Club people • November 2015
The American internet entrepreneur is best known as co-founder of online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. He has been an Executive Club Member for five years, and takes it very seriously
Where in the world has inspired you the most?
I recently met with local communities in Bangladesh. They’re so enthusiastic about building the Bangla-language Wikipedia. Accessing the internet via mobile is exploding in the developing world right now, which is satisfying to see.
Where was your most memorable holiday?
Varanasi in India. Our accommodation was by the river, with no access by car. We were dropped off at a top road and had to walk through lots of ancient alleyways to get there. The atmosphere on the streets was amazing.
Any tips for making work travel more enjoyable?
Be ruthless with packing. Packing light is really important – there’s nothing worse than lugging something you don’t need on a long trip.
What are the three items you can’t board a plane without?
Number one is my iPad. I’m so pleased you can now keep it on during take-off and landing. It’s especially useful when travelling with bored children. As a general rule, I always say that as long as I have my passport and credit card, everything else can be solved.
Are there any parts of your holiday planning you go offline for?
I pick hotels and flights online, but I don’t do all my research on screen. I like to read magazines for inspiration of what to do when I arrive somewhere. I’ll make a note of a cool restaurant or hotel.
What’s the best thing about being an Executive Club Member?
I’ve been a Member for about five years – I travel a lot. I like the Club and First lounges at Heathrow. I’ve been in the Concorde Room a couple of times and I’m hooked. I’ve made a spreadsheet to show me my tier points and how far I am from getting my Concorde Room card. I will make it this year.
Jimmy Wales is chairman of The People’s Operator, a mobile phone service and ad-free social network, which gives 10 per cent of your phone bill and a quarter of its profits to charity.
Interview by Etan Smallman