Enterprise Ambassador Adam Dixon tells us ‘Why I’m inspired by Wikipedia’ …
Over the Christmas break, we set our Student Ambassadors the question “In your personal opinion, who is the most inspirational entrepreneur of the last 50 years”.
Adam Dixon, a Mechanical Engineering student, came back to us with this response.
A truly inspirational entrepreneur is not only an accomplished businessperson, but also a pillar of society. I can think of few people who have achieved great success and then gone on to do good, forsaking personal wealth and working towards the advancement of civilization – Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates. Jimmy Wales established Wikipedia at the turn of the Millennium after developing the concept of a Wiki Encyclopaedia for a decade. Wikipedia has gone on to be one of the foremost repositories of information in the developed world and offers complete access for anyone with internet access. The massive value that Wikipedia has added to society is hard to measure, but as hundreds of millions of people access it every year to research facts (or many sides of an argument), we can appreciate that the high quality material on the website has influenced people to make more enlightened decisions, study faster, achieve greater understanding of a concept and also to let people write down what they themselves know.
Jimmy designed Wikipedia to be a self-perpetuating development which could keep itself going through its devoted Wikipedia editors – the unsung heroes of Wikipedia. As such, minimal capital requirements enable Wikipedia almost unlimited opportunity for expansion, and now there are a multitude of languages each offering many thousands of articles, so that people anywhere in the world can access information. One of his greatest achievements in my opinion was handing over the $3bn estimated Wikipedia to the Wikimedia foundation – a foundation he established to develop and administer Wikipedia, overseeing its quality and neutrality. Many entrepreneurs exposed to such wealth ($3bn) would have sold out and we would be seeing a poorer and perhaps non-neutral version of Wikipedia which could have even changed into something else. As such, Wales is a paragon of enlightenment, revolutionising information and protecting Wikipedia from commercialization by keeping it in the public interest. The learning that Wikipedia offers has and will revolutionize education globally – almost any person can go to an internet café and study topics as varied as Belisarius to Noam Chomsky, or Quantum Particles to the Golgi apparatus!
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Cardiff University Enterprise Team Student Intern
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