Paul allen

On April 10, 1998, just four days after the Wall Street Journal published an illustrated story about Paul Allen's purchase of Marcus Cable, artist Noli Novak updated the Journal's portrait of the bearded software entrepreneur. But before the hedcut ran, word came back: Allen had shaved. The situation was not unlike that greeting printmakers in 1860 who learned that Abraham Lincoln, President-elect of the United States, had suddenly grown a beard. Rather than attempting to add whiskers to a plate, however, Novak simply redrew Allen, basing her portrait on a photograph showing his new look: an open–collared shirt rather than a traditional suit, smaller glasses, hair brushed back, ring visible on his right hand.

Growing up in a suburb of Seattle, Allen was first exposed to the potential of the computer as a ninth-grader at the Lakeside School when a group of mothers had a teletype machine connected to a remote mainframe installed. Together with his friend Bill Gates, Allen developed his interest in the machines at a local computer center. In 1971, during his first year at Washington State University, he and Gates developed a program to monitor traffic volume. Micro-Soft was born in 1975. The company quickly prospered and in 1980 received the opportunity to help develop the IBM PC, IBM's first personal computer.

Allen distanced himself from Microsoft in the early 1980s, after battling Hodgkin's disease. Since 1985, Allen, who retained his stock in Microsoft and a place on the company's board, has become involved with a wide variety of ventures, ranging from sports teams—the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers—to Ticketmaster, to the development of Interval Research, a technology think tank. The diversity of Allen's investments reflects his broad thinking about the future. As he explained in 1994 "The marriage of video technology, computer technology, and networking is . . . a sea change, where you try to ride the incredible wave that's coming . . . So you say, 'We're getting a whole new medium here; what can we really do that people haven't thought of in their individual areas?' . . . What wholly new applications and user interfaces and products and services can you deliver?"