Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales (2018)
Hey everyone so think of the last time you got into an argument with someone right. The the kind of argument that could be resolved with a simple fact you know like is is a lobster a crustacean or mollusc. What was the final score in game? Seven of the world series. How long does it take the light from the sun to reach the earth anyway? Chances this is our if you grab your phone and type in those questions. The answers will come up on wikipedia. It's become a ubiquitous. I stop for finding out just about anything in my interview with Wikipedia. Founder Jimmy Wales Strand about two years ago but it is an incredible story and incredibly surprising. So we're playing it again and hope enjoy it. What was the was? The first wikipedia entry the earliest article that anyone has found Was An article on the letter Q.. And in in those early days it was very exciting. You could just be the first person to say. Africa is a continent and hit save. And while it's not very good but it's not wrong and it's a start from I'm NPR. It's how I built this show. That innovators entrepreneurs idealists the stories behind the movements they built Guy Roz on today. Show the story of how Jimmy Wales started an online encyclopedia as a side project project and watched it grow into one of the pillars of the Internet. Okay so I'm looking at a list of the most viewed websites in the world number one. Of course probably know so. Is Google also at the top of the list Youtube and of course facebook also a handful of Chinese websites like by do and then clocking clocking in somewhere around number Ken Wikipedia so imagine for a moment that you are the founder of one of these enormous websites well Forbes puts out an annual list of their net worth. And here's what we found. Larry Page founder of Google. It's about sixty six billion dollars. Mark Zuckerberg edges him out with about eighty two billion dollars. One of the founders of BINU is worth around ten billion dollars and the founder of wikipedia Jimmy Wales else. He's not listed by Forbes but judging from media reports Jimmy's net worth is nowhere near the billions. In fact it's likely in and low millions in other words. Jimmy Wales is quite possibly the least rich Internet Titan in the world but unlike a lot of famous founders Jimmy Wales legacy is likely to live on for centuries because in some ways he's like a Modern Day Youhana's Gutenberg and just it's like Gutenberg's press made it possible to spread knowledge beyond village or town. wikipedia made it possible for every single person on earth with an Internet Internet connection to gain access to probably the biggest collection of knowledge ever assembled online and like a lot of the entrepreneurs we interview on the show. The story starts with influential people and important events that happened pretty early in life. He grew up in Huntsville Alabama where his uncle owned a shop that sold old early personal computers and Jimmy worked there part time and it's too big hobbies tinkering with computers and reading reading just about anything then he found interesting. Basically anything I get my hands on including since a lot of time reading the encyclopedia you know you hear about something and you WanNa learn more and you're going to the encyclopedia and find the article and read that and yeah it was. It was a beloved thing in our House that we had the encyclopedia. And we all use it. Did you buy vitamin store or did did somebody like come to your house. Zone came to the house door to door When I was a baby as the family legend goes that Somebody came to the House and sold it to my mother and every year they would send out an annual update. Yeah for example. The article on the moon was updated when someone landed on the moon. And so there were all these stickers and you would take the sticker out and you would go to look him moon and you'll find the old article on the Moon you put in sticker saying there's an update my mom and I would. We do that every year. When the stickers came in first editing and it's like L'Opinion Jimmy eventually went to college in his home state of Alabama and he was really good at complex complex mathematics? So good in fact that he went on to do a PhD in finance but around nineteen. ninety-two Jimmy decided. That academia really wasn't the place for him so he left to take a job as an options trader in Chicago. What I was doing really just trading like buying and selling every day arbitrage arbitrage so? There's a lot of mathematical modeling to relate the prices of different things to each other to look for opportunities to find imperfections in in the market in pricing pricing. So while you're in Chicago and early nineties this was also around the time the Internet starts to become something that ordinary people are using. Netscape comes out and people people like browsing the Internet. Did you get into that. Yeah completely yeah I was. I was really so even when I was before I came to Chicago I was really getting into onto the Internet so what I was doing had no life. I was just traded in the day and then we go home at night and I was working on my own web browser wait you. You're making your own web browser like on the side like in your apartment. Yeah