Jimmy Donal Jimbo Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and promoter of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia, Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama, where he attended Randolph School, a university-preparatory school. Later, he earned bachelors and masters degrees in Finance from Auburn University, in 1996, he and two partners founded Bomis, an adult web portal featuring entertainment and adult content. The company would provide the funding for the peer-reviewed free encyclopedia, Nupedia. He is historically cited as a co-founder of Wikipedia, though he has disputed the co- designation, Wales serves on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the non-profit charitable organization that he helped establish to operate Wikipedia, holding its board-appointed community founder seat. In 2004, he co-founded Wikia, a wiki hosting service. His role in creating Wikipedia, which has become the worlds largest encyclopedia, Wales was born in Huntsville, Alabama, shortly before midnight on August 7,1966, however, his birth certificate lists his date of birth as the 8th. As a child, Wales was a reader with an acute intellectual curiosity. When he was three, his mother bought a World Book Encyclopedia from a door-to-door salesman, as he grew up and learned to read, it became an object of reverence. But Wales soon discovered that the World Book had shortcomings, no matter how much was in it, there were only four other children in Waless grade, so the school grouped together the first through fourth-grade students and the fifth through eighth-grade students. After eighth grade, Wales attended Randolph School, a school in Huntsville. Wales said that the school was expensive for his family, and you know, the very traditional approach to knowledge and learning and establishing that as a base for a good life. He received his bachelors degree in finance from Auburn University in 1986 and he began his Auburn education when he was 16 years old. Wales then entered the PhD finance program at the University of Alabama before leaving with a degree to enter the PhD finance program at Indiana University. At the University of Alabama, he played Internet fantasy games and he taught at both universities during his postgraduate studies but did not write the doctoral dissertation required for a PhD, something he ascribed to boredom. In 1994, Wales took a job with Chicago Options Associates, Wales has described himself as having been addicted to the Internet from an early stage and he wrote computer code during his leisure time. In 1996, he and two partners founded Bomis, a web portal featuring user-generated webrings and, for a time, Wales described it as a guy-oriented search engine with a market similar to that of Maxim magazine, the Bomis venture did not ultimately turn out to be successful. Though Bomis had struggled to make money, it provided Wales with the funding to pursue his greater passion, while moderating an online discussion group devoted to the philosophy of Objectivism in the early 1990s, Wales had encountered Larry Sanger, a skeptic of the philosophy
Image: Wikimania 2016 Press conference with Jimmy Wales and Katherine Maher 01 (cropped)
The staff of Wales's Internet company Bomis photographed in summer 2000. Wales is third from the left in the back row, with Christine Rohan.