What do you believe?
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: Do you have a personal philosophy? And if so, how would you describe it?
Jimmy Wales: I do have a personal philosophy, and it’s very firmly rooted in reason. In other words, I think it’s one of the most important things that we all have as an ethical responsibility is to think really hard, to really focus our minds and try and find out what is true. And that really guides everything that I do. That’s really, really important. And you can see that coming out in my work. Not at all. I’m a complete non-believer. The measure of a good life? That’s a very interesting way of putting it. For me, the measure of a good life is really tied up with productivity – with actually doing something constructive, doing something useful with your time. And for me, that is not a sort of duty to toil. That’s not what I mean by that. It should be fun. It should be exciting. It should be creative. For me, that’s what makes life worth living, is having creativity and productivity, building things that are useful. Yeah, that’s how I look at it.
Recorded On: Aug 10, 2007
Wales is a complete non-believer.
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