I swore off computers for about a year and a half—the end of the ninth grade and all of the tenth. I tried to be normal, the best I could.

–Bill Gates, cofounder of Microsoft Corporation

Had the personal-computer revolution waited for action from the mainframe-computer and minicomputer companies, the PC might still be a thing of the future. But there were those who would not wait patiently for something to happen, and their very impatience led them to take steps toward creating a revolution of their own. Some of those revolutionaries were incredibly young.

In the late 1960s, before David Ahl lost all patience with DEC, Paul Allen and his school friends at Seattle’s private Lakeside School were working at a company called Computer ...

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