Jordan Ritter may be one of the more thoughtful CEOs I’ve ever met.  He’s certainly one of the most intentional, and devotes more time to considered, constructive feedback to those around him (employees, investors, peers, job candidates, etc.) than most executives who have achieved his resume.

Ritter was the co-founder of Napster, ran several Silicon Valley-based businesses, and now leads the Seattle-based and still-stealth Ivy Softworks.

I’ve had the pleasure and honor of getting to know Jordan a bit over the past year.  When he recently shared with me his company’s core values, principles & traits, it was no surprise how deep and meaningful each line was, and had for the make-up of his company.

With permission, I’ve included this single page of culture-defining content below.  Whether you’re running your own business, your own department, or simply want to manage your own perspective and approach more intentionally, I recommend the read and reflection.


  • Craftsmanship: Insist on the highest standards. Strive for excellence in everything
    you do. Take pride in building meaningful things that last ­platforms, products, teams
    and cultures.
  • Experimentalism: Be opportunistic with learning, be fearless about the unknown,
    be willing to fail and try again. Seek out ways to challenge yourself and each other.
    There’s no instruction guide ; always be iterating and trying new things. [freedom,
  • Inclusion:­ Listen with humility, speak with conviction. Be open to influence, nurture
    and invest in each other, dream and deliver together. [Empowering, tolerant,
  • Obsession: Be obsessive about everything: technology, innovation, reinvention,
    each other and our community. Obsession is the rocket fuel of our creativity.
  • Adaptability: Strive for agility in thought and versatility in action. Befriend change
    and embrace it warmly; it is the only certain thing.
  • Bias towards Action: Insist on decisiveness and execution.  Doing is the engine
    of Done, and Done is the engine of More.

Ethos, Mindset & Principles

  • sooner is better, now is best
  • own it, make it work, get it done
  • done well > done correctly ­style is the difference between accomplishment and excellence
  • be fearless of failure, deliberate with risk
  • always be advancing
  • clean hands make you wrong; ­ get dirty and lead by example
  • challenge the normal, reject the mediocre, embrace the unknown
  • seduce the user
  • shipping is the most important feature
  • work hard, work smart, work together
  • leave things better than when you found them
  • celebrate everything
  • don’t forget to smile; you’re not having fun if you’re not smiling
  • adversity breeds ingenuity, exposure encourages positive progression
  • dirty your hands with endeavor, not speculation


  • authenticity and transparency
  • self­ sufficiency
  • organized and disciplined
  • critical thinking > problem solving
  • ownership mentality, – accountable & responsible
  • comfortable with ambiguity
  • high capacity for mastery, velocity of learning