every year malaria kills 1 million people—most of them African children under age 5. When Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, 50, and his wife Melinda, 41, were looking for ways to give away their prodigious wealth, they assumed that such monumental problems were being worked on. Instead, Melinda says, they found a “vacuum that does need to be stepped into.” Step they did: the Gates Foundation now provides more than a third of the world’s entire malaria-research funding, and it’s paying off. The most effective drug to treat the disease, naturally occurring artemisinin, is in devastatingly short supply. But last month Gates-funded scientists announced that they had created the technology to manufacture artemisinic acid synthetically. Within five years, the cost of a lifesaving supply is expected to drop from $2.40 to 25 cents. Lead researcher Jay Keasling says it would not have been possible without a $43 million Gates grant. “I had companies call me and say, ‘This is great, but we can’t give you any money. We can’t make a profit on this,'” he says. But even if millions are saved from malaria, there will be more diseases and more death. The Gateses’ most profound influence has been to change expectations. Their belief that every life should have equal value, backed by their $29 billion endowment in the foundation, has injected hope not only into global health but also into their other priorities: public education, public libraries and at-risk families. The couple demands from grantees the same relentless focus on results expected of Microsoft employees and takes away the classic excuse for failure: not enough money. They have inspired others—from medical students, who are entering global-health fields in unprecedented numbers, to governments, which are putting billions into Gates initiatives. Says Jimmy Carter: “This is the most important foundation in the world.” 

(6) This famous photo, taken in 1978, depicts the early Microsoft crew. 

See…  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?  

 Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.   Often this photo is depicted with the caption: “Would you have invested?” These 11 early Microsoft employees look more like they belonged in a commune than as a part of one of the most successful companies of all time.  But behind the long hair and beards were the people who laid the foundation for the founders’ vision of  a “computer on every desk and in every home all running Microsoft software.”  

(7) Vulcan Productions (,  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?  

Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen (are you beginning to see a pattern here :-)???


(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? 

 Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.


Paul on guitar

Paul Performing at the Recent Live Earth ConcertScroll sideways to video #58 Spinal Tap’s “Big Bottom” (You’ll have to wait a moment for the menu to appear—there’s a commercial that appears first. The menu is on the left…..”play clip” segment 57-63.) and

Paul’s “Grown Men” Rock Band Site: 

(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).  

Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen. (See previous posts of this blog)  

(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…

Answer: Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen.

The story of the Cinerama goes like this: (Excerpt from… “Eight Ways to Save a Cinema” by Lisa Gray, Houston Chronicle)

”In the late ’90s, Paul Allen was renting a video when he saw a petition
to save Seattle’s Cinerama Theatre from being razed to make way for
downtown development. The Microsoft mogul remembered the theater from its 1960s
heyday, and he loved its giant screen. He signed the petition.

And then — you see where this is going — he bought that whole block
of Seattle, including the theater. Through his holding company, he spent
millions of dollars to restore the Cinerama to its groovy glory, complete
with retro mohair seats. At the same time, he updated the
single-screen, 808-seat theater for the digital age, making it one of the highest-tech
movie theaters in the world.
Allen hooked up with AMC Theatres, and the Cinerama now operates as a
first-run movie house, the kind of place where people line up to see
Snakes on a Plane. Seattle Weekly readers regularly vote it the city’s best

Does Allen think he’ll make his money back? Jason Hunke, Allen’s
spokesman, says the theater operates at a profit and the mogul may develop an
empty parking lot next door. But Allen’s investment was about saving the
theater, not about wringing the maximum return on his money.  The Cinerama, Hunke
says, “is his gift to the city.” 

Seattle’s Clark Kent strikes again!!!


So those are the answers to the Six Degrees of Paul Allen Anniversary Quiz!  When it all comes down to it, this was not such a hard test after all, was it? 🙂  

 Now to start on this next year’s Six Degrees links to Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen, including Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, architect Frank Gehry, the Antikythera Mechanism and The Earl of Sandwich…..Stay Tuned!   (In the meantime, “Darth” and I will be going…..:-)

Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen has just ventured into the banking industry. 

