Let me cut this rumor off at pass: No, I’m not starting a Wikipedia competitor, killer, or viable-coexister.
Just because I’ve been participating in the full seven days of Wikimania (the longest conference I’ve ever been too), does not mean I’m coming into the market and looking to take on Wikia, WikiTravel, or Wikipedia (like 10 folks have told me I am!). I’m here for a couple of reason and they are:
- I’m fascinated with Wikipedia as one of the 10 most important sites ever created on the Internet.
- I’m fascinated with the concepts of crowdsourcing, the wealth of networks, peer-production, and distributed works forces. I run two companies (Weblogs, Inc. and Netscape) that are centered around, and are breaking new ground, in this concepts.
- I’m always looking for technical and editorial talent, and the folks working on projects like Wikipedia are unpaid and talented–which makes them the perfect people to approach with paid opportunities. They’re typically underemployed and overly talented.
- My best ideas come when I’m hanging out at conference riffing with brilliant folks like Mitch, Dan, Dave, Doc, and David. I’ve had a half dozen great ideas since getting here… and I’m sure I’ll have a half dozen more.
- I like to hang out with people who do stuff–who build stuff. The people here build stuff and talk about the details of building stuff. I’m really tired of talking with folks who ride on the backs of the builders… they’re boring frankly (trust me, I’m one of them–I know how boring I am :-).
That’s it. I’m not starting a paid-version–or semi-paid version, of Wikipedia. That would be stupid for a number of reasons including the following:
- a) I have no passion for encyclopedias or the process of building them. Sure, I’m fascinated with the project of Wikipedia and how it is built. Sure, I use the Wikipedia and edit pages on it sometimes. However, I think it’s very boring to create content with a NPOV–I don’t think I could ever do it.
- b) The Wikipedia is so large that trying to compete with it would be stupid–you never jump in front of a train.
- c) I believe that the concept of the Wikipedia in noble and I’d rather support it than compete with it. This is exactly how I feel about the relationship between Netscape and Firefox/Mozzila. We (AOL) created Mozilla and Firefox, and I’m not going to compete with their mission to create the most stable and secure browser in the market. Nope, that would be stupid.