Paul Allen

Rest in peace.

I’m happy that he invested in space, I guess, but there is a long history of wealthy people doing that to little effect, because they didn’t understand either the technology or the business, and they either thought they were smarter than everyone else (because, you know they were rich), or listened to the wrong people. The big difference with Elon and Jeff Bezos is that they were technically competent and quick studies.

I’m a little depressed that so many people my age are dropping like flies.

[Update a few minutes later]

I wonder what this means for Stratolaunch? It never made business sense to me. Will it survive without him?

[Tuesday-evening update]

Bill Gates remembers his business partner, without whom Microsoft would have not existed (for better or worse).

I think history will record him as more of a computer pioneer than a space one.

9 thoughts on “Paul Allen”

  1. Where there’s a Congress, there’s a way, but it’s likely going to have to compete with flashier options like sending a BFR with people on them places.

  2. One wishes Paul had invested in reusable rockets rather than planes and plane-launches rockets…but perhaps we needed Allen to go that route, to make clear its limitations.

    But even if SpaceShipOne turned out to be a dead end, it will always remain a very inspirational moment in the human quest for space, and a fond memory for me.

  3. Paul lived down the street from my Mom. He build a nice compound of houses on Lake Washington with an series of garages, each with their own Ferrari and sets of tools. Also on the property is an underground basketball court for the Portland Trailblazers when they came to town. Generous guy. At Halloween, kids line up at the gate to the compound and the guard gives out movie size boxes of candy. He dumped a bunch of money into the Experience Music project museum to hold his Jimi Hendrix guitar. Visited last summer, big let down. He suffered from Hodkins for decades, donated money to treat other sufferers who could not afford treatments.
    Big Star Trek fan. RIP

  4. “I’m a little depressed that so many people my age are dropping like flies.”

    Which just goes to show how desperately we need something like SENS; if anyone could afford longevity treatments this man could have and look what happened.

  5. Were I to buy a car, my big priority would be on safety. The reason for the subjunctive tense is that my household is operating a small fleet of cars, Concorde style, where we spread our 10,000 annual miles among multiple vehicles to keep them in service for as long as possible. Even a Chrysler product is reasonably reliable if it doesn’t see much use.

    Part of the motivation to do this was access to family hand-me-downs (which I paid them Blue Book), a supply that has dried up owing to the nieces and nephews now all of driving age. Part of this is to save money on the rapid depreciation of a new car. Another motivation was waiting for an affordable electric car to come along with if not self driving, at least fatigue-reducing and safety-enhancing driver’s-assist features.

    A friend of mine who thinks-out-of-the-box thinks I have this all wrong. At our age (early sixties for my friend and I), the biggest risk to life is what happened to Paul Allen, not an auto crash. About 1 out of 100 of us will die each year, probably from heart disease and cancer with other major illnesses on the list.

    Even if we drove some bitty econobox, our risk of dying in a crash is epsilon compared to passing from such diseases. Childhood and young adult cancers are very tragic, but cancer is mostly a disease of the aging, with the knee-of-the-curve cutting in around age 50.

    So we can drive whatever car we want, but we should put our teen and young-adult children, nephews and nieces into big, sturdy geezer mobiles?

    Godspeed, Paul Allen, and where you go, we shall follow.

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