Jimmy Wales facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Wales in August 2019
Jimmy Donal Wales
August 7, 1966
|Other names||Jimbo (screen name)|
|Occupation||Internet entrepreneur, webmaster, financial trader (formerly)|
|Net worth||≈US$1 million (2014)|
|Successor||Florence Devouard (as Chair of Wikimedia Foundation)|
|Board member of|
(m. 1986; div. 1993)
(m. 1997; div. 2011)
Jimmy Donal Wales (born August 7, 1966), also known on Wikipedia by the pseudonym Jimbo, is an American-British Internet entrepreneur, webmaster, and former financial trader. He is a co-founder of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia and the for-profit web hosting company Wikia, later renamed Fandom. Wales has worked on other online projects, including Bomis, Nupedia, WikiTribune, and WT Social.
Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama, where he attended Randolph School, a university-preparatory school. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in finance from Auburn University and the University of Alabama respectively. In graduate school, Wales taught at two universities; however, he departed before completing a PhD to take a job in finance and later worked as the research director of a Chicago futures and options firm.
In 1996, Wales and two partners founded Bomis, a web portal primarily known for featuring adult content. Bomis provided the initial funding for the free peer-reviewed encyclopedia, Nupedia (2000–2003). On January 15, 2001, with Larry Sanger and others, Wales launched Wikipedia, a free open-content encyclopedia that enjoyed rapid growth and popularity. As Wikipedia's public profile grew, he became its promoter and spokesman. Though he is historically credited as co-founder, he has disputed this, declaring himself the sole founder.
Wales serves on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the charity that he helped establish to operate Wikipedia, holding its board-appointed "community founder" seat. For his role in creating Wikipedia, the world's largest encyclopedia, Time named him one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2006.
Early life and education
Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama, shortly before midnight on August 7, 1966; however, his birth certificate lists his date of birth as August 8. His father Jimmy Sr., worked as a grocery store manager, while his mother, Doris Ann (née Dudley), and his grandmother, Erma, ran the House of Learning, a small private school in the tradition of the one-room schoolhouse, where Wales and his three siblings received their early education.
As a child, Wales enjoyed reading. When he was three, his mother bought a World Book Encyclopedia from a door-to-door salesman. As he grew up and learned to read, it became an object of reverence, but Wales soon discovered that the World Book had shortcomings: no matter how much was in it, there were many more things that were not. World Book sent out stickers for owners to paste on the pages in order to update the encyclopedia, and Wales was careful to put the stickers to work, stating, "I joke that I started as a kid revising the encyclopedia by stickering the one my mother bought."
During an interview in 2005 with Brian Lamb, Wales described his childhood private school as a "Montessori-influenced philosophy of education", where he "spent lots of hours poring over the Britannicas and World Book Encyclopedias". There were only four other children in Wales's grade, so the school grouped together the first through fourth-grade students and the fifth through eighth-grade students. As an adult, Wales was sharply critical of the government's treatment of the school, citing the "constant interference and bureaucracy and very sort of snobby inspectors from the state" as a formative influence on his political philosophy.
After eighth grade, Wales attended Randolph School, a university-preparatory school in Huntsville, graduating at sixteen. Wales said that the school was expensive for his family, but that "education was always a passion in my household ... you know, the very traditional approach to knowledge and learning and establishing that as a base for a good life." He received his bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University in 1986. He began his Auburn education when he was 16 years old. Wales then entered the PhD finance program at the University of Alabama before leaving with a master's degree to enter the PhD finance program at Indiana University. At the University of Alabama, he played Internet fantasy games and developed his interest in the web. He taught at both universities during his postgraduate studies but did not write the doctoral dissertation required for a PhD, something he ascribed to boredom.
Images for kids
The staff of Wales' Internet company Bomis photographed in summer 2000. Wales is third from the left in the back row, with Christine Rohan.
Wales receives an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University, 2015
Jimmy Wales accepting the Dan David Prize at the Tel Aviv University, 2015
In Spanish: Jimmy Wales para niños
Jimmy Wales Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.