Founder, Wikipedia; U.S. Internet Entrepreneur and Wiki Pioneer; One of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”; Wikipedia: Ranked Among the Top Ten Most-Visited Web Sites Worldwide
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Read more about Jimmy Wales
Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge...To create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language-That’s who I am. That’s what I am doing. That’s my life goal.” -Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, was ranked 12th by Forbes Magazine in their first annual “Web Celeb 25” List and named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”
Wales created the first open-source online encyclopedia truly by the people and for the people. Wikipedia's articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and nearly all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet. Having steadily risen in popularity since its inception, Wikipedia currently ranks among the top ten most-visited web sites worldwide. In May 2008, Jimmy Wales co-chaired the annual World Economic Forum on the Middle East, the foremost global gathering of political, business and cultural leaders. In 2007, The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of its “Young Global Leaders.”
This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders across the world for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society, and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. In an address to the forum, Mr. Wales declared that the internet will act as a catalyst in the promotion of democracy. “We do not hear much from everyday people; the Internet can change that. It is going to change political dynamics.”
Harnessing the Power of Social Media
As the internet continues to grow and change at exponential rates, Jimmy Wales discusses how open-source, open-content technology will affect the fundamental ways that businesses interact with customers, distributors, suppliers, and the public in the future.
A ‘Wiki’ Future
As a leading technology futurist, Mr. Wales presents how open-source, open-content technology is changing the face of the internet and how businesses must adapt in the face of this rapidly evolving technology in order to compete and innovate. Businesses today are starting to use the same collaborative tools that Wikipedia employs, and it's worth learning from the monumental success of the Wikipedia model.
Democracy and the Internet
Freedom of speech and the distribution of knowledge is the foundation of Wikipedia. Mr. Wales predicts that the internet will democratize developing countries by making the world ‘flat,’ opening markets, promoting cultural understanding, and giving developing nations the resources they need to compete in the 21st century. With current total Internet usage by one billion people set to double in the next five to 10 years (with the majority of new users arising from developing nations), Mr. Wales asserts that internet will combat stereotypes, censorship, media control, and monopolies while simultaneously allowing citizens of developing nations to have a more prominent voice. As Mr. Wales states: "It does not take a lot of technology to foster open dialog and debate. Even the simplest technologies like mailing lists, wikis, blogs can help a lot. What is needed mostly, I think, is more content in local languages, and support from people around the world to help others join in the global conversation.