Inspire, Tech

Jimmy wales , The man who didn’t want to be rich

"Jimbo at Fosdem cropped". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.


what if you have an idea that will bring you tones of money , and takes you to Mark Zuckerberg richness level ,

will you take the chance and do it ?

Well , This man didn’t !



Screenshot from Jimmy Wales site


Jimmy Wales , Wikipedia founder , the man who choose not to take a penny from his great idea .


"Jimbo at Fosdem cropped". Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.

Jimbo at Fosdem cropped“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.




The Origins 

It all started in Chicago when Jimmy and his friends Tim Shell and Michael Davis decided to use their private company Bomis to launch Nupedia which is an English language encyclopedia where articles were written by expert volunteers and reviewed by expert editors – experts you say !


“ The idea was to have thousands of volunteers writing articles for an online encyclopedia in all languages… It was no fun for the volunteer writers because we had a lot of academic peer review committees who would criticize articles and give feedback. It was like handing in an essay at grad school, and basically intimidating to participate in. “

— Jimmy Wales on the Nupedia project New Scientist, January 31, 2007


Leap of faith 

On Monday 15 , January 2001 , Wikipedia had seen the light

Jimmy Wales thought Wikipedia will be a “ complete rubbish

Starting as a simple profitable project aiming to backup Nupedia  , then turning into the biggest open source , web-based encyclopedia .

just like things turn out the EXACT way we expect , Wikipedia only needed couple of  days to prove itself as the new deal !

It took Wikipedia few days to overly grow and exceed the number of articles on Neupedia

Then a new concept was born . “Open source , web-based encyclopedia , that accepts contributions of ordinary people !”

with patience and hard work , early editors , experts and regular people had built a self-regulated society that proven to be successful with time .


And what did Jimmy gain from all this ?
Nothing !
He totally refused to cheapen the encyclopedia by using ads as a source of money
Because accepting ads meant questioning the integrity of wiki , giving compensations , and even have wiki at the mercy of advertising companies where they might have some control over materials and publishing .

And When Asked ?

When asked on Quora “Is Jimmy Wales Rich ? “ , this was his response :

“By any sane standard of measurement, yes, of course I’m rich.  Nearly half of the people on earth live on less than $2 a day.  I spend more than that on my cellphone bill. About 80% of the people on earth live on less than $10 a day.

But the point I’m making is that people often get sucked into a way of thinking about things that makes them think that a reasonable standard for measuring whether someone is wealthy or not is appropriately measured relative to Mark Zuckerberg or the Google guys or whatever.

But there’s another angle to this, and that is to ask what “wealth” means.  People who equate wealth in any serious way with “amount of money that you have” are missing a lot of richness in how humans value things.

What I think people most value (or ought to most value) is rich and interesting life experiences.  On that level, there is no doubt that I’m rich, and much richer than one might imagine from my relatively meagre (compared to billionaires!) financial resources.  As I’ve mentioned in another Quora answer somewhere, there are car dealers in random Midwestern towns in the US who have vastly more money than I do.  But they have nothing like my quality of life as measured by interesting experiences.

So, my final answer is: yes, I’m rich.  But not in the way most people think about the question.

** ‘ Jimmy’s reply on Quora ‘


Being aware of the amount of money and luxurious life he’s wasting on himself for the sake of pure knowledge , Jimmy wales is taking Perfectionism to a whole new level .


So the next time you check something on wiki , remember the great generosity standing behind the curtains of this phenomenal project  and think of ways to practice it yourself – you can start by donations

Because people like Jimmy Wales , people like YOU , are the ones who give hope to this world !



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