has you know how to do that did you would just sort of self taught. Yeah Yeah I mean In Grad school obviously from doing very quantitative data analysis. Things like that. I learned to program. I was bad programmer. But I you know I can go. Yeah I I just remember very clearly the day that netscape went public and I had the I had been convinced a few years time that the Internet was going to be really a big and really important and really fundamentally changed the world and this was the the moment when I felt like okay look. The market is validating that like other people are seeing it and people are really investing money here and so there was a bit of a transition period but it was really in ninety. I'd say about ninety eight is when I left Chicago and I moved to San Diego and that was when I really decided you know I'm just going to I'm going to focus full-time on my internet ideas and projects. Once Jimmy settled down in San Diego. He founded founded small Internet. Search company called bombs and because this was the late nineteen nineties during the DOTCOM. Boom companies were paying top rates to advertise ties on these new things called websites and so for the next few years those at dollars made it possible for Jimmy to pyre small staffer programmers and they we had the money to just experiment. The idea was really at that time. This is Google remember. The Best Web directory around was Yahoo and Yahoo hired hundreds of people to go around and index manually by an index topics and categories on the web. And then I said well look maybe the community he can do that. Maybe other people can help out and if you could get thousands of people involved it could be really bigger than than what Yahoo is doing and that was really the thought so we allowed people to come in and build an index to any topic that they were interested in and we called it a web ring. I remember one of the first community members came in and built built a Web ring about Jupiter and so they had gathered a bunch of links about the planet Jupiter and they put it in. And we're like okay. That's cool that's great now. Of course we dabbled in all kinds of things we had a a few blogs and I remember my business partner at the time was talking about building what today I would say what he his idea idea was sounded a lot like facebook but it was really more about people reconnecting with people from their schools and universities of classmates dot com kind of idea but I mean keep in mind line that this was also where we started new pedia the predecessor to Wikipedia tump. Tell me about that because while you're at Bama's This this thing new pedia grows grows out of it right one. What was it so you know as I said at at Thomas? We're always experimenting. We're thinking of new ideas and new possibilities new things to do and I was looking at the model of open source software. Seeing that that worked I was also looking at you. Know at Bama's we had community members. who were the building indexes to content that they were interested in So the idea of new pedia wants to basically replicate that to say well. Let's build an encyclopedia and Have volunteers contribute to it. And I just thought you know this. This seems like a low hanging fruit. Actually I remember. I was in a panic when I had the idea to hurry. Yup and get started because I thought it was so obvious so when I started new pedia Really thought that other competitors out there but after two years it was still no one really competing heating with us because it may be wasn't as obvious as I thought and the idea was basically just make an online encyclopedia. Yeah but of course at the time. I didn't really understand. Stand Wiki the concept of a website anyone can edit and also we had a seven stays review process assist to get anything published. So how'd it work you. Would you'd write an article for new pedia and then it went through seven stages before it was published seven stages but I mean some some of the stages had to do with Russia to propose. The article You had to prove your qualifications to write it. We had some staff. So Larry Sanger was the editor in chief and he would. There was a whole process whereby you could apply to submit something and so forth and then there would be copy editing reviewers much like academic view where you send it out to experts in the field for review and actually one of the things that was really a lightbulb moment. In my mind wind was one of the first few articles that got through that process and was published. We had it up on the web for just a few days I would say and suddenly they came to our attention. Somebody said hey this is really plagiarized. Oh and we checked into it and like ouch so like somebody's copied the encyclopedia. No it wasn't from another Cepeda was from other sources but it was it was just. It was not good and I realized even with all this process we built up to prevent this there was still plagiarism. Awesome and that was a huge problem and in fact the only thing that revealed it was more people reading it and seeing saying. Hey this is actually a problem. And that there's there's an old saying in the open source software world That given enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow and what that means is oftentimes when