The Life of Chris Wanstrath: Biography

An image of Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub.

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The Life Story of Chris Wanstrath

Brief Introduction

Chris Wanstrath, born on March 13, 1985, in Ohio, United States, is known for his remarkable achievements in the tech world.

However, this biography focuses on the man behind the achievements – his personal life, interests, and values.


Growing up in Ohio, Chris was not your average child. From a young age, he was fascinated by technology and loved video games.

This interest was not just a passing phase; it shaped his future.

Remarkably, he taught himself how to code during these formative years, laying the foundation for his later accomplishments.


Chris attended St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, graduating in 2003. He then briefly studied English at the University of Cincinnati.

However, his passion for developing and programming led him to make a bold decision – he dropped out of university in 2005.

Chris believed in skills over degrees, a philosophy guiding his future endeavors.

The Genesis of GitHub

In technology and innovation, few names resonate as profoundly as Chris Wanstrath.

His story, rooted in the foundations of coding and entrepreneurial spirit, charts a course through the echelons of the tech industry, leaving an indelible mark on the world of software development.

From Self-Taught Coder to Tech Visionary

Wanstrath’s journey began with a deep-seated passion for coding, a skill he taught himself during the formative years of his life.

His dedication and prowess quickly set him apart, and it wasn’t long before he delved into the professional realm as a developer at CNET.

It was there, amidst the bustling innovation of San Francisco, that the seeds of his future endeavors were sown.

The Birth and Rise of GitHub

In 2007, a serendipitous meeting with Tom Preston-Werner at a San Francisco event became the catalyst for a partnership that would revolutionize the way developers collaborate.

Together, they co-founded GitHub, a platform that emerged from their shared experiences and frustrations with existing collaboration tools.

GitHub’s private beta version, launched in January 2008, was an instant revelation in the developer community, and the addition of the third co-founder, Wyett, solidified its foundations.

Leading GitHub to New Heights

Chris Wanstrath’s leadership was instrumental in steering GitHub’s trajectory.

As CEO, he developed a culture of innovation and collaboration, guiding the platform through various growth phases.

Under his stewardship, GitHub not only received its first outside fundraising from Andreessen Horowitz in 2012 but also witnessed exponential user growth, reaching 100,000 users by July 2009.

Advocacy and Philanthropy

Wanstrath’s tenure as CEO was marked by several transitions, resuming the role in 2014 after Preston-Werner’s resignation.

During these years, he not only prioritized creating a positive work culture but also dedicated himself to building strong and vibrant developer communities.

His vision extended beyond GitHub, advocating for open-source software and the power of collaboration. This ethos was evident in his philanthropic efforts, mainly promoting diversity in tech and access to technology education.

A New Chapter: Microsoft’s Acquisition of GitHub

The year 2017 marked a pivotal moment as Wanstrath transitioned to the role of executive chairman, paving the way for one of the most significant milestones in GitHub’s history.

In 2018, Microsoft acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion, a testament to the platform’s monumental impact on the software development world.

This acquisition not only amplified Wanstrath’s financial standing, with a net worth soaring to approximately $1.5 billion, but also cemented his legacy in the tech industry.

Expanding Horizons: Null Games and Beyond

Beyond GitHub, Wanstrath’s entrepreneurial spirit continued to thrive. He founded Null Games, a games publishing studio committed to assisting developers with various aspects of game development.

Null Games, under his guidance, upheld a policy of ethical game publishing, steering clear of mobile games or those with gambling, loot boxes, or player-hostile behavior.

A Voice in the Tech Community

Wanstrath’s influence extended beyond the confines of his enterprises.

He was a sought-after speaker, sharing his insights at NASA’s open source summit, International RailsConf, Startup Riot Atlanta, Rails Summit Latin America, and more.

His keynote addresses at the GitHub Universe Conference and the GitHub Satellite Conference were particularly notable, reflecting his ongoing commitment to the tech community.

Legacy and Continued Influence

Even after stepping down from his active role at GitHub, Wanstrath remains a beacon in the tech industry.

His involvement as an advisor and investor continues to inspire and guide aspiring developers.

His commitment to inclusivity, continuous learning, and a growth mindset resonates within the industry, influencing generations of programmers and entrepreneurs.

Interests and Hobbies

Besides his professional interests, Chris enjoys reading, learning, and traveling.

He appreciates the value of continuous learning and exploring new horizons.

He also advocates for a healthy work-life balance, finding time to unwind and pursue personal interests.

Family Life

Despite his professional success, Chris has kept his personal life relatively private. As of 2023, he is unmarried and single.

Details about his family, including his parents and siblings, are not widely known, illustrating his preference to keep his personal life out of the public eye.


Chris’s success has not just been a personal triumph; he has also used his position to give back to the community.

He is passionate about promoting diversity in tech and improving access to technology education.

His philanthropic efforts reflect his belief in the power of technology to make a positive impact on society.

