The Life Story of Paul Allen

a portrait of Paul Allen with an image of the microsoft building in the background.

Most people know Bill Gates as the entrepreneur and technologist behind Microsoft. However, another man played an essential role in the founding and early success of this software corporation. His name is Paul Gardner Allen.

The friendship between Allen and Gates started when they were both in high school.

The two had an enthusiasm for computers. They learned to program early in life and used this knowledge to establish a few businesses, the most resounding one being Microsoft.

The Life Story of Paul Allen

Paul Allen was the one who showed Gates the article that led to the creation of Microsoft. Join us as we discuss his story, from childhood to life in Microsoft and after.

Childhood and Early Life

Paul Gardner Allen was born in Seattle, Washington, on January 21, 1953. His father, Kenneth Sam Allen, worked as a librarian and associate director at the University of Washington Libraries.

His mother, Edna Faye, was a fourth-grade teacher. Allen grew up in an upper-middle-class community in Seattle.


In 1965, Allen joined Lakeside Preparatory School. Here, he met and befriended Bill Gates. Allen and Gates shared an interest in computers and were lucky to be in a school that encouraged its students to play around with computing equipment.

Allen and Gates spent most of their free time in the computer lab programming and learning every function and element of a computer.

After graduation in 1971, Paul Allen enrolled at Washington State University. He, however, dropped out in 1974 and got a programming job at Honeywell Inc. in Boston. At this time, Gates was pursuing a law degree at Harvard University. The two, however, kept in touch.

On one occasion in 1975, Allen approached Gates and showed him an article featuring the Altair 8800, an early personal computer. The two were so fascinated by the device that they thought of creating software for it.

Founding Microsoft

The founding of Microsoft is a classic case of opportunity meeting preparation. Both Allen and Gates possessed excellent programming skills.

When they saw the article featuring Altair 8800, they contacted MITS, the manufacturer, to ask if they could create software for its computer. The president of MITS agreed, provided they presented a demonstration.

Allen and Gates spent a few months programming the software using BASIC and presented it to MITS.

MITS offered Gates and Allen a contract to create software for the Altair 8800 and offered Allen a job as vice president and software director. Allen worked at MITS but quit after a couple of months to work full-time at Microsoft with Bill Gates.

Allen served as the vice president and chief technologist of Microsoft. In 1980, he helped the company secure a deal with IBM to develop an operating system for IBM PCs.

This deal helped Microsoft generate millions in royalties and become eminent to customers and enthusiasts in the PC industry.

Life After Microsoft

Paul Allen left Microsoft in 1983 after getting diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. He underwent several months of treatment and recovered. Some say Bill Gates pushed him out.

Others claim he left Microsoft of his own volition to pursue other business interests. However, he remained friends with Gates after leaving Microsoft. Allen also retained his seat on the Microsoft board, which he relinquished in 2000.

After leaving Microsoft, Allen focused on starting other business projects. In 1986, he and his sister, Jody, established a holding company called Vulcan Ventures. He wanted this company to oversee his investments.

Allen also acquired the Portland Trail Blazers, a professional basketball team, in 1988. In 1990, he partnered with Patton to establish the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Allen wanted his foundation to strengthen Pacific Northwest communities.

Allen resigned from Microsoft’s board in 2000. He also sold a majority of his stake in the company. Allen established other entities, including the Experience Music Project (EMP) in 2000, Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003, and Allen Science Fiction Museum in 2004. He also became the co-owner of the Seattle Sounders, a soccer team in Seattle.

Allen published his memoir Idea Man in 2011, which describes Microsoft’s rise and his relationship with Gates. His investment portfolio ran deep, which made him one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Personal Life

Even though Allen desired to one day have a family, he never married nor had children. He almost married his ex-girlfriend in 1976 but felt he was too young to marry.