you're programming. There's some kind of bug in your code and you just cannot find it and if you get another set of eyes on it or ten sets of is it becomes very obvious somebody will spot it. Yeah and so that concept it does actually apply in lots of areas of life. If you get a lot of people looking at something people can say. Hey there's actually a problem here that maybe nobody else noticed. And then sometimes after it's been pointed out. Oh yeah that's kind of obvious so I I read that within a year after launching new pedia you. The site produced a total of twenty one articles which doesn't sound sound like. It was churning and burning. No it was not good and in fact as we proceeded through that year and I was very frustrated with the slow the pace of Progress I decided to write an entry myself. I thought I just need to go through this process myself to see what's wrong with it. Or how can we improve it. And so I decided decided to write an article about Robert Merton because I'd read all of his professional work on option pricing theory which was my specialty back in academia. So I was qualified fudd enough to write a basic biography of him but I found it very intimidating because I knew that they were gonNA take my draft and send it out to the most. The prestigious finance professors they could find to agree to review it and I was going to get feedback and it felt really a lot like Grad school and that was really the the moment when I said okay. Look this. This isn't GonNa work like this isn't fun. We really have to make this a lot easier and a lot more open And so that was a really crucial moment. The moment that I tried to get something through the system so when you were working on new pedia and you're like sending these draft articles around I guess probably like all over the country We're how are you collaborating with people. Well this was the thing The one of the problems. That new PEDIA had Is that the only real the way to collaborate back then was to email around the word doc and if you emailed around a word doc then the typical cases nobody response the worst case is five people respond all changed the document in different ways. And now you gotTA figure out how to integrate that all but you know the concept of a wiki which just a website anyone can edit was actually invented by guy called Ward Cunningham. WHO's lovely great programmer and so the word wicky It's a Hawaiian word. Which means quick and the idea was quick collaboration? And so the idea that there's a document on the web but anybody can come along and edit it and save it and so when we were the first to really say. Let's use that tool to build an encyclopedia. So the idea was you. Would you find out about this Wiki software and you think Yeah let's democratize this process of writing articles throat open. Everyone and the entire community will Kind of cross referencing. Check it. Well you're a little more organically than that we had a good sized community of people Who are working on new pedia and so these people were all very eager are people who loved the concept of a free encyclopedia for everyone in their own language? That was a really exciting concept and so initially we thought well. Let's start. Start this as a tool for that community. So it'll still be new PEDIA BUT WE'RE GONNA use this Wicky as a way for that community to begin to work together a little more efficiently and I made the decision to put it up The domain name WIKIPEDIA DOT com rather than keep it on new pedia. Because we weren't really sure like we had a lot of academics. Very serious people on the mailing lists and the seemed a bit of a crazy idea. We thought they might find it offensive and so we said okay. Let's just set up on a different domain and see what happens but of course the history is that wikipedia very very quickly outstripped new -pedia in terms of the content created in the quality. And and and everything else and I should know this to me but I don't what was the was the first wikipedia entry. Unfortunately there was no history. Capped of the very early days the earliest history was lost. So we don't really know the earliest article that anyone has found was an article on the letter Q.. And I'm sure that was not the first article in Wikipedia. I know the first words in wikipedia. They were hello world. I know because I typed them and then very quickly we started started doing lists of things States and things like that so I guess you launch wikipedia in January of two thousand one new pedia still still exists yet. But it's like two weeks you had more articles on Wikipedia the new PD had generated in the previous two years. That's right yeah yeah. Of course as you mentioned earlier that was something like twenty one so it was a pretty minor achievement in one says but it was it. Was I opener it was like. Wow we've got this great community and people people just started right in making articles on various random things and other people editing them and there's a lot of pent up excitement about. Let's just get started that building this and the that change from really this huge very intimidating process that was not very collaborative. Being able to say you know in those early days it was very exciting. You could just be the first person to say. Africa