It all started on a snowy day in December 1974, when he was twenty-one years old. After buying the new issue of Popular Electronics in Harvard Square, Allen ran to show it to his best friend from Seattle, Bill Gates, then a Harvard undergrad. The magazine's cover story featured the Altair 8800, the first true personal computer; Allen knew that he and Gates had the skills to code a programming language for it. When Gates agreed to collaborate on BASIC for the Altair, one of the most influential partnerships of the digital era was up and running.
While much has been written about Microsoft's early years, Allen has never before told the story from his point of view. Nor has he previously talked about the details of his complex relationship with Gates or his behind-closed-doors perspective on how a struggling start-up became the most powerful technology company in the world. Idea Man is the candid and long-awaited memoir of an intensely private person, a tale of triumphant highs and terrifying lows.
After becoming seriously ill with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1982, Allen began scaling back his involvement with Microsoft. He recovered and started using his fortune—and his ideas—for a life of adventure and discovery, from the first privately funded spacecraft (SpaceShipOne) to a landmark breakthrough in neuroscience (the Allen Brain Atlas).
More recently, after fighting back another bout with lymphoma, this time non-Hodgkin's, Allen decided it was time to write his memoirs.
Idea Man is an astonishing true story of ideas made real.