The Death of Paul Gardner Allen

Paul Gardner Allen passed away in 2018 due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His condition caused a septic shock that ultimately led to his death. He was 65 years old. His sister became the trustee for his property and was responsible for executing his will.


Paul Allen TimeLine


Paul Allen comes to the world in Seattle, Washington.


Allen joins Lakeside Preparatory School.


Allen meets and befriends Bill Gates.


Allen joins Washington State University.


Allen drops out of Washington State University.


Allen and Gates establish Microsoft.


Allen gets diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma but recovers a year later.


Allen leaves Microsoft but retains his shares and seat on the company’s board.


Allen sets up Vulcan Ventures and engages in other philanthropic interests.


Allen acquires the Portland Trail Blazer, a basketball team.


Allen establishes the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.


Allen acquires a stake in the Seattle Seahawks, a soccer team.


Allen and Patton establish the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum in Seattle.


Allen donates $14 million to the University of Washington to construct Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering.


Allen and Patton establish the Allen Institute for Brain Science.


Allen gets diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (for the second time) but recovers.


Paul Allen publishes his memoir, Idea Man.


Allen donates $100 million to fight Ebola and another $100 million to open an institute called Allen Institute for Cell Science.


Allen passes away due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Explore More About Paul Allen

In the following sections, you can explore more about the life of Paul Allen. Since most links lead to search results, you are guaranteed to find the latest and most popular information.


  1. Paul Allen was the one who came up with the name Micro-soft, which is a hyphenation for microcomputers and software. The hyphen was dropped in 1976.
  2. Allen, like Bill Gates, was a philanthropist. He donated more than $2 billion to charitable activities.
  3. Paul Allen was also a band musician. He played the guitar, having received his first at 16 years.

Search Results –  Facts about Paul Allen


Here are just a few quotes you can find from Paul Allen. Check out the link below for more.

In this section, you can view all quotes from Paul Allen. Before you reach the link, I have provided a few that stand out for me.

“In my experience, each failure contains the seeds of your next success–if you are willing to learn from it.”

“Here’s what the death knell for the personal computer will sound like: Mainly I use my phone/paid, but I still use my PC to write long e-mails and documents. Most people aren’t there yet, but that’s where we’re headed”

“You look at things you enjoy in your life, but much more important is what you can do to make the world a better place.”

“Technology is notorious for engrossing people so much that they don’t always focus on balance and enjoy life at the same time.”

“In the first eight or so years at Microsoft, we were always chained to our terminals, and after I got sick the first time, I decided that I was going to be more adventurous and explore more of the world.”

“The possible is constantly being redefined, and I care deeply about helping humanity move forward.”

“History shows that you ignore emerging platforms at your peril, because one of them might make you irrelevant.”

Search Results – Paul Allen quotes.

Paul Allen’s Net Worth

As of the time of his death, Allen’s net worth was estimated to be $20.3 billion, making him the 44th richest person in the world according to Forbes. For more information related to PAul Allens net worth, see the link below.

Search Results – Paul Allen’s Net Worth

Lessons Learned

Some of the tips we can apply from Paul Allen include; surrounding yourself with positive people; sharing your dreams; learning from your failures, and thinking big.

A good habit is to learn from successful people. Some lessons may make sense to you and others may not. You can take the lessons that make sense to you and apply them. The more people you learn from, the more strategies you’ll have.

Search Results – Lessons Learned From Paul Allen.


If you want to get more details about the life of Paul Allen you can check out the books available using the links below including the following:

Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft
Paul Allen – 2011

Artist Management for the Music Business
Paul Allen – 2012

View the most recent Google search results for Books about Paul Allen.


My source for news is Google News, which is a search engine for stories covered by the media. The link below shows the stores covered by the media related to Paul Allen.

See Google’s news search results related to Paul Allen.


Explore Paul Allen’s life and accomplishments through YouTube videos, including interviews with him and what others have to say about him.

See the most recent videos related to Paul Allen.

Images – Paul Allen – Microsoft Building