Paul Gardner Allen
(born January 21, 1953) is an American computer programmer and
entrepreneur who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. Allen regularly appears on lists
of the richest people in the world. In March 2008,
ranked him as the 41st richest
man in the world while in September 2008, the magazine placed him 12th on its list of
the richest Americans with a net worth estimated at $16 billion.
Founded one of the world's most lucrative and influential companies, the Microsoft
Corporation, in 1974, The Company’s products revolutionized personal computing and
made founders Allen and Bill Gates billionaires. Allen left the company in 1983 due to
illness, and has since invested in a wide variety of projects in the technology,
entertainment, sports, and aerospace fields. In addition, he has contributed substantial
amounts of money to various charities and research organizations.
Paul Allen is the world's most obscure celebrity, its hippest geek, its most flamboyant
introvert. He is also one of its most successful dropouts. The other is Bill Gates, Allen's
Seattle high school chum, with whom he founded a company called Microsoft in 1975.
Having made his fortune as innovatively as he did, Allen has always been diligent about
spending it just as imaginatively. He bought the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL and the
Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA to keep them in his beloved Pacific Northwest, and he
bankrolled Spaceship One, winner of the Ansari X Prize for the first private manned
Most promisingly, he established the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which has
produced an atlas of gene activity in the mouse brain, mapping 20,000 genes so far.
Nobody, arguably, needs to know that much about the brain of the mouse, but science
always needs to know more about the human brain, and since the first often serves as
such a fine template for the second, Allen's work can help advance the entire
neuroscience field. Shy in personality but dashing in vision, Allen shows how a