is a continent and hit save. And while it's not very good but it's not wrong and it's a start and that was very very addictive the the idea that you could actually Change something this is all being run out of. Where like did you have an office in San Diego or was this your apartment or yeah yeah yeah yeah? Small Office This was steering the bomb. Stay so we had a few programmers and sort of cheap office in a warehouse space this is the period of time when ad revenue was good so we were able to just hire some people and get started. I guess you very quickly realized that Wikipedia compe- could potentially be huge did seem clear like within the first months or year. Yeah it did it. Did I mean it you know. I remember looking at a list of the top web sites at the time and there was an encyclopedia reference kind of site at ranked number fifty and I thought gee if we do a really good job we might be Number one hundred hour maybe even in the top fifty but there was always this idea of like this could be a big thing if we can figure out how to do it could have a huge impact in just a minute. When Jimmy Wales was faced with the question of how wikipedia a Pedia was gonNA make money? He decided that it wasn't stay with us. I'm Guy Rise and you're listening to how I built this from. NPR Hey everyone just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who help make this podcast possible I to legalzoom. It's easy to make the same old New Year's resolutions that won't stick so change it up this year with legalzoom for over nineteen years legalzoom has helped more than four million people resolve personal and business legal needs. It's legal. Zoom isn't a law firm so you can count on their network of independent attorneys for advice. Go to legalzoom dot com and use code built for special special savings legalzoom where life meets legal. Thanks also to Microsoft. We all know meetings struggling to pay attention. Byles seem possible to find. And if you're not in the room you're not in the know. Welcome to the new way to work together. Microsoft teams where you can contribute to meetings from anywhere chat that with coworkers. Here never out of loop and find all your files and even edit them in real time in one convenient place when you're ready to unleash the power of your team. mm-hmm open teams learn more Microsoft dot com slash teams the night before his first scene with Catherine O'Hara Dan Levy was a little freaked out. This is my first time acting since a lifetime movie that I did with me and the stories behind the celebrities every Tuesday on it's been a minute from NPR. Welcome back to how I built this from NPR. I'm Iras so in the early days. Jimmy Wales was able to get wikipedia up and running running and he was funding it with money from his first Internet. Startup Bama's Obama's was running ads. Dot Com boom was in high gear but then of course came the dot com crash and all that ad money dried up pretty fast and Bama's would eventually have to shutdown completely sie lay but at the same time wikipedia was growing and Jimmy had to figure out how to keep it growing without a lot of cash. There was no no money really to support wikipedia. But it didn't cost a lot of money. It was really community driven and so it really was the volunteers and one of the reasons that wikipedia became a huge success. I would say ironically is the lack of funding. Because if I had the money if I'd gone to Silicon Valley and convince somebody to give me millions of dollars to start this then you're natural instinct. If you have any problem on the site is to say okay we just need to hire some moderators and we're GONNA make decisions and we're GONNA have staff members who decide things and instead there was no money. We couldn't hire anybody so as a community working together we had to find their own solutions. So we had to say you know what are the software solutions. We need to be able to control for vandalism and then imagine we have a really really tough editorial decision we have to make. How do we make those decisions? All of those things happened because there was no money to hire anyone because it would have been much easier to just hire people and that would have actually prevented the rise is of a more natural solutions and who is managing. It was it just you and Larry Sanger was just the two of you. Yeah Yeah I mean pretty. I mean we had other employees who who are helping out And this and that of course but you know it's basically. We had to think a lot about how to move the commune in the right direction. You know there were a lot of really complicated questions around around okay. When do we ban people? When do we block people from editing? When a when we think they've gone too far and a lot of the editorial policy you know you have questions? I'd like to what extent we allow people to write essays or commentary or put jokes in articles and decided. No you know. Neutral point of view was like our core belief and so on but all those decisions had to be made and they were made in discussions with community and and so forth. You must have known Jimmy at this point into as wanted to that. We Kapiti was growing super fast and it was going to be could potentially be huge. You decide around two thousand and three to basically create