Jordan Ritter

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Jordan Ritter
JordanPRitter Black and White.jpg
Jordan Ritter

(1978-02-01) February 1, 1978 (age 43)
Northridge, California, United States
Alma materLehigh University[1]

Jordan Ritter (born February 1, 1978) is an American serial entrepreneur, software architect and angel investor. He is best known for his work at Napster, the file-sharing service he co-founded along with Shawn Fanning and others. His time at Napster was documented in Joseph Menn's book All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster[2] and Alex Winter's film Downloaded.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jordan Ritter was born in Northridge, California and grew up in Texas and Florida. Ritter skipped the 5th grade when he was 10, and later went on to graduate from the International Baccalaureate Program at Hillsborough High School. Ritter attended college at Lehigh University on scholarship, starting as a sophomore and pursuing a double major in music and computer science.[1] He dropped out in 1998, relocating to Boston, Massachusetts[1] to begin his career in computer security.



Ritter started out in the computer security industry, working as a paid hacker for the Boston office of Israeli computer security company Netect.[1] While his main focus was probing major software and online systems for vulnerabilities, he also fixed code and conducted security audits for the company's own software HackerShield.

During his tenure, Ritter discovered and published several serious security vulnerabilities, including an anonymous, remote administrative privilege escalation in Washington University's FTP server.[4][5] At the time, this affected approximately 80% of all computers on the Internet.

Early in 1999, Netect was purchased by BindView.[6] Ritter was retained in the acquisition.


While working for BindView, Ritter met Shawn Fanning online through an IRC channel for computer hackers called #!w00w00.[7][8][9] In May 1999, Fanning began soliciting Ritter and several other w00w00 members for help.[7][8][9]

Since Fanning initially refused to allow inspection of the source code, members took this as a challenge and began reverse-engineering various aspects of the service.[8] Ritter and fellow w00w00 member Seth McGann focused on the protocol and backend software, identifying bugs and proposing likely fixes to Fanning, while w00w00 member Evan Brewer managed the system that the server ran on.[8][9] In early June 1999, Fanning asked Ritter to fully take over development of the server while Fanning focused on the Windows client.[8] Two months later, Yosi Amram invested $250,000 in Napster and required that company operations relocate from Massachusetts to California.[7] Ritter moved to Silicon Valley in September 1999, initially sharing an apartment with Fanning and Sean Parker at the San Mateo Marriott Residence Inn.[8]

Ritter was directly responsible for many of the key evolutions of the backend service architecture during Napster's period of hyper-growth, including its novel load-balancing system, MySQL and subsequent Oracle database integration, and transparent full-mesh server linking.[8][9] In addition to leading the backend team, Ritter also managed production systems deployment and network security, database systems and supporting infrastructure, and served as primary public contact point for all security-related issues concerning the service and operations.[10] Ritter also oversaw the Moderator Community, a group of individuals who volunteered their free time to help moderate the various socially-focused portions of the Napster service.[10]

Ritter resigned from Napster on November 14, 2000.


In the summer of 2001, Ritter started development on anti-spam technology using machine-learning statistical classification algorithms. Named Spilter, the software was originally an open-source system that ran on UNIX-compatible messaging infrastructure such as Sendmail, Postfix and Qmail. Following the success of the product's first release, Ritter was convinced to pursue it instead as a commercial enterprise, which led him to close-source the software and begin mapping out a business plan.

Later that summer, Ritter discovered an open-source collaborative filtering program for email called Vipul's Razor, authored by Vipul Ved Prakash. Ritter reached out to Prakash (IRC nickname: hackworth) over an IRC channel for Perl programmers called #perl, proposing the two join their respective technologies together and form a company around the result. After a week of brainstorming on a whiteboard, the two agreed to form SEPsoft (Sodalitas Eliminetatum Purgamentum). Prakash later proposed using the name of Cloudmark instead, which is a planet-sized, inter-galactic messaging router featured in the book A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge.

Throughout his tenure during 2001-2006, Ritter oversaw the architectural design and implementation of all Cloudmark commercial software, systems and operating infrastructure.

Ritter resigned as CTO in February 2006.

Columbia Music Entertainment[edit]

Ritter was introduced to Columbia Music Entertainment (CME) CEO Sadahiko Hirose in early 2006 during a business trip to Tokyo. Hirose-san planned to modernize CME by building a digital media distribution platform for its 100-year-spanning catalog of music, much of which was being lost to physical degradation and abandoned digital recording formats.

Ritter joined CME in February 2006 as Executive Advisor to the CEO. In April 2006 he became CTO[11] and formed the Red Dove (R&D) division, focusing on reducing costs and improving efficiency of internal operations, while developing new spinout companies that proved better approaches to the most expensive aspects of CME's business.

In 2007, Ritter hired Ejovi Nuwere into CME, and together they began building a Japanese-based, competition-oriented promotional platform for new artists called Otorevo. The premise of the project was to prove a more cost- and time-efficient model for discovering viable artists to join the label, while at the same time establishing the first foothold for what would become CME's digital media platform. Despite the measurable successes of Otorevo,[12][13][14] the CME Board of Directors voted to terminate all R&D projects in March 2008.

