Jimmy Wales is the founder of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia and co-founder of the privately owned Wikia, Inc. including its entertainment media brand Fandom. Wales serves on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization he established to operate Wikipedia. In 2019, Jimmy launched WT Social – a news focused social network. In 2006 Jimmy was named in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ for his role in creating Wikipedia.
Some interesting insights from this episode:
- Jimmy was an avid reader as a child and used to devour the World Book Encyclopedia.
- He took a cautious and conservative approach to entrepreneurship, taking manageable risks, learning to fail fast, and always spending less money than what he took in.
- “I like to get up and do the most interesting thing I can think of to do and I try to live my life like that every day.”
- The core value of Wikipedia, which is to present high quality, neutral, factual information, is what allows the organization to maintain its integrity and consistency.
- He set a very aspirational mission for Wikipedia which is to give every person on the planet free access to the sum of all human knowledge.
- The success of Wikipedia is staggering. It’s now a top 5 website globally with over 54 million articles in 300 languages and 1.5 billion visitors each month and growing.
- To be a successful leader, you have to have clear and consistent values that people can buy into.
- “Excellence is about doing something interesting and having fun. It’s got to be interesting because otherwise what’s the point?”