a nonprofit organisation run we what was the thinking on that. Why did you do that so there were a few things going on there? So first of all this was still the depth of the DOT COM crash so there was no obvious business model The the community of volunteers very much wanted it to be in a nonprofit and I thought that had to be taken into consideration and then finally for me it just made sense like it was aesthetically. It just seemed like the right thing that wikipedia ambitions for Wikipedia to become a really important moment in history and a really important cultural contribution really made a nonprofit a much more sensible option and indeed you know I think if we had gone in a different route it would would be very different. Today you gave an interview to slash website slash. Todd and you you said imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing this amazing idea but I wonder why you could not. I have done that same thing and still put ads on wikipedia panoramas and stuff. Yeah I mean so here's the thing If you think about the DNA of any organization it's very difficult to stop an organization from following the money. So wikipedia is a nonprofit put and as a nonprofit. We could run ADS. No Legal Prohibition on a nonprofit running ads as a as a means of support sure yet because the organization tend to follow the money then suddenly inside the organization people would start carrying a lot more about our traffic in highly developed advertising markets. We would begin to care more about which pages you're reading because if you're reading about Queen Victoria there's probably very little to sell to you and there's probably. The ad rates are very poor. Are you reading about Tesla cars or vacations in Las Vegas or something like that. I mean we would have an incentive to start creating content that would drive higher ed revenues which is really not what we want to do. We're an encyclopedia. We don't think about adding features. That might drive. Page views for traffic. We just think about how. How do we make the encyclopedia better? And how do we reach more people particularly in the developing world. That's just like fundamental to what this is all about. So when you basically sit right this nonprofit we're not gonNA have any advertising. We're going to. It's going to be user generated content. How do you even fund that? How how are you going to get the money to even fund the pain the servers? Yeah what happened was the main reason that We went ahead and set up. The nonprofit was exactly thinking of that for the future but I had no idea whether it was going to be possible so he set up the nonprofit in June and at that time we were running on two or three servers and so then we had this disaster was Christmas Day when two of our three servers crashed and I had to scramble to get the running on one server and it was painfully slow. Hello and so forth and it was clearly obvious because the Traffic Cup doubling that we were going to have to buy a bunch of servers and so that was the first time that I decided to do to fundraising campaign to ask people on the site to give money and these days we call it crowdfunding and it's you know everybody knows it but back then that was not a normal way of doing things and I remember very clearly that I had hoped to raise about twenty thousand dollars in a month's time but in about two week's time we had raised nearly thirty thousand so the first fundraiser was a huge success. I mean people really said hey this is great. We really want to support this. And so a lot of small donors and that of course. Today is the model for Wikipedia that people who believe in Wikipedia who think it's useful in their lives. Say Hey I should chip in. When did you so wikipedia really kind of starts to just blow up in the early two thousands? And when did you when you when you first sort of cognizant of that. When did you realize that wikipedia was becoming really big part of the national conversation? I think there were there. Were a few moments but I think one of the most important ones There's a Guy John cygan Taylor Junior. Who is a very esteemed journalist and he called me up to complain about his entry? When when was this two thousand five and he said Hey? There's a problem because wikipedia says I was briefly suspected of having something to do with the Kennedy assassination. This is a man who was one of the Pallbearers at Robert. Kennedy's funeral. If remember the story correctly so a big friend of the Kennedy Family and the story was absolutely untrue and once he called was about ten minutes to get that fixed and changed and we looked into how it had happened and so forth and so we thought okay problem resolved but then he wrote this scathing editorial in USA Today about the site and and it got a lot of traction that story so we had this really big thing and they they dragged me on CNN to yell at me and so forth and suddenly a we're in all the press everywhere are traffic really exploded because of all the news coverage so that was the that was the upside. But that's not the way you want traffic it to explode but in the end that was actually a moment that was important for us outcome. Why this this lead in the community to a real reflection on quality on sourcing? This is when we