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Jimmy Wales

Entrepreneur / Inventor

Born: 8 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. Jimmy 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. The next year he co-founded (with Angela Beesley Starling) a separate for-profit company, Wikia Inc., which hosts in-depth "wiki" web pages on various topics.
Extra credit:

Jimmy 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, who was hired by Wales as the first editor of Nupedia. Sanger came up with the idea of applying wiki technology to Nupedia, and is sometimes called a co-founder of Wikipedia. Wales himself rejects that notion, noting that Sanger was his employee… Wikia, Inc. was originally named Wikicities; the name was change to Wikia in 2006… Jimmy Wales’s date of birth is unclear; Wales himself has avoided stating the date publicly. Encyclopedia Britannica says that the date on Wales’s passport is August 8, 1966, and so they give August 8 as the date. Wikipedia’s entry on Wales says “Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama, shortly before midnight on August 7, 1966. However his official birth certificate lists his date of birth as the 8th.” We have used the birth certificate date in Who2.

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