Jimmy Wales


January 20, 2022

Jimmy Donal Wales (born 7 August 1966) is the founder and member of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates the Wikipedia projects.

Personal life

Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama. His father is a grocery store manager, while his mother (Doris) and grandmother (Erma) run a small private school which is a "traditional one-class school". where Wales went to school. Because the number of students in his class was always only four, the school brought together students from grades one through four and grades five through eight. An article in Time magazine in 2005 mistakenly stated that Wales was educated at home. Not really, but he did say that his school experience was "somewhat similar to that", as his mother and grandmother were the principal teachers at the school. The school's educational motto was heavily influenced by the Montessori method, and the students were quite free to choose the subjects they liked. Wales says that during this time, he spent hours reading the World Book Encyclopedia.


After graduating from the eighth grade, Wales attended Randolph School, a preparatory school for college, which was an early proponent of the movement to use computer laboratories and other technological facilities for student use. Wales said it was too expensive for his family to attend school there, but that education was considered important. "My family has always put an emphasis on education … a very traditional approach to education as a cornerstone of a good life." He received a bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University and continued his education in finance at the University of Alabama and earned a master's degree in finance. After that, he followed his doctoral education at Indiana University. While a graduate student, he taught at both universities, but he did not work on the dissertation required to earn a Ph.D.


From 1994 to 2000, Wales worked as director of research at Chicago Options Associates, a futures and options brokerage firm in Chicago. According to Daniel Pink of Wired magazine, by doing "interest rate and foreign currency speculation" he was soon able to raise enough money to "support himself and his wife for life".

Bomis and Nupedia

In 1996, he founded a search portal site called Bomis, which also sold things of a erotic nature until mid-2005. In September 2005 he was interviewed by cable television station C-SPAN about his past involvement in it, which Brian called Lamb, the interviewer, as "porn pictures." Wales responded by describing Bomis as a "search engine site for men", with a similar target market to Maxim Magazine. In an interview with the online magazine website Wired News, he also explains that he opposes classifying Bomis into "soft-core porn": "If R-rated films are classified as softcore pornography, it is porn. In other words, no, Bomis is not porn." Wales is no longer actively involved with the company. In March 2000, he founded the publicly editable but supervised encyclopedia of leading people in their respective fields, namely Nupedia.com (the "free encyclopedia"), and hired Larry Sanger as editor-in-chief.


Larry Sanger put forward a proposal to create an encyclopedia using wiki software on January 10, 2001, and Wales tried to make it happen, and launched it on January 15, 2001. At that time, Wikipedia was a wiki-based site as a facility for creating initial content of encyclopedias that were done by the general public for checked by experts and then entered into Nupedia, te

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