Thu 6th October 2011, 3:16am
QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Tue 4th October 2011, 2:48pm)
QUOTE(Larry Sanger @ Tue 4th October 2011, 7:27pm)
I'm pretty sure I have a copy of this picture in the basement, and another one too, which has Ed O'Connor in it (one of my favorite people from Bomis days). Oh, believe me, if people really, really wanted to, they could amass a really interesting collection of early Wikipedia-related memorabilia.
Larry - just the person. I am researching the pre-history of Wikipedia. I know Bomis was registered in 1996, but when did it actually set up in business in San Diego? Jimmy did not move there until 1998. Did it actually start in 1998?
You say here http://www.larrysanger.org/roleinwp.html
It was Bomis that paid the bills for Wikipedia (including my paycheck), and Wales, Tim Shell, and Michael Davis were, to the best of my knowledge, equal partners and co-owners of Bomis, Inc.
But Jimmy always claimed he was the majority partner. And what was Tim Shell's involvement? He always seemed a mysterious character.
I'll be interested in your book!
I know Bomis.com, the search engine, was around in 1996 or 1997. I remember Jimmy Wales referring to it somehow; he might have tried to get me involved, or maybe it was just in his sig and I checked it out. I vaguely remember talking about it around 1997. My recollection, I don't know where--probably from talking to Tim--was that it was started and going strong-ish while they were in Chicago. I don't know when they moved to San Diego--1998 is possible as far as I know. They had been in the Pacific Beach office for a while by the time I got there in late January 2000, I think it was.
I honestly can't remember how it was represented to me--who was the "majority partner." I'm pretty sure I never much cared, and I'm not sure why I should now. If you had asked me an hour ago, I would have hazarded a guess that they were all three equal partners, just as I wrote, but I don't know. It wouldn't surprise me if Michael Davis was majority partner. But if Wales says that he was majority partner, then he probably was, and I forgot that he said so when I wrote the above. Yes, yes, I know he's not a reliable source on stuff like this, but his mendacity does not usually
extend to outright plain-and-simple lies like that. He usually employs misdirection, vagueness, innuendo, and other such shifty business.
Tim is for me by far the least mysterious character of the three. I count him a friend. Unlike Jimmy, who was aloof from most Bomis folks, we socialized. He's very witty, and I've never caught him in a lie. I could be wrong, but I got the impression that he was Bomis' original programmer. When I was there he was sort of the managing editor of Bomis. I think he managed the guys who weeded through Bomis' links to fix dead ones, and seemed to be keeping it going. What Jimmy Wales was doing, exactly, I am not sure.
I don't know why he kept Michael Davis' name secret. I remember being a little puzzled about that.
In the earliest months, Tim was at least as involved in Wikipedia as Jimmy Wales.
I'm pretty sure you could ask Tim for an interview. Another, possibly better person to interview would be the Bomis marketing guy, Jimmy's (ex) friend and "right hand man," Terry Foote. I also count him a friend. He's got some verrry interesting stories to tell, but I'll let him tell them when he's ready.