Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, died recently from cancer, a disease he fought for much of his adult life. Even though I live in the Pacific Northwest where Allen was active, I don’t know anything about the man. From this 2011 interview with Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, I felt deep regret for that ignorance.

What did he say about Gates?

Allen said that Gates was a taskmaster who yelled a lot and created a tough working environment. Allen also shared a couple stories where Gates appeared to be trying to reduce Allen’s ownership of Microsoft, even while Allen was enduring his cancer treatments before leaving Microsoft. It’s not a pretty picture, but Allen feels it’s fair. But Allen also tells how Gates came to visit him and support him a number of times during his more recent cancer treatments, well after Allen left Microsoft.

I believe Gates tends to defer answering pointed or negative questions about Allen, instead emphasizing that Allen’s involvement in the creation of Microsoft has been underappreciated by the media. Allen says the two are still friends and doesn’t expect that to change with the publication of his memoir (published in 2011-12), though Allen does expect an argument or two to ensue 🙂

I’m left very curious to know more about Paul Allen. Perhaps I’ll take a look at his memoir, Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft.

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