Billionaire Lifestyles: Checking In With Paul Allen and Charles Simonyi

2/19/09Follow @gthuang

Here are a couple of compelling tidbits from around the horn about the exploits of some of our favorite Seattle-area billionaires. A strange window into an alternate reality, if you ask me.

—Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and head of Seattle-based Vulcan, has his investment portfolio examined by CNET. The article kicks off by mentioning the recent bankruptcy filing by Charter Communications and layoffs at Vulcan. It argues that some of Allen’s investments in media companies—DreamWorks SKG and Oxygen Media, which he put a total of around $1 billion into—have fared better than his technology bets, such as ZoomInfo, Infinia Networks, and Radar Networks. The article doesn’t mention Vulcan’s more recent investments in promising Seattle startups like Gist and Evri.

—Charles Simonyi, the father of Microsoft Word and Excel and now head of Bellevue-based Intentional Software, spoke with the Seattle Times from Russia about space tourism and other surreal matters. Simonyi is slated to make his second trip to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz rocket on March 26 (at a cost of around $35 million). He is in the middle of a space-training regimen near Moscow that began on January 10. It’s like riding a bike, he says. One interesting detail is that he can’t bring his Kindle e-book reader aboard the space station, because it’s not officially qualified—the battery of an unknown electronic device might burst into flames there.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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