Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Park Hyeonbae / Bio Inf. / Tue. 1-3 p.m.

Biography Information

- Jimmy Wales, the Founder of Wikipedia -

Park Hyeonbae 200801424 

I want to introduce Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.




a.      When and where was the person born? How would you describe the person's childhood or early life?


Wales was born on 7th August 1966 in Huntsville, Alabama. He had a keen interest in general knowledge since he was a child. He accredits the Montessori Method of his schools education that was to spend a lot of time reading the Britannica's and the World Book Encyclopedias.

After his student period, he worked as a study director at Chicago Options Associates, and after that he ventured into a web portal named 'Bomis' that featured webrings generated by the users and erotic pictures. With this money, he could finance Nupedia, the first web version encyclopedia that he invented. While struggling to devise the supplementation for Nupedia, he finally created Wikipedia.


b.      What accomplishment or event caused this person to become famous?


 When Wales decided to start Wikipedia, the project was already his second '-pedia' project. He first started Nupedia in 2000, which was his first web version encyclopedia project. In 2001, Ben Kovitz, an extreme programming expert, introduced the wiki concept to Wales. Wiki, made by Ward Cunningham in 1995, is a kind of web application which allows people to add, modify, or delete content in collaboration with others.

 At first, Wikipedia was just a backup site for Nupedia; but it got more prevalent than Nupedia. Then Nupedia disappeared in 2003. Wales founded the Wikimedia Foundation Inc. in 2003 and he created a company called Wikia with Angela Beesley in 2004.

 He was listed in Time 100 'Scientists and Thinkers' section in 2006. Forbes named him as one of 'The Web Celeb 25' and as one of the 'Young Global Leaders' in 2007. He has been honored with the 'Pioneer Award' and the 'Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize' in 2011. He has received other awards such as the '2009 Nokia Foundation' annual award, the 'Business Process' award and 'the 2008 Global Brand Icon of the Year Award'. He has also been awarded honorary degrees from Stevenson University, Amherst College, Knox College, MIREA University in Russia and Universidad Empresarial Siglo 21 of Argentina.


c.       What was one thing you learned about this person that surprised you?


 He is a pioneer. I think it's not difficult to have the same idea with him, but actually it's very hard to move on action. Everyone can be the editor of encyclopedia! What a brilliant idea! It's a kind of innovation of thought and ideology, and it already changed our lives totally different from the past. Once we used to say the internet gave us so much information, but actually there were scarcely creditable, scientific and specialized information. However, from the birth of Wikipedia, we became able to get those kinds of information.

 Furthermore, Wikipedia is operated without any advertisement. It's managed by the donations since Wikimedia Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit organization.


d.      If you were asked to write a brief biography of this person, what three personal characteristics would you emphasize?


Once before, at the very first time of the birth of Wikipedia, Wales himself financed Wikipedia, so it shows his passion, action and courage. Nobody wants to spend money for no gain. But he just wanted to make a totally new knowledge paradigm. That's what he dreamed about, so he poured all of his passion into it. In an interview with Slashdot in 2004, he once said "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." I think he is a kind of dreamer with passion, boldness (quite same with action) and courage.



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