Jimmy Wales is quietly building the world's largest repository of Jimmy Wales-related knowledge

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on July 13, 2014

From The News Desk

If you're anything like me, you have a lot of questions about Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

"Does Jimmy Wales play Candy Crush or Clash of Clans?"

"What does Jimmy Wales think about Breaking Bad? Has he seen it yet?"

"Is Jimmy Wales Jewish? If yes, does he celebrate Pessah (Passover)?"

If you're anything like me, these are just a few of the Jimmy Wales related questions you've asked yourself in the past few months. But, if you're anything like me, you haven't known where to turn for the answers.

Until now.

Without fanfare, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has apparently been quietly working on a new project: to build the world's largest resource of Jimmy Wales related answers.

But rather than building his own platform, as he did with Wikipedia, Wales is building his Walesopedia project on Quora, where he has apparently tasked himself with answering every single question asked about Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales.

Questions like:

"What is Jimmy Wales's favorite book?"

"What was Jimmy Wales's first part-time job growing up?"

"What is a typical day for Jimmy Wales?"

"What is the net worth of Jimmy Wales?"

"What is Jimmy Wales like in person?"

To the question about whether he has seen Breaking Bad, Wales responded:

Loved it.  Probably the second best television show of all time, after The Wire.
To the question about his first job, Wales answers:
I delivered newspapers.  This wasn't technically a 'job' because the way it was organized, the paperboys bought the newspapers at wholesale and sold them at retail, meaning that we made a profit if we did a good job and got more customers and didn't over-order newspapers or lose them, and we lost money if we did a poor job.

This is often thought of as a great character building exercise and great training to be an entrepreneur.  I thought it was a great education in how badly one might be paid if they do manual labor for a living and therefore a great incentive to get educated!

My first actual 'job' with a paycheck was working in a grocery store as a bag boy. The only subject Wales seems coy about is that of his own net worth. To the question "Is Jimmy Wales rich?" he answers:

By any sane standard of measurement, yes, of course I'm rich.  Nearly half of the people on earth live on less than $2 a day.  I spend more than that on my cellphone bill. About 80% of the people on earth live on less than $10 a day.

But the point I'm making is that people often get sucked into a way of thinking about things that makes them think that a reasonable standard for measuring whether someone is wealthy or not is appropriately measured relative to Mark Zuckerberg or the Google guys or whatever. ...which is to say that, yes, if by "rich," you mean "does Jimmy Wales live on more than $2 a day?" then of course Jimmy Wales is rich. But if you mean is Jimmy Wales "rich" compared to four of the richest people to have ever walked the planet then Jimmy Wales is basically Mother Fucking Theresa. (Related: Wales is yet to answer the question "What challenges has Jimmy Wales faced?")

But even to the Walesophiles on Walesopedia, Wales' answer to the money question wasn't quite good enough. "What is Jimmy Wales' net worth?" persists another questioner.

Wales takes another swing at not really answering:

No one knows my net worth, not even me.  The largest part of my net worth is my stock in Wikia, which is a privately held company.  For privately held companies with no openly trading stock, it is not very easy to estimate values.  I have a certain amount of stock.  Maybe it's worth something, maybe not.

I can tell you this much, though, it's at least...

main-qimg-439743525f600091fed6936e2332a41d It's not entirely clear if Wales means "One millllllllllion dollars" per Mike Myers' Doctor Evil character, or whether he's referring to Myers' reported $175m net worth. But given Wales said in 2012 that he'd like to sell his for-profit Wikia business for a billion dollars, his actual net worth is likely more than both those numbers added together.

Also unclear is what Jimmy Wales intends to do with the over-1m Quora credits he has apparently earned answering all these questions about Jimmy Wales. It's very possible he's just building Walesopedia because he knows he's the best man for the job.

After all, as he writes on Quora: "I am Jimmy Wales and therefore have a reasonable amount of knowledge about what I think and what I have done."

And now so do we, Jimmy. So do we.