Ritter left CME in April 2008.


After returning from Japan, Ritter was asked by Zivity Founders Scott Banister and Cyan Banister to advise the company on internal engineering management issues. Shortly afterwards, Ritter joined as CTO in order to overhaul the engineering organization while a CEO search was being conducted.[15] In December 2008, a new CEO was appointed and Ritter left the company.[16][17]

Ritter is an investor in Zivity.[18]


Ritter founded crowdsourcing company CloudCrowd with Alex Edelstein in April 2009.[19] 6 months later, CloudCrowd officially launched its work platform on Facebook.[20] In December 2010 the company renamed itself Servio while retaining the CloudCrowd brand, in order to more effectively differentiate the value propositions between online work and the crowdsourced work product.

As CTO, Ritter oversaw all architectural design and development of the company's services, systems and production infrastructure. As Head of Engineering, he also directly managed all Engineering, Ops, IT and QA personnel.

Ritter left Servio in December 2012.

Atlas Recall[edit]

A search engine for an individuals information normally stored in different email and storage systems.[1]

Other accomplishments[edit]

  • Entrepreneur Magazine's "100 Most Brilliant Companies", June 2010[21]
  • Nominated for Software Designer of the Year, WIRED Rave Awards, 2002[22]
  • Interviewed in Playboy Magazine, April 2001[23]
  • Member of InfoWorld CTO Advisory Council, 2001[24]
  • Co-author of 4 US patents[25][26][27][28] and 2 EU patents[29][30]


Ritter is a lifelong contributor[31] to open-source software and the free software movement.

Notable software projects include:


  1. ^ a b c d e Ritter/ 282 interviewed on the TV show Triangulation on the network
  2. ^ [1] Archived September 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [2] Relive Napster's Big Break in the Documentary Downloaded
  4. ^ "a/netect". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  5. ^ "9163: ProFTPD MKDIR Directory Creation / Change Remote Overflow (palmetto)". Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  6. ^ "US Co BindView Development Agrees to Buy Israeli Start-up Netect in $35 Mln Stock Swap". Globes. 1999-01-31. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  7. ^ a b c "Napster's back – what did Silicon Valley learn?". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Joseph Menn (2003). All the rave: the rise and fall of Shawn Fanning's Napster. Crown Business. ISBN 9780609610930.
  9. ^ a b c d Ambrosek, Renee (15 August 2006). Shawn Fanning: The Founder of Napster - Renee Ambrosek - Google Boeken. ISBN 9781404207202. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  10. ^ a b "Jordan Ritter's Resume - Napster". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  11. ^ "Jordan Ritter | CrunchBase". Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  12. ^ "Otorevo brings the noise… and a record contract". Mike Sheetal. 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  13. ^ [3] Archived March 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Columbia Music Entertainment & Good Crew Offer CC-Licensed Vocal Tracks". Creative Commons. 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  15. ^ "Zivity Nabs Napster Co-founder As CTO". TechCrunch. 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  16. ^ "Zivity Splits Employees, Execs, Venture Funding Into Two Companies". TechCrunch. 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  17. ^ Paul Boutin (July 27, 2009). "Zivity CEO explains her new, less-profitable strategy". VentureBeat News. VentureBeat. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  18. ^ "Still In Beta, Zivity Nets Napster Co-Founder Jordan Ritter For CTO Spot". 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  19. ^ "CloudCrowd Offers Peer-Reviewed Crowdsourcing Through Facebook". Inside Facebook. 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  20. ^ "CloudCrowd Uses Facebook to Offer Crowdsourcing". Daily Crowdsource. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Sellers, Dennis. "Mac OS X team wins Wired Rave Award". Macworld. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  23. ^ "Playboy April 2001 magazine issue for sale Playboy". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  24. ^ InfoWorld - Google Books. 2001-09-03. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  25. ^ "Patent US20050198181 - Method and apparatus to use a statistical model to classify electronic ... - Google Patents". 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  26. ^ "Patent US20050198182 - Method and apparatus to use a genetic algorithm to generate an improved ... - Google Patents". 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  27. ^ "Patent US20120072253 - Outsourcing tasks via a network - Google Patents". 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  28. ^ "Patent US20120072268 - Reputation system to evaluate work - Google Patents". 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  29. ^ "Patent EP1721429A1 - A method and apparatus to use a statistical model to classify electronic ... - Google Patents". 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  30. ^ "Patent EP1745424A1 - Method and apparatus to use a genetic algorithm to generate an improved ... - Google Patents". 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  31. ^ "jpr5 (Jordan Ritter) 路 GitHub". 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  32. ^ "ngrep - network grep". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  33. ^ "ORAPP - Oracle OCI C++ Interface Library". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  34. ^ "jpr5/mongo-locking — GitHub". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  35. ^ "datamapper/do — GitHub". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  36. ^ "datamapper/dm-core — GitHub". Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  37. ^ "jpr5/dm-salesforce-adapter — GitHub". Retrieved 2013-11-27.

External links[edit]