Creating the Wiki with Ward Cunningham


“I believe that there’s something deeply personal, natural, and human going on as we construct these abstract devices called computers.”

Wiki technology was invented decades ago to improve how software developers communicate. Today, Wikipedia has taken the ideas of the wiki to a new level, creating a free knowledge graph for the world to learn from.

Ward Cunningham developed WikiWikiWeb in 1994. He joins us today to discuss the first wiki, and how wikis have changed the way information propagates. Ward is not just an expert on how to write software–he is an expert on the software development experience, and we discuss how to build a community where software developers can overcome the fear of building something that has not been built before.


  • When you built the first wiki, what was your vision for the software?
  • How did information move around communities before the web, and how has this improved?
  • What are the canonical problems in developer communication?
  • What are the successful properties of emergent systems relating to communities that share knowledge?
  • Why aren’t more companies structured in a way to encourage experimentation?
  • What are some ways to bootstrap and encourage a technical community?
  • What were the things that Wikipedia did right that made it successful?
  • What are you working on today, and what makes you excited?


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