What else would you like to know about Paul Allen? 

I can think of a million things that I’d like to know—questions that I’d love for him to answer in his upcoming autobiography.
Like, for example…
  • What has been the greatest source of happiness in your life?
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement(s)?
  • And, perhaps the biggest question of all:   Do you believe that money can buy happiness?
I’m just wondering,  because if anyone in the world could buy happiness, it would be you, Paul.
I’m not saying that money is all you have–in fact, it’s because of the other resources that you have that money hasn’t become a problem.
You’re not evil, for starters. You have integrity.   And so you are capable of using your resources for good, and of not being consumed by them due to personal vice.  You’re imaginative and brilliant, with wide-ranging interests and talents, you have a pioneer’s fearlessness and an artist’s sense of perfection.  The money is just one more resource, but it seems as if it makes the other qualities more impactful.  You use your money to make bigger footprints and to do great things—the sheer volume of what you can contribute makes that a given, right?
And so I imagine that you could answer this question from a really unique perspective. You once told me that you were happy.  So I guess my next question is  “Why?” Did the money hurt or help? Or does it make any difference at all?
 How would you answer the question: “Can money buy happiness?”

 Just wondering…… 🙂


In any case….here are a few more Paul Allen quotes that give a pretty decent portrait of the man—so onto Paul Allen: In his own words…..
On how a brush with death changed his life: 

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Seattle, WA)
Date: 7/1/1997
Author: Wallace, James 

 The turning point in Allen’s once hard-driving life came in 1982, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of cancer. He underwent months of painful radiation and chemotherapy while trying to continue the demanding pace required at Microsoft. He could not. So he quit the company that he and Gates had founded in 1975. He later returned to serve on the board of directors.
“To be 30 years old and have that kind of shock – to face your mortality – really makes you feel like you should do some of the things that you haven’t done
,” Allen said in an interview with Fortune magazine two years ago on the occasion of Microsoft’s 20th birthday.
Allen’s cancer went into remission. It has not returned. But the illness changed his life.  


On Being Recognized in Public 


 I do get recognized when I go out in public sometimes, but it just depends on the time and place – and it never deters me from doing anything. It’s nice when people say “hi” or “thanks” – it helps me remember that I’m able to help the community in some way and that my charitable work is making a   difference for people.  


On Paul’s Father:



Paul Allen’s Thoughts Drift to His Father 

Steve Kelley 


Seattle Times  



Part of the bond between Allen and his father developed while watching and playing games. Father and son rooting hard for the home team. Father and son playing catch in the street. 

“My dad had a real love of sports, and I feel sad that he’s not able to be here to share in the enjoyment of being here at the Super Bowl,” Allen said Friday afternoon, sitting in a small conference room on the 39th floor of the Renaissance Center.”You share all those sports moments  growing up. Then you’re in something like the Super Bowl, and unfortunately he can’t be there with you. That was true as well of being in the NBA Finals with the [Portland Trail] Blazers.” 

Kenneth Allen, who died in November 1983, taught his son how to throw a tight spiral. He took Paul to Washington games at Husky Stadium. They saw their first great sports spectacle together, the 1964 Rose Bowl, where Washington lost to Illinois, 17-7. 

For Kenneth and Paul Allen, sports were always there. The common language. The shared experience. Kenneth Allen would understand how difficult it was for Paul to get to this game. He would appreciate the heartbreaks and heartthrobs his son experienced since purchasing the Seahawks in 1997. 

“My dad was a pretty good high-school athlete,” Allen said. “He was a center on the football team in Oklahoma and a forward on the basketball team. I still have a picture of me wearing the leather helmet he wore when he played in high school. 

“I think he’d be happy that the team was able to get here. I just wish he’d gotten the chance to talk with Mike [Holmgren] and some of the players on the team and enjoy some of those kinds of things.” 


On Family

When you moved the company from Albuquerque, was there some consideration of moving to the Silicon Valley? Was the UW also a factor in coming back to Seattle?
Albuquerque was a great place, but I missed my family and missed living in the Northwest. I’m a Seattle native and my roots are deep here—Bill and I thought it was time to go home and see what we could accomplish in Seattle. Bill and I also thought that people in the Bay Area seemed to change jobs every 18 months, and we would have a more stable and focused workforce up in Seattle than if we moved to the Bay Area—and is was much easier to hire people and relocate them to Seattle than to Albuquerque.
Jumping ahead a few years, you left Microsoft in 1983 and took some time off. Sadly, your father died that same year. Just five years later, you decided to make what I believe is your first major philanthropic gift: $11.9 million to create the Kenneth S. Allen Endowment at the UW. Can you tell us how you got the idea for the gift?
My father had worked at UW as the associate director of libraries and obviously I had many great experiences on campus—from the library to the early computer experiences we talked about. My family wanted to give back to the University to help make sure that students for many generations to come have access to the tools they need—whether it’s an outstanding library or a great computer center or a top-notch arts center (the Faye Allen Center for the Visual Arts at the Henry) that can make a difference in their lives

 Paul Allen Unplugged Dec. 2003 Columns UW magazine
Tom Griffin  

On How to Make a Difference

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.
In my experience, nothing is as rewarding as teamwork that results in
something that helps and benefits many people.

