Wikipedia Works in Practice, Not in Theory

(p. 20) Jimmy walked into the offices of Chicago Options Associates in 1994 and met the CEO Michael Davis for a job interview. Davis had looked over Wales’s academic publication about options pricing.

“It was impressive looking,” says Wales wryly about the paper. “It was a very theoretical paper but it wasn’t very practical.” But Davis was sufficiently intrigued, as he wanted someone like Wales to pore over the firm’s financial models and help improve them. So he took on young Wales, who seemed to be sharp and had acumen for numbers. Little did either of them know they would have a long road ahead together, with Wikipedia in the future.
Wales’s first job was to go over the firm’s current pricing models. “What was really fascinating was that it was truly a step beyond what I’d seen in academia,” he recalls. “It was very practical, and didn’t have a real theoretical foundation.” Wales was intrigued that the firm traded on principles that worked in practice, not in theory. (This is something he would say about his future endeavor Wikipedia.) “Basically they just knew in the marketplace that the existing models were wrong.”

Lih, Andrew. The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World’s Greatest Encyclopedia. New York: Hyperion, 2009.
(Note: italics in original.)

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