Jimmy Donal “Jimbo” Wales was born August 7, 1966, is an American Internet entrepreneur and a co-founder and promoter of Wikipedia.
Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama in the United States. He attended Randolph School, a university-preparatory school, then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance. While in graduate school, he taught at two universities, but left before completing a Ph.D. in order to take a job in finance and later worked as the research director of a Chicago futures and options firm. In 1996, he and two partners founded Bomis, a male-oriented web portal featuring entertainment and adult content. The company would provide the initial funding for the peer-reviewed free encyclopedia Nupedia (2000–2003) and its successor, Wikipedia.
In 2001, together with Larry Sanger and others, Wales helped launch Wikipedia, a free, open content encyclopedia that enjoyed rapid growth and popularity, and as Wikipedia’s public profile grew, he became the project’s promoter and spokesman. He is historically cited as a co-founder of Wikipedia, though he has disputed the “co-” designation, declaring himself the sole founder. Wales serves on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization he helped establish to operate Wikipedia, holding its board-appointed “community founder” seat. In 2004, he co-founded Wikia, a for-profit wiki-hosting service.
Wales has been married twice and has a daughter with his second wife Christine, from whom he is separated. He describes himself as an Objectivist and, with reservations, a libertarian. His role in creating Wikipedia, which has become the world’s largest encyclopedia, prompted Time magazine to name him in its 2006 list of the world’s most influential people.
Jimmy Wales’ biography on Wikipedia claims that he is independently wealthy. According to Wikipedia, Wales made enough money while working in the finance industry in Chicago to support himself and his wife for the rest of their lives. An article in Wired is cited. However on the talk page, Wales claims that his net worth is considerably less: “I do not have millions of dollars. I do not even have one million dollars.”
It is likely that Wales makes his living from Wikipedia. He is not paid directly by the Wikimedia Foundation, and he claims that he is not reimbursed for expenses while conducting Wikipedia business, even when traveling to board meetings. The way Mr. Wales makes a living is by getting $50,000 to $70,000 per speaking engagement when he goes and lectures about Wikipedia.
He also uses these speaking opportunities to publicize a side project, Wikia, which is for-profit. Wikipedia also deviates from its usual low tolerance for spam, allowing thousands of links to Wikia and not giving them the usual “no follow” treatment, thus elevating Wikia’s search engine rankings. This “interwiki” treatment is not always available to other websites.
The recent announcement of a partnership with Orange, a European telecommunications company, shows that Wales has a renewed interest in monetizing the content on Wikipedia.
Jimbo Wales wants Wikipedia to be open for everyone. He does not like to ban anyone, and indeed refused to ban anyone at all initially and did not allow admins to have the ability to ban. Jimbo is also keen on privacy, to the extent that admins cannot even see IP addresses, and to see something as commonplace as an IP address requires special magical CheckUser abilities that only a select few have.
Sadly, such rules end up being abused and making it less private than ever and more able to be abused with power tripping and corruption than a more open system. Jimbo’s vision is to create a serious encyclopaedia. He doesn’t particularly like it when people make fun of it, or treat it as anything less than super serious.
In May 2010, Jimbo attempted to delete some of the pornography from Wikimedia Commons. He was condemned by a majority of Wikimedians and pressured to remove some administrative tools from his “founder” software status. Wikipedia was started by Bomis, an internet company that offered adult content. Bomis was founded by Jimmy Wales and Tim Shell. Bomis funded Wikipedia in the early days before Wikipedia began accepting donations.
Jimmy Wales claims to have no connection with Wikileaks (wikileaks.org). However his company, Wikia, owns the domain names wikileaks.com, wikileaks.net, and wikileaks.us. All three of these sites publish content from Wikileaks. (Note: the www format must be used: e.g. www.wikileaks.com).
HONORS, AWARDS & POSITIONS:
- 1) Wales received the Quadriga award on October 3, 2008
- 2) Mid-2005 — Wales was appointed as a member of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.
- 3) October 3, 2005 — Wales joined the Board of Directors of Socialtext, a provider of wiki technology to businesses.
- 4) 2006 — Wales joined the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Creative Commons.
- 5) May 8, 2006 — Wales was listed in the “Scientists & Thinkers” section of the 100 influential people special edition of Time magazine.
- 6) June 3, 2006 — Wales received an honorary degree of doctor of laws from Knox College.
- 7) May 3, 2006 — The Electronic Frontier Foundation awarded him a Pioneer Award.
- 8) 2006 — Wales was appointed to the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
- 9) January 23, 2007 — Forbes magazine ranked Wales twelfth in its first annual “The Web Celebs 25”.
- 10) 2007 — Wales was recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of the ‘Young Global Leaders’ of 2007.
- 11) May 2008 — Wales co-chaired the World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2008 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
- 12) 2008 — CORUM awarded him The Global Brand Icon of the Year Award for 2008.
- 13) 2008 — Wales accepted on behalf of the Wikimedia project the Quadriga award of Werkstatt Deutschland for A Mission of Enlightenment.
- 14) October 30, 2008 — Wales was awarded the Business Process Award at the 7th Annual Innovation Awards and Summit by The 15) Economist “for public collaboration as a form of product and content development.”
- 16) November 4, 2009 — Wales was recognized with the Nokia Foundation annual award (2009) “for his contributions to the evolution of the World Wide Web as a participatory and truly democratic platform”.
- 17) November 2009 — Wales was awarded the Monaco Media Prize for enabling collaborative knowledge-seeking.
- 18) December 7, 2009 — Wales announced that he will be joining the New York City-based Hunch.com as Board Member and advisor.
- 19) April 8, 2010 — Wales was honored as a Stuart Regen Visionary at New Museum in New York City.
- 20) May 21, 2010 — Wales received an honorary degree of doctor of laws from Stevenson University. Wales said that this was the very first college commencement speech that he had delivered.
- 21) May 23, 2010 — Wales received an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters from Amherst College.
- 22) January 26, 2011 — Wales was slated to be awarded on the foregoing date the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize according to an announcement made on October 8, 2010.
AS AN AUTHOR:
- 1) Brooks, Robert; Jon Corson, Jimmy Donal Wales (1994). “The Pricing of Index Options When the Underlying Assets All Follow a Lognormal Diffusion”. Advances in Futures and Options Research 7.
- 2) Wales, Jimmy; Andrea Weckerle (December 31, 2008), “Foreword”, in Fraser, Matthew; Dutta, Soumitra, Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World (1st ed.), Wiley, ISBN 0470740140, OCLC 233939846.
- 3) Wales, Jimmy; Andrea Weckerle (January 8, 2009). “Commentary: Create a tech-friendly U.S. government”. CNN.com.
- 4) Wales, Jimmy; Andrea Weckerle (February 10, 2009), “Foreword”, in Powell, Juliette, 33 Million People in the Room: How to Create, Influence, and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking (1st ed.), Financial Times Press, ISBN 0137154356, OCLC 244066502.
- 5) Wales, Jimmy; Andrea Weckerle (March 3, 2009), “Foreword”, in Weber, Larry, Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business (2nd ed.), Wiley, ISBN 0470410973, OCLC 244060887.
- 6) Wales, Jimmy (March 17, 2009), Lih, Andrew, ed., The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia (1st ed.), Hyperion, ISBN 1401303714, OCLC 232977686.
- 7) Wales, Jimmy; Andrea Weckerle (March 30, 2009). “Most Define User-Generated Content Too Narrowly”. Advertising Age 80.
- 8) Wales, Jimmy; Andrea Weckerle (December 28, 2009). “Keep a Civil Cybertongue”. The Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones & Company).