Allen is the co-founder of Microsoft, which he left in 1983 for health reasons. One of the richest people in the world (a net worth of $20 billion, give or take a few billion), he combines imaginative philanthropy, particularly in the state of Washington, with the energetic pursuit of his own interests.
Allen owns two sports teams (the NFL Seahawks and the NBA Trail Blazers); is a major backer of the Allen Telescope Array, which is searching for extra-terrestrial intelligence; and a science fiction museum (home to Captain Kirk's chair), which is inside the Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project in Seattle. He collects vintage military planes and is the money behind SpaceShipOne, a piloted vehicle that is designed to send civilians into space. His biggest yacht, the Octopus, is more than 400 feet long.