came up with the biography of living persons policy and really started. Say they look if it's a biography of person than anything. Negative in the article really needs to have a good quality source because that's just not acceptable all to have negative things about people that aren't true and so we became quite vigilant about that Afterwards and of course. There's always the possibility of this happening and so forth and it does happen but the committee is very very vigilant about. It tries hard to keep anything like that out of this. I mean it's amazing because we compete on a day-to-day basis. Everyone use I use it. Everybody uses I use it but I remember at that time that John Siegenthaler article two thousand five. NPR We were not allowed to use wikipedia as a source and it wasn't just NPR's was was all news organizations like e we compete. It was not considered reliable source and it just shows you sort of. Yeah well I mean I think that should still be your policy Wikipedia is quite good. It is definitely not perfect and what I always say is. WIKIPEDIA is the place to go to get the questions. Not The answers is the way to get yourself oriented in context and I always say go on the talk page of any article and see what are the wikipedia and struggling with. If they're saying Gee oh you know this source says this and these sources say that and there seems to be a conflict. Hey that might be the most interesting question you can ask because let's get to the bottom of this. There's conflicting information out there. And also so you know if you want to use wikipedia as a starting point then you can always go to the footnotes in the actual source. And that's what you should do. So she meet of just cannot imagine like running this volunteer organization with hundreds of thousands. Maybe millions of people today certainly millions who were voluntarily editing editing sites and did average like get you so wound up that you just want to do it any mirror. No not really You you know the the interesting thing is I remember in the very early days I would get up at night and check the site is I was convinced that somebody who's GonNa come in and trash it overnight which never happened and then quickly actually I realized like Oh yes vandal did show up at three. Am My time last night. But guess what somebody who's a known community member was up in Australia and actually block the person and fix the problem And so you you. I began to understand like communities do inherently scale and I think that is part of what helped me not be overwhelmed by anything. So we're now in this phase in the history of the Internet people call fake news. I don't like that term obvious reasons but So much information that looks real. That's not real. This is not new. I mean this is happened throughout human history but now because there is so much information available sometimes it's difficult for people to discern what's real and what's not an I and I wonder whether one of the challenges with Wiki is reasonable people are disagreeing agreeing about basic facts. So how do you reconcile at as has wikipedia deal with that. I mean a few of the elements so one When we think about the quality of sources That's a really core thing in wikipedia and we have a lot of discussions debates and I think a fairly sophisticated approach to thinking about the quality of sources. And I agree with you. I don't like the term fake news but the original use of the term was really about clearly completely completely made up websites that look like new sites with no concern for the truth with outrageous headlines and so on and those kinds of sites have had almost zero impact wikipedia. Because while you know that might do well to share on facebook something that comes from a publication called the Denver Guardian because it looks like a new you cite and Denver. Everybody knows Denver. City in America and Guardian. Sounds like a newspaper so it seems plausible as we Gideon's would take one look at it and say I've never heard of that paper. That stuff doesn't really get into Pedia a broader problem that I am concerned about is right now the the trust in media media in the US but also around the world but in the US is really at an all time low It's a tough problem and I think it's a societal problem to say. Look we really do need quality information. Most people are very passionate about wanting to be told the truth. You know the the best way to prepare people for you're authoritarian. Rule is not to indoctrinate them into an authoritarian philosophy but to make them believe that there is no such thing as truth. And that's that's a trend that I'm not not happy. About how many times do you know how many wikipedia pages there are today in English for example There's over five million in English English last. I checked so total. Probably all languages Zebbie forty million. How close to fifty close to fifty? Do you even know how many people contribute to wikipedia around the world. It's something around seventy five thousand people every month Who Make at least five edits? It's probably three to five thousand. Is the core community of people who are making a hundred or more at its And so that's that's quite a lot of people but it's not as many people as some might think Now of course