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Biography: Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia is the non-profit online encyclopaedia co-founded by Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales - Free speech activist, entrepreneur, ‘web-celeb’ and marketing genius.

One of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and currently occupied with filling the ‘silicon valley void’ in London, Jimmy has spent a lifetime imagining a “world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.”

His wife Kate Garvey’s maid of honour joked in her speech that Garvey had chosen to marry the only Internet entrepreneur who didn’t become a billionaire. This is the basis of Jimmy’s vision. With abundant morals bearing the weight of the lack of money, in 2001, he founded the open-content internet resource Wikipedia, and then the for-profit web-hosting company Wikia.

"He was an amazing speaker, a complete delight to work with and extraordinarily generous with his time. His remarks were very relevant for the audience, his style was very engaging. He was a hit!"
RSA Conference Europe

He now advises governments and universities, with creative and ethically stringent insights which he credits his upbringing with. An intellectually curious child educated in the Montessori system, Jimmy spent considerable amounts of time reading encyclopaedias, and just thinking.

In 1996 Jimmy left his finance job to co-found a startup called Bornis. Four years later he launched Nupedia—an open-content, peer-moderated reference site. In fact, Wikipedia and Nupedia co-existed for a while, with Wikipedia outshining its predecessor.

In 2004, Wales and Angela Beesley founded Wikia, and after four years he stepped down and began advising the British government on potential open access initiatives, in order to make government-funded research available to taxpayers at no cost. The success of the Wikipedia has popularized a trend in web development, Web 2.0 that aims to facilitate sharing, creativity and collaboration among users.

The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the Young Global Leaders of 2007, and he is a Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of Socialtext, a provider of wiki technology to businesses.

For further information or to book Jimmy Wales, call us at Speakers Corner on +44 (0) 20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk

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