Sunday, April 24, 2011

IDEA MAN by Paul Allen

Paul Allen has released his autobiography IDEA MAN, narrated by Sean Runnette on audio.  It chronologically follows his life from grade school onward…his meeting Bill Gates, the formation of the company, their struggles, incredible luck, concentration and drive, and then his middle aged life after Microsoft, when he pursued many avenues for utilizing his wealth, from sports to music to movies to the independent frontier of space. There’s something here for everyone. Most interesting for computer nerds, however, is his inside look at the industry, following (and filling in the blanks of) the movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley.”  Unlike Steve Jobs, though, they eschewed Silicon Valley, and went from Albuquerque to Seattle.  Reason for the title?  Allen was the idea guy behind Microsoft, while Gates was the one who chose which ideas to pursue and bring to market (with boundless ambition).  Both of them, as teens, were very untypical.  Writing machine code trumped partying, and their only wild moments were as a release from endless hours in computer labs.  Something which made them both billionaires in the end.

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