making five edits in a month. That's not a huge amount of participation. But you're pretty you know around And there'll be a lot more people who just make one at a year but in terms of the real community. It's probably that seventy five thousand Jimmy. Wet Let motivates seventy five thousand people or a few hundred thousand people to donate hundreds of hours of time every year for free to do this. Yeah I think it's two things so I you know the mission. A free encyclopedia for everyone in the world is is meaningful. I mean you could spend your hobby. Time playing grand theft auto or doing something else and the world wouldn't be any better off when you're done and if you spend spend a few hours editing wikipedia you can go to sleep and things. Yeah I it was productive. The world is a little bit better than it was and someone somewhere will benefit from that. And that's great and then also just fun people you get to meet. People are interested in things. You're interested in no matter. How obscure the ethos of the community is to say look no personal attacks? We're here to discuss the content if you go on the discussion page for a controversial topic. You're not there to debate that topic You can do that. Lots of place on the Internet. What you get it wikipedia debate about? How do we improve this article? And that's just a refreshing kind of feeling and so a lot of people really find. It suits their personality. Do you know what the revenue is like any revenue for Wikipedia from donations. Yeah a revenue new. I should know the number exactly the head but I don't But I think last year was around. Eighty five million dollars. Wow just from donations just from donations. Incredible credible primarily from small donors. That's important to understand that when the community gets together to debate something about what they WanNa have. Wikipedia say what policies should be. There's never a question of will. What will the funders thing? Yeah and over the years. We've really tried to run the organization in a very financially conservative way. Every year we try to build a reserves a lot of our donors one of the things that they really want from wikipedia is that we pedia be safe and so that drives rises to say okay. They don't want us to run on a shoestring they don't want us to run. Nearly a break even in nearly going broke every year we need to be stable. And that's been a real value for many years 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 because of your brilliance and your hard work? And how much do you think is simply safe. Lock a huge amount due to lock brilliance and hard work. Okay maybe not so much I do think a component of the success of wikipedia is that I'm very friendly and Nice person and I'm very laid back back and so therefore I was able to work in a community environment where people basically yell at you and you 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 volunteer so you have to work with love and reason to kind of move people along in in a useful fool way so I do think that I'm not irrelevant to the process but I also think that you know the community is amazing and the luck of the timing of really hitting that moment when it was possible to bill wikipedia. Jimmy you've seen The estimates that you know that if we you were a for profit it could be worth at least five billion dollars maybe more. Yeah doesn't mean anything to you no not really. I mean it's you know people They love to write about Jimmy. Wales is not a billionaire. I think there's actually actually their articles with that headline Jimmy exactly and for me. That's all a bit odd because you know. My life is unbelievably interesting. I have the ability to meet almost anyone in the world who I want to meet and usually I introduce myself. I'm Jimmy Wales founder. gave me and they go. Oh Wow right. Yeah and if I say oh I'm Jimmy Wales. I own the largest chain of car dealers across southern part of America. Okay whenever like not that interesting at least in that regard I do. I do think that no one will remember me and five hundred years but they will definitely remember wikipedia. And that's really. I mean it's really something I mean. That's something that you can really hardly get your mind around there. In comparison to the Gutenberg Press Right and this is the biggest sort of dissemination of knowledge in in modern world history but I duNno. It's been embarrassing to talk about it that way. I'm just trying to have fun. That's Jimmy Wales else. Founder of Wikipedia by the way a few years ago. Jimmy Got Grief for trying to change his own wikipedia. Entry which big No-no his entry you showed. He was born on August eighth nineteen sixty six. which is what is birth certificate also says but that was a mistake because according to his mother? Jimmy was actually born shortly before midnight on August seventh so he made the change only to be confronted by angry. wikipedia editors who demanded documentary evidence which of course could not furnish because he had to go on his mother's version of what had happened anyway. Or the record we just double check the page. And according to Wikipedia the man who created it could be the fact on August nineteen sixty six Support for this podcast and the following message come from the Walton