Wales was born in Huntsville in the U.S. state of Alabama, and is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama. He worked as a professional futures and options trader in Chicago. He admires the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand, and while in graduate school owned and moderated an Internet mailing list known as the "Moderated Discussion of Objectivist Philosophy". In the mid-1990s Wales started Bomis, a search portal focusing on aspects of pop culture, which also sells original content. More recently, he founded Wikia, a wiki-style search engine, and Wikicities, a free wiki hosting service.
With Larry Sanger, Wales founded Wikipedia, a wiki-based online encyclopedia derived from the free software model. He and Sanger had previously worked on the now-defunct Nupedia encyclopedia project. Wales is currently the director of the Wikimedia Foundation, a Tampa-based non-profit organization that encompasses Wikipedia and its younger sister projects. Time magazine reported that Wales had spent around US$500,000 on the establishment and operations of his Wiki projects.
- Personal home page
- Personal blog
- USA Today interview
- Newsweek article
- Extremely outdated list of Objectivism mailing lists
- Wales' Wikipedia user page