Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft, invested early in commercial spaceflight, owns two major league sports teams, and jams to Hendrix. His latest venture is mapping the human brain, and his autobiography, Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft, is out now.
Rob Beschizza Your autobiography sheds new light on the tumultuous birth of the microcomputer industry and your critical role in co-founding Microsoft. The question on everyone's mind, of course, is how difficult is it to soundproof a recording studio on a yacht?
Paul Allen: [laughs] It turns out it's very difficult, because of the engine vibrations. So, there's a specially-designed floor in the recording studio to damp out sound, the low-frequency vibrations.
Rob: So that was the key thing, not so much problems caused by the movements of the craft at sea?
Paul: Yeah. I mean, you do your best. It's never going to be as quiet, obviously, as a recording studio on land that you can really soundproof. Recording studios are interesting; a lot of people say, and I agree, that you should have a lot of wood in a recording studio. It gets a kind of a sweeter sound. The U2 guys have played back there, on one of their albums, and Mick Jagger's recorded some stuff there, and many others, including Dave Stewart. Everybody's liked it! But I like the joke that it's hard to write an angry song on a boat when you're cruising along.
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