In the last couple of days there have been hundreds, if not thousands of articles posted on the life of Paul Allen. I am not here to give you a detailed description of his life. I am here to say that we should all strive to live life like he did.
Allen is an international icon. His contributions to the world will never be forgotten. He truly followed his passions and lived his life to the fullest. He impacted the world in so many different areas that it is impossible to cover everything he did in this article. His brilliant ideas helped pave the way to the interconnectivity that we see in the world today.
To begin with, he attended Lakeside High School in Seattle, Wash. Lakeside is a private school located in North Seattle. It was at this school where he met his long-time friend and Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates.
After high school, Allen attended Washington State University and joined the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity. He eventually dropped out of WSU and moved to Boston. Bill Gates was also living in Boston and studying at Harvard University at the time. Allen convinced Gates to drop out of school and work on computer-related software.
The rest is history. The two combined their intellects and formed a computer software company that eventually became Microsoft.
I do not have the technological knowledge to explain what Microsoft is; all I know is that it took the world by storm and became one of the most successful companies known to man.
There are few people in this world who actually chase their dreams. Most people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget about their true passions. He did not live this way. He had an idea and he acted upon it. It takes a lot of courage to drop out of college and move across the country. He did this without fear, and the world will forever be a better place because of his courage.
If he didn’t chase his dreams and stayed at WSU all four years, Microsoft may have never been formed.
He had an estimated net worth of over $20 billion. Yes, I said billion. But he didn’t sit back and spend his money on random things; he spent it on his passions and to the betterment of his community.
He never forgot where he came from and donated millions of dollars to Lakeside, WSU, and the University of Washington. He didn’t even attend UW, but he still donated to the school that represented his city.
Lakeside has the Paul G. Allen Athletics Center, WSU has the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, and UW has the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. Furthermore, the man had an intense love for sports. In 1996, the Seattle Seahawks were a complete mess. The franchise was reeling from a long streak of mediocrity, and the previous Hawks owners Ken Behring and Ken Hofmann had all but moved the team to Anaheim, California, before Allen stepped in and saved the day.
In 1997, he paid 200 million dollars to purchase the team and keep the Seahawks in Seattle. This is another example of why we should all strive to live like him. If he had waited, the team could have been gone forever. Instead under his tenure, the Hawks have won eight division titles, 12 playoff appearances, three NFC championships, three Super Bowl appearances, and one Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Imagine if he didn’t follow his passions; this generation of Seattleites wouldn’t know the meaning of the 12th man or Blue Friday.
I understand that most people don’t have $200 million. The point here is not to focus on the money that he accumulated throughout his lifetime; it is to focus on the visions he crafted—and then subsequently put into action.
It is also important to note that his sports passion did not stop with the Seahawks. He purchased the Blazers in 1988 and led the franchise to 23 playoff appearances and two NBA finals. Furthermore, he purchased a minority stake in the Sounders in 2007 and the team has been a perennial powerhouse ever since. The Sounders won the MLS Cup in 2016.
It is also important to note that his biggest passion may have been music. He actually played guitar in a band named “the Underthinkers.” He also founded the Experience Music Project in Seattle, which has since been re-named “The Museum of Pop Culture” or MoPop. He also donated over $3 million to the radio station formerly known as KCMU in Seattle. The radio station is now called KEXP and the gift allowed the station to become independent from the University of Washington.
He donated over $2 billion dollars to charitable causes throughout his lifetime. These causes ranged from science and health, to solving homelessness, and many things inbetween.
Life is short and no one gets out alive in the end. All we should do while we’re here is be around the people we love, follow our dreams, treat people with respect, and try and leave the world a better place than we found it. Allen did all this and much more and his impact on the world will never be forgotten.
Rest In Peace, sir. You truly are a legend. Or in the words of Marshawn Lynch:
Big dog rest easy as you go home @PaulGAllen prayers for your family🙏🏾
— Shawn Lynch (@MoneyLynch) October 15, 2018