Conclusion: A Lasting Impact

Chris Wanstrath’s story is not merely one of success and wealth; it’s a narrative of passion, perseverance, and the relentless pursuit of innovation.

His journey from a self-taught coder to a tech titan exemplifies the transformative power of technology and the boundless potential of the human spirit.

As he continues to shape the technological landscape, his legacy endures, a testament to his unbeatable will to create, collaborate, and revolutionize.


Key Points and Facts

Personal Background:

  • Full Name: Chris Wanstrath
  • Nickname: Chris
  • Date of Birth: March 13, 1985
  • Birthplace: Ohio, United States
  • Age: 38 years (as of 2023)
  • Nationality: American
  • Gender: Male
  • Zodiac Sign: Pisces
  • Religion: Christian
  • Marital Status: Unmarried
  • Education: Attended University of Cincinnati (2003–2005), dropped out; St. Xavier High School (1999–2003)
  • Hobbies: Reading, Learning, Traveling
  • Ethnicity: Mixed
  • Net Worth: Approximately $1.5 billion
  • Physical Description: Height – 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m), Weight – 181 lbs (82 kg), Hair Color – Golden, Eye Color – Blue, Shoe Size – 9 (US)

Career Highlights:

  • Co-founder and former CEO of GitHub
  • Interest in technology and programming from a young age
  • Founded GitHub in 2007 with Tom Preston-Werner
  • Served as GitHub CEO until 2012, then president until 2014, and returned as CEO until October 2018
  • GitHub sold to Microsoft for $7.5 billion in 2018
  • Created Atom text editor, Resque job queue for Ruby, Mustache templating language, and pjax JavaScript library

Professional Achievements:

  • Advocate for open-source software
  • Participated in various hackathons
  • Collaborated with renowned developers
  • Prioritized positive work culture at GitHub
  • Dedicated to building strong developer communities
  • Involved in philanthropy, promoting diversity in tech and technology education

Personal Life:

  • Enjoys outdoor activities like hiking
  • Advocates for a healthy work-life balance


  • Received numerous awards for leadership and innovation in tech
  • Continues to inspire aspiring developers globally

Current Role and Contributions:

  • Active as an advisor and investor in the tech industry
  • Guest speaker at various conferences and events
  • Committed to inclusivity and continuous learning in tech


  • Transformed the way developers collaborate and create software
  • Left a lasting impact on the software development industry

GitHub and Microsoft:

  • GitHub acquired by Microsoft in 2018 for $7.5 billion

Additional Facts:

  • Self-taught programmer
  • Does not drink alcohol
  • Active on several social media platforms, including LinkedIn


Chris Wanstrath

Timeline of Chris Wanstrath:


  • Born on March 13 in Ohio, United States.


  • Attended St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, graduated in 2003.


  • Studied at the University of Cincinnati but did not graduate.
  • Left university after getting a job in San Francisco at CNET Networks.


  • Dropped out of the University of Cincinnati to focus on developing and programming.
  • Started his job as a developer at CNET and moved to San Francisco due to this job.


  • Met Tom Preston-Werner at a San Francisco event in October.
  • Tom Preston-Werner sold Gravatar to Automatic.


  • Co-founded GitHub in April with Tom Preston-Werner and later PJ Hyett.
  • GitHub’s private beta version launched in January.
  • GitHub had 100,000 users by July.
  • Wyett, the third co-founder of GitHub, joined after working with Wanstrath at CNET.


  • GitHub continued to grow, reaching various milestones.


  • GitHub received its first outside fundraising from Andreessen Horowitz.
  • Wanstrath served as CEO of GitHub until this year.


  • Resumed the role of CEO of GitHub after Preston-Werner’s resignation.
  • Served as GitHub president until this year.


  • Keynote addresses at the GitHub Universe Conference.


  • Became the executive chairman of GitHub.
  • Stepped down as CEO of GitHub but continued to be involved in the tech industry.


  • Microsoft acquired GitHub for $7.5 billion in June.
  • Chris Wanstrath received $1.5 billion from the acquisition.


  • Announced a new games publishing studio, Null Games, in February.
  • As of this year, Chris Wanstrath’s net worth is approximately $1.5 billion.
  • Chris Wanstrath is 38 years old.

Throughout his career, Chris Wanstrath:

  • Was involved in philanthropic efforts, particularly promoting diversity in tech and access to technology education.
  • Played a crucial role in the growth and success of GitHub.
  • Advocated for open-source software and believed in the power of collaboration.
  • Was known for his interest in technology and programming from a young age.
  • Created the Atom text editor, developed Ruby’s Resque job queue, created the Mustache templating language, and developed the pjax JavaScript library.


Teachable Lessons from the Life of Chris Wanstrath

Embrace Self-Learning and Passion:

  • Lesson: Wanstrath taught himself how to code during his childhood, showcasing the power of self-learning and pursuing one’s passions.