Family Foundation where opportunity takes root more information is available at Walton Family Foundation Dot. Org many of us have imaginary friends as children. But for some of US these invisible companions. Don't go away. She was real to me as my friend next to me AAC this week on hidden brain from NPR. Hey thanks so much for sticking around because it's time now for how you built that and to date. Were updating a story. We did about a year ago about a dating APP but not just any dating APP. I'm a single dad of a sweet wheaten. Terrier who loves was to play and this is a dating APP with profiles of people and their dogs very friendly and well educated never bites always wagging his tail. Let's go to the park and let's get our dogs to play so the voice you just heard is lead. The Angelo and lease story starts in two thousand sixteen when her younger sister. Casey had just gone through through a break up. She was dating a guy who tried to be a dog person for her but by the end of the relationship. He didn't want the dog in his apartment. He would put towels down on the couch. So the dog didn't touch anything and she came to me and said I wish I just knew from the start that this wasn't going to work because of my dog and so oh the sisters thought. Could there be dating APP. That might solve this problem an APP where someone like. Casey could say up front me and my dogs. We are a package deal. She has a Cavu. I mean there's truly nothing that looks more like a teddy bear than her dog and so we said you know if someone can't like this then clearly you know you you need to find someone with a at least a little bit more dog person in them so they started to kick around this idea. The realized the way people take care of their dogs folks can say a lot about their personalities. How much money do you spend on your pet sir? Other things in the house you know. How clean do you keep your house? Things like that might predict whether to dog owners are really compatible. Does your sleep in the better out of the bed. Do you let your dogs on furniture. Do you always pick up dog poop on the walk. That's a big one. That's big one and by the way if you are listening and you have a dog. Please do pick up the dog poop off the sidewalk just a favor. I'm asking anyway in July of have twenty seventeen. The sisters began developing their APP. Now Lee has a background in journalism. And Casey works in advertising design. They had never done anything like this before so i. They pulled their money together and their dad put in a little bit too and then the got into an accelerator program. They found a chief if tech officer and a team of developers to help them build the APP we actually went through four development teams. Because Leeann case you had a hard time finding just the right match it can be very scary when you have a limited amount of money to build this product and you see it either taking forever or they're not looking the way you want it to end watching your money drain at the same time. But after seven months their dating APPS was ready and they launched it on Valentine's survey. We weren't the first dating APP out there so we were able to learn from a lot of other people's mistakes there have been interesting dating apps that have tried to launch nationally. And they get a lot of attention really quickly but because you need a lot of people in one place in order for dating APP to work. They just fell apart art selene. Casey decided to get the word out city by city. Starting in New York Lee hosted events in each city. These big dog friendly parties ped- companies paid to set up booths that meant revenue and owners. Well they would come and stay and mingle and after each launch Leeann Casey. He saw a spike in new users. We knew there was nothing more valuable than getting a lot of people in the APP so our users could find more people to match with the APP his called dig and since we first ran the story. It's launched in fifteen cities and now has nearly a hundred and thirty five thousand users Leeann. Casey also also got a fifty thousand dollars start up grant from Purina to help with marketing and the even celebrated the first engagement of a couple who met on dig and yes Lee. Lee knows what some of you single people with cats are thinking. Where's my APP? Oh Yeah we get the cat question all the time you know. Surprisingly we actually get the horse question all the time. Course people definitely need to have their own conversations to but for now stieg is all about the dogs and the people who love them if you want to find out more about dig or here previous episodes head to our podcast page how I built this. NPR Dot Org. And of course if you WANNA tells host or story going to build that. NPR Dot Org and thanks so much for listening to the show this week. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And while you're there please do give give us review you could also write to US IBI AT NPR DOT Org. And if you wanted a tweet it's at how I built this or at Cairo's our show is produced this week by Casey Herman Music composed by routine Bluey. Thanks also to Sequoia Carrillo Candice Limb Julia Carney Neva grant and Jeff Rodgers our intern. It's rainy Tall Guy Rise and you've been listening to how I built this This is N._p._R..