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a celebration of that event,
this time with his $15 million jet and three foot red carpet.
At a time when I was killing brain cells, this guy was founding
an empire.
He has come to eat rubber chicken in honor of the Altair's
20th anniversary.
I'd like to introduce to you - Paul Allen.
Allen co-founded Microsoft with his younger buddy from high school,
Bill Gates.
One day in Boston, I was in Harvard Square I saw a cover of
Popular Electronics with this thing that looked like
what I had been imagining, and so I grabbed it off the shelf,
I looked at it and I bought it and
I ran back to Bill's dorm, and I think he was probably playing poker
that night and usually losing money at that point.
One of the few times when that's been the case.
Paul showed that to me and then okay, here was a company
that would be needing software.
And he said OK we gotta call these guys up and see if this thing's
for real.
We realised that things were starting to happen, and just because
we'd had a vision for a long time of where this chip could go,
what it could mean er,
that didn't mean the industry was going to wait for us while I stayed
and - and finished my Degree at Harvard.
So called up Ed you know, we told him we've got this Basic and
it's you know just for your machine, and it's, you know,
not that far from being done, and we'd like to come
out and show it to you.
So we created this BASIC interpreter. Paul took the paper tape er, and
and flew out. In fact, the night before, he - he got some sleep while
I double checked everything to make sure
that we had er, had it all right.
But I had no idea what it was really going to be like to try to
run the software.
It had never been run on an actual computer before.
He was very nervous about whether this would actually work.
And then he got to the office and we all gathered around him
and he put his fingers on the switches
and he loaded BASIC with paper tape into the Altair.
I was just I was so nervous....this is just....it's not going to work
and it worked.
And it came up, and it could do a few little simple things.
And it was amazing when Paul called me up and said the thing
had worked the first time.
And of course, it was incredibly fast.
And it printed out memory size and I think Bill said
"it printed something!". So I said yeah, yeah.
Oh, that was - that was unbelievable. The fact that it really worked
er, was - was - was a breakthrough.
Maybe there wouldn't be a Microsoft if the screen hadn't come alive,
who knows, it might all be quite different.
After the demo succeeded, Bill forgot about finishing university.
Afraid of missing his chance to dominate the new industry,
he joined Allen in what was then the the center of world
microcomputing research
among the sleezy bars and gas stations of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
And they lived across the street from MITS in the Sundowner Motel,
and the prostitutes and the drug dealers out on the corner,
and they were writing BASIC for the Altair computer, and gradually
they actually started Microsoft here in Albuquerque.
We hired some of our high school friends basically to come down and
eh stay with us in our apartment, which became very crowded.
We were pretty young. We started when I was 19 and so we just had
a lot of - a lot of energy.
They worked really hard. They listened to really loud music,
I could hardly stand to go to the software room sometimes
because the music would be banging off the walls, mostly acid rock.
You know we'd usually go out, eat pizzas and then go out and watch
action movies.
They would work all night long, and there were days when Bill Gates
would be sleeping on the floor in the software lab.
Sometimes it would be Bill and these two other guys all,
you know, sitting on tables around the apartment
with stacks and stacks of paper writing, converting the BASIC
for the 8080.
I still know the source code by heart, and that was er, er,
a work of love, you know,


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