If you had $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur known for his role in the creation of Wikipedia, a free, open-content encyclopedia launched in 2001. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, holding the board-appointed "community founder" seat. In 2004, he co-founded Wikia, a privately owned, free Web-hosting service, along with Angela Beesley.
Together with Larry Sanger and others, Wales helped lay the foundation for Wikipedia, which subsequently enjoyed rapid growth and popularity. As Wikipedia expanded and its public profile grew, Wales took on the role of the project's spokesman and promoter through speaking engagements and media appearances. Wales has been historically cited as the co-founder of Wikipedia but he disputes the "co-" designation, asserting that he is the sole founder of Wikipedia. Wales' work developing Wikipedia, which has become the world's largest encyclopedia, prompted Time magazine to name him in its 2006 list of the world's most influential people.
Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Wales attended a small private school, then a university preparation school, eventually attaining a bachelor's degree and master's degree in finance. During his graduate studies he taught at two universities.
Question: If you had $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?
Jimmy Wales: One hundred billion dollars to give away? Wow, that’s really interesting. It’s an interesting thing because one of the things when I look at my work philanthropically and thinking about how to get Wikipedia around the world, one of the things that just comes very naturally to me is to try to avoid really thinking about it in a top down manner. So the first fleeting thought that crosses my mind is let’s take the $100 billion and give everybody in the world a computer or something like that. I don’t know if that’s enough money to give everybody a computer, but it would be a pretty good shot, right? But then on second thought, I think that’s probably not the right answer. That answer presupposes that a computer is what people need. And clearly that’s probably not what lots of people need. So I suppose if I could just sort of magically sort of give it out, I would just say give people the money. Just give, you know, $100 bucks each to as many people as you can and let them do what they will with it. Some of them will waste it; a lot of them won’t. Something interesting will come out of it.
Recorded on: Aug 10, 2007
Wales would do his best to get a computer into the hands of every man, woman and child on Earth.
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