≡ Menu

Paul Allen Quotes

Paul Gardner Allen

Paul Allen quotes: Microsoft co-founder talks traveling, giving back, fighting cancer, breaking up with Bill, and more.

“Any crusade requires optimism and the ambition to aim high.”

“What should exist?  To me, that’s the most exciting question imaginable.  What do we need that we don’t have?  How can we realize our potential?”

“You’ve got to be fearless and willing to try something new that most times is unproven in the particular way you’re trying to do it.  So you have to have that fearlessness and conviction that you can pull it off, and you have to have the skill set to pull it off.  And you’ve got to have people who you can team up with to pull it off.”

“In my experience, each failure contains the seeds of your next success – if you are willing to learn from it.”

“In the computer industry, you’ve got an interdisciplinary team of people who can come together, attack the problem, and work in a collaborative style.  You knock down one problem after another, cobble things together, and then hopefully turn the crank at some point.”

“Where is the leading edge of discovery headed?  What should exist but doesn’t yet?  How can I create something to help meet the need?  Who can I enlist to help?”

“There are relatively few ideas that you can do just by yourself.”

“You have to be vigilant about other competitive products or other competitive ideas coming down the pike.  You’ve got to be sure that once those emerge, learn from those, make your product better.  Each time you do one of these things, you’re going to have setbacks and reversals.”

“There’s going to be reversals.  You have to be ready, to be philosophical about that.  Say: ‘Okay, we’ve had a reversal, something is late.  By the time we overcome that, how do we improve the schedule, how do we hang in financially before we can get our product out in the market?'”

“Finding the next big idea also requires knowledge of the latest advances in your field, as well as challenges in the world.  Then you have to ask: ‘What can I do to meet those needs or solve problems?’  When you find something that’s promising, you still need to make sure nothing like it exists.  That’s what I call ‘go where they’re not’ – you want to go where other people aren’t doing something already.”

“For the most part, the best opportunities now lie where your competitors have yet to establish themselves, not where they’re already entrenched.”

“It struck me that the code I helped to write would fundamentally change the way people worked, played, and communicated.  Having that kind of impact forever changes your sense of purpose in life.  It’s a feeling you’ll always want to find again.”

“We’ve had tough times, but we’ve hung in there.”

“I enjoy creating new ideas, working on new creative projects.”

“I’m always interested in finding ways to innovate.  It’s a blend; it’s not a point focus.”

“I was a self-taught child who was stubbornly unregimented.”

“I grew up around books.  When I first held the book and it was a substantive, tangible thing, and I thought of all the work that went into it, not just my work but everybody else’s and the research and so forth, there’s a sense of really having done something worthwhile.”

“Even before I helped to co-found Microsoft, I saw a connected future.  I called that future ‘The Wired World.’”

“In my own work, I’ve tried to anticipate what’s coming over the horizon, to hasten its arrival, and to apply it to people’s lives in a meaningful way.”

“The guys at Honeywell thought I was crazy to leave Honeywell to go out to Albuquerque by myself to work for what they viewed as a fly-by-night computer company.  But it worked out.”

“You look at things you enjoy in your life, but much more important is what you can do to make the world a better place.”

“When it comes to helping out, I don’t believe in doing it for the media attention.  My goal is to support the organizations that need help.”

“The possible is constantly being redefined, and I care deeply about helping humanity move forward.”

“I am very excited to be supporting one of the world’s most visionary efforts to seek basic answers to some of the fundamental question about our universe and what other civilizations may exist elsewhere.”

“I’m a very private person that prefers a low profile.”

“I wanted to tell the whole story from my perspective, and the ups and downs of our partnership, which was incredibly productive, and then, as the book tells, things slowly changed and I felt like I had to leave Microsoft.  I thought people would be interested to know the key moments and the key events, and how things came together and how things ended up dissolving in the end.”

“When those events happened there was a real sting and disappointment and surprise and all of those emotions, and I felt very strongly, and then after a period of years, I let it go.  The dispute with Gates was the last element in my deciding to finalize my departure from Microsoft, and there was no going back.”

“Technology is notorious for engrossing people so much that they don’t always focus on balance and enjoy life at the same time.”

“In the first eight or so years at Microsoft, we were always chained to our terminals, and after I got sick the first time, I decided that I was going to be more adventurous and explore more of the world.”

“Certainly when you have any sort of life-threatening illness, you take stock of what you’ve been doing and you think about what’s really important to you.  If your remaining time is limited, what do you want to spend your time doing?  You think about all those things in a very focused way.  Working on the book actually helped me.  It was a good daily focus as I was going through chemo.”

“One thing I realized is there’s no point in being pessimistic and depressed.  You’re going to feel that to some degree, but if you just let that overtake the other things you’re thinking about or wanting to accomplish even while you’re being challenged, then you’re not going to be productive in whatever the challenging situation is.  You have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and use the help of friends and family to get through those challenging personal situations.”

“You’ve got to enjoy time with your family and friends, and if you’re involved in sports franchises, those peak moments in playoff games.  You have to enjoy life.”

“From technology to science to music to art, I’m inspired by those who’ve blurred the boundaries, who’ve looked at the possibilities and said, ‘What if?'”

“The varied possibilities of the universe have dazzled me since I was a child and they continue to drive my work, my investments and my philanthropy.”

“Over the last 27 years I’ve been able to do things I once only imagined.  I have now lived half my life post-Microsoft.  What we achieved there will always be a source of pride.  But my second act, in all its range and variety, is truer to my nature.”

“[Twitter bio reads…] Philanthropist, investor, entrepreneur, Seahawks and Blazers team owner, guitarist, neuroscience supporter, space pioneer, and Microsoft co-founder.”

Next, Carlos Slim quotes.

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.