Take risk, try something new, Wikipedia founder tells youth

Take risk, try something new, Wikipedia founder tells youth

Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales

Saudi Gazette report

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, urged young people to be bold in their ideas, capitalize on their inherent creativity, and to never fear failure. He was delivering a keynote speech on the second day of the UNESCO NGO Global Forum hosted by the Muhammad Bin Salman Foundation (MiSK) in Riyadh.

Wales spoke to the need for societies to encourage young people to take risk, try something new, and be confident in their ability to deliver success through failure. Wales highlighted some of his own failures, including from an online menu idea in 1996 to a search engine he named The Three Apes, as he set out on a path to launching Wikipedia.

The online, community-edited encyclopedia is now the fifth most trafficked website in the world.

“My failures taught me how to ‘fail faster’,” he said. “I also advise you not to tie your ego to a particular business, and most importantly, to enjoy yourselves along the way. If you are doing something interesting and you think it is meaningful, even if just does not work out, it means at least that you can do something interesting and meaningful.”

Answering a question about how young people can counter fake news, Wales said they could talk to their friends, and challenge fake news online, to counter the “viral” nature of false facts. Wales recently launched WikiTribune, a news website bringing the community-editing concept to journalism.

He described Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 as a great initiative to get more young people involved in the country’s future, emphasizing the social role of the youth in changing times and moving forward in a productive way.

Attended by more than 400 NGOs and over‫2,000 ‬ delegates from more than 70 countries, this is the first time the UNESCO NGO Global Forum has been held in the Arab region.

The forum is hosted by the MiSK Foundation which was founded by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, with a mission to empower, nurture and inspire Saudi Arabia’s youth to become active participants in the global economy.