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Jimmy Wales

Inventor / Entrepreneur

Born: August 1966
Birthplace: Huntsville, Alabama
Best known as: The driving force behind Wikipedia
Jimmy Wales is the Internet entrepreneur who led the creation of the online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia. Wales worked as a research director for Chicago Options Associates before becoming a co-founder (with Tim Shell) of the successful website Bomis.com in 1996. Wales used profits from Bomis.com to start an online encyclopedia, Nupedia, which led in 2001 to the creation of Wikipedia -- a free online encyclopedia which allowed anyone to create new entries or edit existing entries. As Wikipedia grew in prominence, so did Wales: Time magazine named him one of its 100 most influential people of 2006. Wales turned control of Wikipedia over to Wikimedia, a non-profit organization, in 2003. He remains head of a separate for-profit company, Wikia Inc., which hosts in-depth "wiki" web pages on various topics.
Extra credit: Wales is sometimes called by the nickname Jimbo... According to his Wikipedia entry, Wales has a bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University and a master's degree in the same topic from the University of Alabama... Wales gave the birthdate of Wikipedia as 15 January 2001 in a 2007 interview with New Scientist magazine... The name Wikipedia was coined by Larry Sanger, the former editor of Nupedia. Sanger is sometimes called a co-founder of Wikipedia, though Wales himself rejects that notion, noting that Sanger was his employee... Wales's date of birth is unclear; most sources say August 7th or August 8th, but Wales himself has avoided stating the date publicly.

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