You must have know at this point in 2001 or 2003. Wikipedia was growing really fast.
You decide, I guess around 2003. What was the thinking behind that? Why did you do that?
The community of volunteers very much wanted it to be a non-profit.
Finally for me, it just made sense. Aesthetically, my ambitions for Wikipedia.
really make a nonprofit option more senseible. I think if we had gone a different route it would be very different today.
Imagine a world in which every person on the planet were given access to the sum of all human knowledge.
But I wonder why you could not have done that same thing and still have put ads on Wikipedia, like banner ads and stuff.
So here’s the thing — think about the DNA of an organization.
It is very difficult to have an organization from following the money. So Wikipedia is a non-profit, we could run ads. There is no prohibition of non-profits running ads.
Suddenly, people would start to care a lot more about our traffic in highly developed advertising markets. We would begin to care more about which pages you’re reading.
If you’re reading about Queen Victoria.
If you’re reading about Tesla cars or vacations in Las Vegas, we would have an incentive to
We an encyclopedia. We don’t think about adding page views.
We just think about how we make the encyclopedia better and how do we reach more people in the developing world. That’s just fundamental to what this is all about.
How do you even fund that. How do you even get the money to even fund the servers.
The main reason why we started the non-profit is exactly thinking about that for the future but I had no idea whether it was going to be possible. So we setup the non-profit in June.
Then we had this disaster on Christmas day and I had to scramble to get the site running on 1 server and it was painfully slow. And it was painfully obvious because the traffic was doubling.
That was the first time I decieded to do a fundraising campaign.
These days we call that crowd funding.
I remember very clearly that had hoped to raise $20,000 in a month’s time. But in about 2 weeks time we had raised $30,000.
A lot of small donors. And that is today the model for Wikipedia. People who believe in Wikipedia, who think it is useful for their lives.
Hey I should chip in.
When you think about this thing that you built and your role in the history of the internet, how much of the success of Wikipedia do you think was because of your brilliance and your hard work and how much was luck?A huge amount due to luck.
A huge amount of luck
I do think a component of the success of Wikipedia is that I’m a very friendly and nice person and I’m very laid back and so therefore I was able to work in a community environment where people basically yell at you and just have to kind of roll with it and you’re in some sense a leader but you can’t tell anyone what to do. They’re volunteers, so you have to work with love and reason and move people on in a useful way.
So I do think that I’m not irrelevant to the process, but I also think that the community is amazing and the luck of the timing of really hitting that moment when it was possible to build Wikipedia.
Jimmy, you’ve seen the estimates that if Wikipedia were a for-profit, it could be worth at least $5 billion dollars, maybe more.
Does mean anything to you?
Not really. I mean. It’s you know.
People, they love to write about how Jimmy Wales is not a billionaire.
I think that there are actually articles with the headline. Jimmy Wales in not an internet billionaire.
Exactly. And for that’s a bit odd. My life is unbeelivable interensting. amazing. I have the ability to meet almost anyone in the world. And usually I introduce myself an say I’m Jimmy Wales founder of Wikipedia. And usually they say “Oh Wow”. And if I say: “I’m Jimmy Wales. I own the largest group of car dealers across the southern part of America.” Not that interesting.
At least in that regard, no one will remember me in 500 years, but they will definitely remember Wikipedia.
That’s something that you can hardly get your head around.
There have been comparisons to the Gutenberg Press. This is the biggest dissemination of human knowledge in modern world history.
But its a bit embarrassing to talk about it that way. I just try to have fun.
Anonymous Creator: Bjarne Stroustrup: Creator of C++
talk I put up a little curtain so I can
have a big reveal as to what the
language is So this is Bjarne Stroustrup
anyone know who this gentleman is?
okay yes so III have a spoiler right
here on the slide he’s the creator of
C++ but he’s also the creator of another
programming language which he created
before C++ anyone know what that was
called C with classes this language had
a very specific goal it was to have C
but with classes and actually it’s not
it’s not quite true it was C with
classes but also like a stronger type
system he wanted like to make the type
checker a little bit stronger so he gave
this interview where he kind of explains
it is like his thought process is while
he was doing and he was like why did I
want to add classes to C well Strasbourg
had actually used Simula personally in a
previous job when he was working at this
company where he’s like I want to UC and
I want to use like something nicer than
then see for like modeling my domain I
just like want to be able to get more
organized and he was like yeah you know
what I thought classes were pretty good
when I was using them in the simulated
A’s I really liked that
um and so I’m just gonna try and bring
that in so he does he makes scene with
classes and then he runs into a problem
which is that see with classes is what
he calls a medium success and the
problem with being a medium success as
he explains is that it’s like okay so
this works I got a few people using it
couple of users it’s pretty nice
they’re happy with it the problem is
that I’m the only maintainer and there’s
too few of us to spread the maintenance
burden around and so I’m kind of in a
pickle like on the one hand I could just
say well I don’t want to maintain this
for the rest of my life I’m just gonna
walk away and abandon it but then all
the people who are using it are my
friends so I don’t want to do that names
like so what do I do
he’s like well the only other option
seems to be maybe I’ll just like add
more features so it’ll be more useful to
more people and then may be able to get
popular enough that I can find some
other maintainer ‘he’s so he does that
he adds the additional non
object-oriented features and renames the
language to C++ and it became slightly
more popular and and it still maintained
this whole like drop-in C replacement
thing right that that upgrade path
that’s really smooth but this is really
interesting because again we have
actually a pretty direct experiment of
like does object orientation cause
success and he was like well I added
object orientation and a stronger type
checker as a bonus that was not enough
to cause success then I added a bunch
more features and success so we have a
very direct experiments like whether or
not object orientation caused the
success of C++ it’s like no because when
it just had object orientation it was
called C with classes which nobody in
this room had heard of so clearly not
not not a causal relationship there
between the OO stuff and the success of
C++ you wanna see this whole interview
again here’s the link to this really
interesting stuff this is from the 80s
when Strauss Tripp was interviewed about
C++ okay so to kind of sum up this like
family of languages we have like a lot
of people are going to write C code for
UNIX like great systems programming
language they find you know what the the
ergonomics are not great or maybe like I
just need some modularity in the case of
C++ adding over features to it did make
his life better he was happier with it
but it wasn’t enough to make it be like
the rocket ship that jumped into the top
10 like it altum Utley did until he