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Jimmy Wales

Definition - What does Jimmy Wales mean?

Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur most notable for being the co-founder of the prominent nonprofit open content reference site Wikipedia, as well as the for-profit Web hosting company Wikia. He launched Wikipedia together with Larry Sanger in January 15, 2001 as a for-profit business and as a tool to help develop Nupedia, a Web-based encyclopedia.

Techopedia explains Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Donal Wales is a financial trader turned Internet entrepreneur. He started his career as a trader with Chicago Options Associates in 1994, but his self-proclaimed addiction to the Internet led him to write computer code in his free time. He then experienced the full potential of computer networks in fostering large-scale project collaboration during his studies in Alabama when he became obsessed with multi-user dungeons (MUD), an early form of text-based role playing game. This experience later made him decide to become an Internet entrepreneur.

In 1995 Wales, inspired by the relative success of Netscape and with the capital he accumulated during his trading career, founded Bomis, a user-portal that featured user-generated webrings and erotic content. Bomis was not successful, but it provided Wales with enough funding to pursue what he really wanted, an online encyclopedia. He then launched Nupedia, a peer-reviewed open-content encyclopedia, in March 2000 with Larry Sanger as the editor-in-chief, a friend he had met in an online discussion group about the philosophy of objectivism in the early 1990s. However, the strict academic peer-review system was a huge hindrance in the creation of articles as most contributor works were deemed unsuitable, which created an atmosphere of reluctance among many contributors.

Ben Kovitz, an extreme programming enthusiast, suggested to Sanger that they adopt the wiki model. The first Nupedia wiki was then created in January 10, 2001 and was intended as a collaborative project for the public, but Nupedia's experts wanted nothing to do with it, fearing that amateur content it would tarnish Nupedia's credibility. Wales and Sanger decided to launch it in a separate domain five days later and Sanger dubbed this encyclopedia wiki as "Wikipedia," which quickly became the most widely used reference source on the Internet.

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