How Paul Allen Became One Of The Richest Men On Earth

Paul Allen can be allowed to say that he has done it all. He and Bill Gates created Microsoft Corporation in 1975. But he did not stop at this. No, he has ventured into Seattle’s real estate market and made a killing from it. Moreover, he owns Super Bowl winners Seattle Seahawks, NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and Vulcan Productions. His portfolio is further enhanced by his stakes in Seattle Sounders FC. As such, Allen is currently valued at $15.9 billion.

The Journey Begins…. 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first baby step. Yes it does. It started with a 7 year old Allen hanging out with his dad in the library at the University of Washington. But it wasn’t just idle sitting around; it was Allen’s first encounter with the technical world. His father, an associate director at the university guided him through books that taught him how things work. Thus began Allen’s love affair with computers. 

Meeting Up With Another Future Billionaire

As fate would have it, Allen was a student at Lakeside School and guess who else went to this school? Oh yes, you guessed it: Bill Gates himself. It is therefore not a wonder that Allen dropped out of Washington State University and teamed up with Gates to create Microsoft. With Allen as its Chief Technologist, Microsoft signed a contract with IBM to supply them with the DOS operating system. It was this association that began Allen’s rise to the billionaires list.

Read about How Bill Gates and Paul Allen Built Microsoft Into A Multi-Billion Dollar Company

Acquiring Real Estates

Sadly, Paul Allen did not stay at Microsoft for long, in 1983 he left the company he had co-founded; his exit almost coincided with his being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But his story doesn’t end here. He is a no quitter and although he was out of Microsoft, he wasn’t out of the money-making business. Hence, he went on to acquire prime properties in South Lake Union, Seattle that added to his net worth as real estate prices continued to rise.


The Portland Trail Blazers who are part of the National Basketball Association were Allen’s first major sports acquisition in 1988. The Seattle Seahawks (a team in the National Football League) then followed in 1997 and to top it all up, Allen owns substantial stakes in Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders.


Allen has also dip his feet into Media. He is the founder of Vulcan Productions that produced Rx for Survival–A Global Health Challenge that went on to win an Emmy. He also owns substantial shares in DreamWorks Animation SKG.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

This form of lymphatic cancer almost ruined the party for Allen in 1982. But the man is no push over; he fought his way back to health. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last he’d seen of the disease, it was back again in 2009 and yet again Allen came out on top. He kept being optimistic and it paid off.

New Frontiers

There’s clearly no stopping Allen. Even after investing in numerous sectors he’s still going on making money. As such, his collaboration with Burt Rutan earned them both the Ansari X-Prize when SpaceShipOne took the first civilian to space. This was a project that Allen funded.

Lessons From The Life of Paul Allen

So, having done so much, what’s next for Allen? Well, you’d have to ask him. But all the same, here are a few things we can emulate from him:

  • Diversify, there’s money to be made everywhere so go get it.
  • You can beat everything including illness.
  • Teaming up with a very smart guy (like Bill gates) can bring you great fortune.

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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