At the close of the first day of the Open Source Business Conference, Mitch Kapor explained why he thinks Wikipedia is the next big thing. He first deconstructed the online encyclopedia, which is one of the top 20 Web sites, and punctured holes in myths, such as “someone has to be in charge of things or they don’t work.” In fact, a recent study showed that Wikipedia is just as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Wikipedia is built by a passionate community of contributors around the world with a leader, Jimmy Wales, who is inspirational and empowers the others but doesn’t control the entity. He doesn’t hire or fire anyone and the community itself handles dispute resolution and outreach. It’s counter-intuitive, Mitch said, and kind of a big secret despite it’s there to be seen. “I don’t think Silicon Valley understands the power of Wikipedia, how it works or the opportunities it represents.” he said.