Paul Allen was born on the 21st January 1953, in Seattle, Washington, to Kenneth Samuel Allen and Edna Faye Allen.
Both his parents were librarians (his father an associate director of the university of Washington). They passed on their love for learning which ultimately showed the world where Paul got his passion from. From a young age it was clear Mr. Allen had an exciting and rewarding career ahead of him.
His parents would take him and his sister Jody to museums, galleries and concerts. At the tender age of just 10 years old his mother would host science clubs, incredible, when you think back to when you were just 10 and what you were doing.
As time moved on so did Mr. Allen’s education and it was at Lakeside School in Seattle where he would meet and become good friends with Bill Gates. Allen got into Washington State University with an SAT score of 1600 but dropped out after only two years to work for Honeywell in Boston as a programmer.
It was at this stage in his early career that he convinced his friend Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard.
We all know what happened when these two geniuses partnered up – they created Microsoft.
In 1983 he stepped aside as Microsoft’s executive vice-president due to the diagnosis of stage 1-A Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Everyone knows who Bill Gates is but it was Allen who developed the personal computer and came up with the name Microsoft.
Moving away from business, Allen was a very humble and generous man. He didn’t believe in storing his wealth but giving it away to people who needed it or could do good with it. Technology, science, education, the arts and community are some of the areas in which Allen gave over $2 billion to help and nurture them. Allen Institute for Brain Science was set up by Allen and he donated over $500 million, making it the single largest philanthropic institute.
In 2014, Allen created TackleEbola.org to raise awareness of the epidemic, he also donated $100 million in the fight against the virus which swept through West Africa. The list of charities, companies, schools and people that Mr. Allen helped is endless, it shows how much he believed in them and cared not for his wealth but the progression of both people and businesses.
His love for Seattle is on show all over the city from the South Lake Union business park which was created from car parks and strip clubs to the development of CenturyLink Field. Sport was a huge part of his many hobbies.
He purchased the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA) in 1988 and Seattle Seahawks (NFL) in 1997, winning Super Bowl XLVIII. Allen’s Vulcan Sports and Entertainment part own the Seattle Sounders (MLA) and during their first season in 2009 they sold out every home game, a testament to what Allen had created in a state-of-the-art stadium in CenturyLink Field and the love that the people of Seattle had for him.
Music was something which Allen enjoyed, creating his own band ‘The Underthinkers’. They released their first album ‘Everywhere At Once’ in 2013. He loved his big boy toys and they didn’t come any bigger than his 414-foot yacht, Octopus. The same boat was loaned out on several occasions, once on a search and rescue mission for a missing American pilot and two officers whose plane disappeared off the island of Palau, another example of the kind of man Allen was, always willing to help in anyway he knew he could. Never married and with no children Paul Allen’s legacy will live on through his passion of improving the world we live in and one of Bill Gates’ memories of Allen is him saying ‘If it has potential to do good, then we should do it’.
A genius, a billionaire, a philanthropist, a human.