The same mindset of fearlessness, new thinking and passion applies at
least as much as in technology, and the personal rewards in these areas
can be just as great if not greater.

My mother’s passion, for example, was teaching elementary  school after
she was a librarian.  I have heard on many occasions how her former
students have expressed how she enriched and influenced their lives.
A legacy like this is just as essential to building our society as any
corporate 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 
Discover Magazine Interview   Evan Ratliff     4/23/07 

“When you and Gates started out, how ambitious were you?
We knew that microcomputers with software on them could have some impact, and certainly they were cheap. A big part of the success of Microsoft was that every year, the chips our software ran on got faster and cheaper. They doubled in capability every 18 months under Moore’s law. Even to this day, every year they get better and the price doesn’t change. It’s amazing, and that was a huge driver of our success. When we were starting Microsoft, we were thinking if we were really successful we would have something like 35 employees. On the other hand, in the back of our minds we were thinking, “Wow, if a lot of people bought a cheap computer . . . ” We had glimmerings of it.
How did the collaboration between the two of you work in those early days?
We split the programming tasks. I was familiar with the software that ran on mainframes and minicomputers that will let you emulate chips. And Bill bit off some of the really complicated stuff and did a great job architecting the overall design of the Basic program. Bill was always very focused on the external relationships and the business management part of it, whereas I was more attracted toward seeing where the leading edge of the technology was going. So we were a good complement to each other.
Do you guys reminisce about the old times?
Yes, we always have a laugh because it’s hard to explain the incredible level of fun we had. We talk about how Bill would sleep on the carpet at the office. The secretary would come in and see Bill’s feet sticking out of the door. We were very hard-core. Our only recreational activity was going to the movies. And then we would program until two, three, four in the morning and then get up fairly late, go back, and do it again. We just loved it. We had a great time.
In a weird way you and Gates still seem to follow parallel paths. Do you ever talk about entering a philanthropic collaboration?
We are always looking to find some areas of overlap in our philanthropic stuff. We’ve had so much success doing things before; it feels good. Recently we’ve been talking about doing something together on the frontiers of energy.” 


On Whether He Would have Done Anything Differently in the Early Days of Microsoft: 


Paul Allen Q & A 

 Q&A: Paul Allen reflects on early days at Microsoft, friendship with Gates
Friday, September 23, 2005  


 “Q: Is there anything that you would have done differently in the early days of the company? 

Allen: Not really. … We had a lot of fun back in those days. We worked tremendously long hours. Of course, Bill was going to Harvard, and I was working in Albuquerque. I kept trying to persuade him to leave school and was able to finally convince him that working at Microsoft was more important than going to Harvard, which it took his parents a long time to forgive me for, but I think they did in the end. 


On Microsoft’s Success: 

“We were in the right place at the right time. Certainly, we had dreams that we could start a successful company. But to look back and say in hindsight that we knew it would amount to all this—I don’t think that would be accurate.”   Inside Out: Microsoft—In our own words Sept. 2000 Microsoft 


On What Might Have Happened Had He Stayed at Microsoft: 



Q: Obviously, you left (Microsoft) under circumstances that were beyond your control. (Allen left his executive position with the company in 1983 as he battled Hodgkin’s disease.) Do you ever stop and think about what things would have been like had you remained? 

Allen: I don’t know if I would have been involved with sports teams and different kinds of philanthropy and other kinds of technology explorations if I had been at Microsoft, so my life took a dramatically different turn after I left. Obviously, if I had been at Microsoft, it would have been working on the same kinds of things. Would Microsoft products have been different with my contribution? We’ll never know the answer to that question, but certainly I feel like I’ve had a lot of fun, done a lot of exciting and different, unusual things, like SpaceShipOne, since I left Microsoft.”   Paul Allen Q&A: Paul Allen reflects on early days at Microsoft, friendship with Gates
Friday, September 23, 2005  

What else would you like to know about Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen?  Well, there’s more….stay tuned for Paul Allen: In His Own Words (Part Three)