Education Beyond Traditional Paths:

  • Lesson: Dropping out of the University of Cincinnati to focus on his interests, Chris’s journey illustrates that success can follow non-traditional educational paths.

Courage to Pursue Dreams:

  • Lesson: Moving to San Francisco for a job at CNET was a bold step. It underlines the importance of taking risks to chase opportunities.

Value Skills Over Degrees:

  • Lesson: His belief in skills over degrees emphasizes the significance of practical knowledge and expertise in one’s field.

Building from Scratch:

  • Lesson: Co-founding GitHub and developing it into a billion-dollar company is a testament to the power of starting from scratch and scaling up.

Resilience in Leadership:

  • Lesson: Serving as CEO of GitHub, stepping down, and then resuming the role highlights resilience and adaptability in leadership.

Collaboration and Networking:

  • Lesson: Meeting co-founder Preston-Werner at an event and subsequently starting GitHub demonstrates the importance of networking and collaboration.

Continuous Innovation:

  • Lesson: From creating Atom text editor to developing Ruby’s Resque job queue, Chris’s career reflects the importance of continuous innovation.

Building Communities:

  • Lesson: His dedication to building strong developer communities underlines the significance of fostering inclusive and supportive professional networks.

Philanthropy and Advocacy:

  • Lesson: Involvement in philanthropic efforts shows the importance of giving back and advocating for diversity and access in technology.

Work-Life Balance:

  • Lesson: Chris’s interest in outdoor activities and advocacy for work-life balance is a reminder of the importance of personal well-being in professional success.

Leveraging Opportunities:

  • Lesson: The sale of GitHub to Microsoft for $7.5 billion is an example of recognizing and leveraging significant business opportunities.

Continuous Learning and Growth:

  • Lesson: His ongoing role as an advisor and investor in the tech industry after stepping down as CEO of GitHub highlights the importance of lifelong learning and growth.

Legacy in Technology:

  • Lesson: Chris Wanstrath’s impact on the software development industry through GitHub demonstrates how one can leave a lasting legacy through innovation and leadership.

Advocacy for Open-Source Software:

  • Lesson: His strong advocacy for open-source software underscores the significance of collaborative and accessible technological advancements.


FAQs about Chris Wanstrath

Early Life and Education

  1. Where was Chris Wanstrath born?
    • Chris Wanstrath was born in Ohio, United States.
  2. What sparked Chris Wanstrath’s interest in technology?
    • He developed an early interest in technology during his childhood.
  3. Where did Chris Wanstrath study?
    • He studied computer science at Miami University, graduating with honors.

Professional Achievements

  1. When did Chris Wanstrath co-found GitHub?
    • Chris Wanstrath co-founded GitHub in April 2008.
  2. What was Chris Wanstrath’s role at GitHub?
    • He served as the CEO of GitHub from 2014 to 2017.
  3. What is Chris Wanstrath’s stance on open-source software?
    • He advocates for open-source software and believes in the power of collaboration.
  4. How has Chris Wanstrath contributed to the tech community?
    • He has actively participated in various hackathons and collaborated with numerous renowned developers.

Personal Life

  1. What are Chris Wanstrath’s hobbies?
    • He enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, and exploring nature. He also has interests in reading, learning, and traveling.
  2. Is Chris Wanstrath married?
    • As of the latest information, Chris Wanstrath is unmarried.
  3. Does Chris Wanstrath advocate for work-life balance?
    • Yes, he advocates for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.


  1. Has Chris Wanstrath received any awards for his work?
    • He has received numerous awards and accolades for leadership and innovation in the tech industry.

Current Role and Contributions

  1. What is Chris Wanstrath doing after stepping down as CEO of GitHub?
    • After stepping down as CEO, he remains active as an advisor and investor in the tech industry.
  2. Does Chris Wanstrath still contribute to the tech community?
    • Yes, he continues to be a guest speaker at various conferences and events and is committed to inclusivity in the tech industry.


  1. What is Chris Wanstrath’s legacy in the software development industry?
    • His leadership and commitment have transformed the way developers collaborate and create software, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

GitHub and Microsoft

  1. When was GitHub acquired by Microsoft?
    • GitHub was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 for $7.5 billion.
  2. What inspired Chris Wanstrath to start GitHub?
    • He was inspired to start GitHub after experiencing difficulties in collaborating on personal projects.
  3. Is Chris Wanstrath still involved with GitHub?
    • While he stepped down as CEO of GitHub in 2017, he remains involved in the tech industry and has continued contributions.
  4. Has GitHub received any recognition under Chris Wanstrath’s leadership?
    • Yes, GitHub has been recognized for its impact, although there’s no mention of individual awards for Wanstrath himself.
  5. What is Chris Wanstrath’s viewpoint on the role of GitHub in the tech community?
    • He believes that GitHub has revolutionized the way developers collaborate and manage projects.

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