The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

A conversation with Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia

Events The speech will be delivered mainly in English
Jimmy Wales
Biography >
  • U.S. Internet Entrepreneur and Wiki Pioneer
  • One of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”
  • Wikipedia: The 5th Most Visited Web Site Worldwide

Ranked by Forbes Magazine as a “Web Celeb”, Jimmy Donal Wales is a U.S. Internet entrepreneur, wiki pioneer, and technology visionary, who is best known as the Founder of Wikipedia, an international collaborative free content encyclopedia on the Internet, and the Wikimedia Foundation. He is co-founder of Wikia, a privately owned free web hosting service he set up in 2004.
The origins of Wikipedia began in March 2000, when Mr. Wales started Nupedia (“the free encyclopedia”), which was characterized by an extensive peer-review process designed to make its articles of a quality comparable to that of professional encyclopedias. With the addition of wikis (a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content), the project was dubbed
“Wikipedia.” Mr. Wales laid down the founding principles and content, establishing an Internet-based community of contributors during that year. Wikipedia was initially intended to be a wiki-based site for collaboration on early encyclopedic content for submission to Nupedia, but Wikipedia's rapid growth quickly overshadowed Nupedia's development.

In a 2004 interview with Slashdot, Mr. Wales explained his motivations about Wikipedia, “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.”

The success of the project has helped popularize a trend in web development (called Web 2.0) that aims to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing among users. As Wikipedia expanded and its public profile grew, Mr. Wales took on the role of the project's spokesperson and promoter through speaking engagements and media appearances. His work with Wikipedia, which has become the world's largest
encyclopedia, prompted TIME Magazine to name him one of its “100 Most Influential People,” in 2006 in the “Scientists & Thinkers” category.

In 2003, Mr. Wales founded the Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, the 5th most
popular website in the world.

In 2004, Wales co-founded, with Angela Beesley, the for-profit company Wikia, Inc. Wikia is a wiki farm – a collection of individual wikis on different subjects, all hosted on the same website. As part of his work at Wikia, Inc., Mr. Wales is developing a human-powered search engine, Search Wikia, which will be based on the same open, transparent, community-driven principles of Wikia and Wikipedia.

The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the “Young Global Leaders” of 2007. This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders across the world for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society, and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.
Mr. Wales is a Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. He serves on the Board of Directors of Socialtext, a provider of wiki technology to businesses and the non-profit organization Creative Commons. Mr. Wales has received an honorary doctorate from Knox College of Illinois and was presented with a Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2006.

Mr. Wales received his bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University and started with the Ph.D. finance program at the University of Alabama, where he left with a Master's. After that, he took courses offered in the Ph.D. finance program at Indiana University. He taught at both universities during his postgraduate studies, but did not write the doctoral dissertation required to earn a Ph.D.

From 1994 to 2000, Wales was the research director at Chicago Options Associates, a futures and options trading firm in Chicago.

The Bell International Leaders series receives inspiring, internationally recognized personalities from every field whose vision and achievements have changed the world.

A visionary in the field of technology and an outstanding entrepreneur, Jimmy Wales is internationally recognized as the founder of the Wikipedia website. A monument of stability in an era when technology is evolving exponentially, Wikipedia will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year. The online free-content encyclopaedia is currently ranked as the fifth most popular website in the world, and is considered to be a reliable and indispensable source of information.

Named one of the 100 most influential people of 2006 by TIME magazine, Jimmy Wales has also contributed to the Web 2.0 movement by encouraging online creativity, collaboration, and sharing via his various pursuits. He was able to demystify social entrepreneurship with great enthusiasm.

Estelle Metayer
Biography >

President, Competia
Adjunct professor, McGill University,

Advises CEOs and boards as they build/improve their strategic decision-making process and competitive intelligence functions to avoid strategic blindspots. Best work is done when companies need to drastically change the way they do business and/or grow aggressively.

Entrepreneur, trend-spotter, reputed public speaker. Facilitator strategic governance workshops on future trends and industry disruption. Adjunct professor at McGill University. Guest lecturer, IMD (Switzerland), and past joint programs with MIT, the IMB (India) and INSEAD. Faculty, Institute of Corporate Directors (Canada). Formerly at McKinsey & Company (Canada); CAE (Canada); ING Bank(Netherlands, Poland); Bouygues (France, UK). Board member and chair of the compensation committee, Ubisoft (Euronext: $UBI). Board member and member of the audit committee, BRP inc (TSX: $DOO). Board member, Zag Bank (Canada). Advisory board member, Ricardo Media. Former board member, Grands Ballets Canadiens; Canada World Youth. Drs and MBA, Nijenrode University, The Netherlands. Arista Sunlife Award for "Entrepreneur of the Year" (2000). French, English, German, Dutch, Italian and learning Arabic. Commercial pilot and flight instructor. When not flying, can usually be found at Twitter.


  • The founding of Wikipedia
  • Wikipedia’s particular business model
  • The power of social media
  • The democratization of the Internet
  • Cybersecurity

Meet the man who is attempting to give us full access to the entire body of human knowledge.

This event is organized in association with the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal.


Members Non members
General tickets Blue Section
General tickets Blue Section $50 * $60 *
General tickets Red Section
General tickets Red Section $85 * $105 *
Executive tickets: Best available seats, up to 25% of total capacity
Executive tickets: Best available seats, up to 25% of total capacity $115 * $150 *
VIP tickets: One of the 120 best seats, including an individual photo with Jimmy Wales and an access to the VIP lounge
VIP tickets: One of the 120 best seats, including an individual photo with Jimmy Wales and an access to the VIP lounge $295 * $375 *
Students** tickets Blue Section
Students** tickets Blue Section $35 * $35 *

Contact et informations

By phone:

514 871-4001

** Presentation of a valid student ID card will be required on site. Full-time student. Registration by phone only.

» Seating Plan

You will be able to pick up your tickets at the information booth on the day of the event.

Please note that no exchange or refund will be accepted following your purchase.


Centre Pierre-Péladeau - Salle Pierre-Mercure

300 De Maisonneuve Boulevard East
Montréal, Quebec
H2X 3X6


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