Like Craig Newmark of Craigslist, Wales has left more money on the table than most Web entrepreneurs will see in a lifetime. He resisted putting ads on Wikipedia, figuring that volunteers would be more likely to collaborate on building an ad-free site than one loaded with flashing banner ads.
"You don't build a community by just pouring money into it. It takes time. You have to grow it in a healthy way," he says. Wales recently raised $4 million from investors to fund the for-profit Wikia but estimates that he could have raised at least three times more. The smaller amount will allow him to grow the business organically, rather than trying to build a moneymaker overnight.