Paul O’Brien

Paul O’Brien left an executive position in high-tech to invent a new category of multimedia software in 1989, which evolved to eventually become the world’s largest astrology and divination website in 2003.  He is the author of three books. Paulo is a sought after speaker, visionary, entrepreneur, author and founder of the Divination Foundation.

Paulo’s new book Great Decisions, Perfect Timing: Cultivating Intuitive Intelligence (release Feb 2015) is an autobiographical, part how-to manual for intuitive decision-making and part holistic philosophy.

His previous book The Visionary I Ching: A Book of Changes for Intuitive Decision Making, (Divination Press, January 2013) is a beautifully illustrated eBook that offers readers a tool for intuitive insight and managing change. The Visionary I Ching is a non-sexist, non-militarist interpretation of the oldest classical divination systems. The Ebook is illustrated with Joan Larimore’s I-Ching inspired art for each of the 64 hexagrams. The modern Taoist text renders this ancient system ever more useful as an intuitive decision-making aid for modern times. (Note: The Visionary I Ching is now available as a smartphone app available from both Apple and Google stores, complete with an authentic way to cast a reading using a phone or tablet.)

Paulo’s first book Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God (Visionary Networks Press, July 2007) was a study of how classical divination systems (like the I Ching) can be used to help people make better decisions that result in better relationships, greater success and less stress. In all of his work, Paul shows how you can stimulate your intuition to think outside the box to solve problems that logic can’t handle — especially strategic personal and professional decisions we now must make more quickly than ever. In an easy-to-read manner, the Divination book academically explains how divination systems work, their history, psychology, and how to apply such tools for activating intuition, making great decisions and realizing optimum results.

Paulo has been the host of Pathways, a radio interview program focused on personal and cultural transformation for over 25 years, and currently writes the syndicated advice column Paulo’s Perspective and Decision Maker’s Blog— dedicated to helping people make better decisions and improve their timing.

Biographical Timeline:

  • The eldest of seven, O’Brien develops exceptional levels of responsibility, intuition and self-sufficiency at a young age.
  • 1969: An undergraduate at UC Berkeley, he becomes a student of Alan Watts and Tai Chi, and is fascinated by the I-Ching, or Book of Changes, the ancient Chinese system of philosophy and decision-making. Takes up a serious study of Taoist and Buddhist philosophy.
  • 1970: Drops out of UC Berkeley and moves to a rural commune in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.
  • 1973: Becomes fascinated with software and enters the field, starting out as a secretary/typist for the director of the non-profit Oregon Research Institute Computer Center.
  • 1975: Creates first software marketing position for the non-profit Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
  • 1977: Becomes Director of Marketing for Edge Technology, an early developer of microcomputer systems.
  • 1980: Takes an 18-month sabbatical to study yoga and meditation in monasteries and ashrams of southern Asia; travels the world as teaching assistant to famous Buddhist nun; is trained as a meditation teacher.
  • 1984: Becomes host of the Pathways radio program, interviewing leaders in personal and cultural transformation.
  • 1985-90: Teaches meditation for City of Portland adult education.
  • 1986: Becomes a single parent with custody of his 13 y/o son (just in time for adolescence :-).
  • 1988: While VP of Marketing for a high-tech software company, O’Brien discovers an intersection between two fascinations: the I Ching and multimedia software; is inspired by an I-Ching reading to develop a software version of the I-Ching itself. Motivated by a vision of ‘creative freedom,’ he invests his life savings to create a prototype, become an entrepreneur and bootstrap his first company, Visionary Software, in his basement to develop his novel software idea and take it to market. His peers think he’s nuts. “You have a great executive position and there is no market for I-Ching software,” they accurately point out at the time. But this is a labor of love, and he perseveres, investing all his life savings, plus doing consulting — whatever it takes to help his new venture survive.
  • 1989: Visionary Software, publishes Synchronicity, his new I-Ching program for Macintosh, which turns out to be the world’s first divination software and one of the first multimedia titles (i.e. incorporating art and sounds on two floppy disks). Note: In 1989, computers and divination are an unlikely mix, and this small multimedia program seriously predates CD-ROMs … ‘divination software’ is at least ten years ahead of its time. But a few influential Mac users, including Paul Wenner (founder of Gardenburger) and John Gray (Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus) find it and credit improved decision-making to the use of Synchronicity. It becomes a highly pirated, minor cult hit for Macs.
  • 1990-1992: O’Brien develops a 7-step Manifestation Practice, based on a practice he calls “visionary decision-making” using the I Ching. Meanwhile, confronted by a tiny market for divination software, he reinvents his company to focus on “First Things First” time management and a corporate safety CD-Rom. Thus he keeps his startup company going (re-mortgaging his house to make payroll a couple times).
  • 1994: O’Brien ‘sells’ the company to a management team eager to develop and market its time-management business app, but keeps private ownership of Synchronicity. Unable to raise capital, the new owners take the company bankrupt within a few years. O’Brien loses his entire founder’s stake.
  • 1995: O’Brien accepts position as Director of the non-profit Oregon Multimedia Alliance, to build emerging multimedia and internet industries in Oregon. In addition, he moonlights in order to finance production of two divination CD-ROMs – turning over his own paychecks over to programmers, authors and artists for the next few years.
  • 1997: Launches two new CD-ROMs — Oracle of Changes I-Ching and Tarot Magic. He restarts his entrepreneurial career by once again bootstrapping a new company in his basement, which he now names “Visionary Networks.” Proceeds to acquire I-Ching.com and Tarot.com web domains. He invents a new form of online micro-currency (“Karma Coins”) with which to purchase online readings, use as an incentive to membership, etc.. Karma Coins become a successful and unique, new form of micropayments, rewards programs, discounts, etc.
  • 1999: O’Brien is toasted as “the father of interactive divination,” based on the publication of Synchronicity program ten years earlier.
  • 2002: Visionary wins contracts to provide all astrology and divination features for AOL, MySpace, Belief.net and other portals large and small (including co-producing the first horoscope “gadget” with Google). All of a sudden, millions of people are using interactive divination systems to make better decisions and develop better timing.
  • 2007: Visionary Networks is acquired by a larger company  (article in Portland Monthly)
  • 2007: O’Brien sets up non-profit Divination Foundation to teach and promote Visionary Decision Making, featuring the skillful use of intuitive decision-making techniques. DF publishes the first book: Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God, as well as podcasting Pathways radio interviews on personal and cultural transformation via Divination.com.
  • November 2012: DF publishes O’Brien’s art-illustrated Visionary I Ching as an ebook.
  • February 2013: DF publishes Visionary I Ching app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets.
  • February 2015: DF publishes his new book: Great Decisions, Perfect Timing—Intuitive Intelligence for Visionary Decision Making.