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Remembering Paul Allen: In the beginning, there was Traf-O-Data and Hendrix



In the hours after Paul Allen's death Monday afternoon, remembrances and appreciation of the polymath mogul poured in from friends and colleagues .

Bill Gates described immediately looking at Allen when he met him in the seventh grade at Lakeside School. Allen was two years his senior, "what's cooler than I was," he said. "Gates recalls the future of computing and what's really tall," Gates recalls.

He has a unique view of his life. Even at an early age, he was a wealth of sometimes obscure knowledge. For example, Gates was curious about refining gasoline, he wrote at his personal blog Tuesday.

"I turned to the most knowledgeable person I knew," Gates recalled. "Paul explained it in a super-clear and interesting way."

Paul Allen: 1
953-2018

But it was Allen's budding knowledge of computers, paired with Gates' interest and curiosity

"Even in high school, what did it say? what a computer was it? what predicting that computer chips would get super-powerful and would eventually give rise to a whole new industry, "Gates wrote.

The first thing they did was call a business what traf-o-data.

At an event in 2017 to celebrate the naming of the Paul G. Allen, School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Allen. Allen took the purple-clad stage and took the podium next to an odd-looking machine.

Before Microsoft or even Micro-Soft (its original name ), what the seminal Allen-Gates venture. Paul Gilbert, on the famous Intel 8008 8-bit chip – designed to automate traffic measurements.

There are no Traf-O-Data millionaires living it

"The Understanding of microprocessors has been taken for granted in the future," Allen told the audience at UW, adding, "If it was not for our Traf-O-Data venture … you could not argue that Microsoft might have happened. I hope the lesson here are few true dead-ends in technology and entrepreneurship.

Microsoft was a frugal, no-sure-thing operation in its early days, and the co-founders knew it.

Greg Whitten first met Paul Allen in 1978, when Allen visited the Atlanta-area offices of Compucolor, where Whiten had a hand in pirating an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Basic.

Not long after the National Computer Conference in New York City, Whitten said, Allen invited him to the plaza Hotel, where Microsoft had rented a suite. This was not because they were high-rollers: Whitten, who joined Microsoft not long after, recalls 13 employees sleeping everywhere – even on the floor. It's cheaper than getting them all rooms.

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Roger McNamee, longtime tech investor and founder of Elevation Partners recalled that several times a year, Paul Allen and a few other musicians would jam and perform at the personal computer industry conferences – indeed, music was a big part of Allen's life.

McNamee was then an industry analyst, and normally did not get into the band. But he was an accomplished musician and knew a long list of songs – talents the band, called The Random Axes, needed.

When they were playing music, the gap between Microsoft's co-founder and industry analyst was instantly bridged, McNamee said

"Music is one of those ways you get to know other people," he said.

Allen did not know quite as many songs, but the ones he did, he had down note for note. Purple Haze, McNamee always hung back on his guitar.

"It's a thing of beauty," he said.

Gates, too, his portfolio was heavy with Jimi Hendrix's songs and when he played Dear Allen's love of Hendrix, another iconic Seattleite.

"I remember him playing 'Are You Experienced?' for me," Gates wrote. Gates to another of his passions, sports.

When Mike Slade heard Paul Allen had bought the Portland Trail Blazers in 1988, Slade wrote a lengthy email detailing how much he loved the team, which he had grown up watching.

Slade worked at Microsoft at the time and had worked with Allen briefly before the co-founder left in 1983. They did not know each other well, and Slade did not figure the short email exchange would lead anywhere.

Allen flew down on a private jet, and the two hit it off.

"He what's super-generous and sweet, "said Slade, who in 1993 created Allen Starwave, a software company that created ESPN.com.

Slade remembers the massive whiteboard Allen would keep his office covered in one-word ideas. Hey was always bursting with them, Slade said.

But you did not watch out, he'd give you more than you can handle, he remembered, laughing autonomy to run the company as he saw fit, and he wrote checks freely. Hey so, expected results.

"He did not really want to hear about how hard an idea what to do, hey just wanted them done," Slade said.

Allen's too, is well-known for work in this area.

Guy Palmer, a Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases at Washington State University's Allen School for Global Animal Health, said Allen is currently working in East Africa. Thousands of children once a year in Africa after being asked by rabid dogs; Allen, through WSU, helped fund efforts to vaccinate dogs and set up clinics to treat people.

Healthier livestock helps improve a farmer's income, and families often use the extra money for books and schooling to educate their girls. "It's amazingly well," Palmer said.

In 2014, Allen contributed $ 100 million to efforts to outbreak Ebola in West Africa.

Palmer, who has traveled to East Africa, said that during his visit to East Africa, he said, "I'm looking for someone to help me." , Paul Allen, "In a formal, reverential tone."

Closer to home, Allen gave millions to protect old-growth forests.

Mazama environmentalist Bill Pope, who served as a Microsoft attorney and later as Vulcan's general counsel, said this lesser-known interest in Allen's stemmed from a childhood trip to the California Redwoods with his parents. Pope said Allen helped save crucial tracts, including more than $ 7 million he contributed in the 1990s to protect the Loomis and Arlecho Creek forests in Washington from logging. Oregon and Hawaii, too.

Allen broadened his philanthropic portfolio again recently, focusing on the homelessness emergency in his beloved hometown. He committed $ 30 million for a new housing development in South Seattle, said Paul Rumpf of Mercy Housing, the nonprofit tapped to develop that project near the Mount Baker light-rail station.

"It is under construction and wants to change the lives of the most vulnerable families in the city for years to come, "Hull was written in an email. Seattle Times reporters Daniel Beekman, Nicole Brodeur, Matt Day, Katherine Long and Paul Roberts contributed reporting.


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