Allen’s company is teaming up with an Atlanta-based private-equity investment firm to form a joint venture called Vulcan Banker’s Group LLC. According to Vulcan Capital’s David Capobianco, the group will consider three types of investments; troubled banks, impaired real estate loans and unusually well-run banks in the
Southeast U.S. 

 Vulcan’s partners have had some significant experience in the business, with a collective 150 years in the banking industry, and have had some notable successes as well, including an impressive turnaround of one community bank, Flag Financial Corp., from $500 million to $1.8 billion.

It sounds like this banking venture could be very promising for Paul Allen, and it struck me how much Allen’s Vulcan has changed during the last few years.

  In 2003 after a series of losses, Paul Allen began to re-assess his business strategies, and publicly resolved to make some radical changes.  

Allen started out by replacing one seriously overworked finance guy with a brain trust of experienced, Ivy League business wizards who oversee his multibillion dollar investment portfolio.


Since then Allen’s Vulcan has renovated its holdings, sloughing off under performing businesses and replacing them with steady, solid, almost boring investments in oil pipelines, insurance, real estate (and now banking). 

 …Which brings me to this article I saw recently on Paul Allen’s Charter Cable Company.    Paul Allen’s Charter Communications, one of the top cable companies in the
U.S., has had its share of problems in years past, but it was reviewed and even recommended last month by Jim Cramer from Mad Money on CNBC due to its recent ability to restructure its debt load.  


 The biggest asset Charter has, though, is its Chairman, Paul Allen:  

From : “In an unusual step, Allen commented on Charter’s results in a news release on quarterly results issued Wednesday. Allen said he is “bullish on the prospects of cable in general,” and said Charter has made “significant progress in improving its operations.” ” *  

Deep-pocketed Allen is devoted to Charter, and has a vested interest in its success. Charter has long been the cornerstone of his “Wired World” dream, something he’s envisioned since the 70’s.

 See…“Inside Out: Microsoft—In our own words.” P.5) 

 When Charter was going through its most difficult challenges in 2003, Allen loaned the company $300 million dollars of his own money rather than see it fail.  

And it looks like whatever happens, Allen will be there to see it through.

 I once convinced a guy to buy Charter—well, sort of.  

 A few years ago I was doing some research on Paul Allen and checked out a few magazine articles from our local librarian.   The guy had just read the biography of Allen that had come out in 2003, and because of it had a less than favorable view of the Microsoft Co-founder, an opinion which he subsequently expressed to me.  

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I have a few ideas of my own on the subject, and so we had a lengthy, friendly but lively discussion. 

 A few years later I saw the same librarian and recognized him. I was about to say something like, “I know you don’t remember me, but…” …..when he blurted out—“I have Charter stock!”  

Now, Charter was having a few problems at the time, so I proceeded with caution. 

“Is that a …good….thing?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “I know that the company is not doing well right now, but you just have to have faith that Paul Allen is going to turn things around.” 

 I was floored. During our last discussion the guy was really negative about the Microsoft Co-founder, and here he was expressing undying loyalty to him!    What happened? 

 “Well,” he said, “After I talked to you, I started asking around about Paul Allen and did a little research of my own on the guy. What I discovered moved me to go out and buy Charter stock.” 

 Well, o.k., so maybe I can’t take all the credit here. The truth is, that we never even talked about Charter*1 during that first conversation. He made his decision based upon his own research, and if he had asked around about Paul Allen where he worked, he probably didn’t have to look far to find an Allen fan—the Allen family has always been very generous to the libraries.  

But at least maybe I got him to take a second look, you know? 🙂  

….Which is not such a bad idea—to take a second look, I mean—at Allen, at Vulcan….maybe even at Charter. You have to do your own research, of course, but you might want to try it and see what you come up with.  You never know what could happen…..


* Charter growth reflects bundling of services By Jerri Stroud


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

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

 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…..:)


(* (BTW—the Andy Warhol links are coming soon—I promise!:)

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