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By Alexa Carson

Tracking Down Creators of our Favorite Early 2000s Software

The early 2000s were an incredibly formative and critical time for the development of the modern internet. I guess that goes without saying- but looking back on where we’ve come since the days of sites like Napster and Ask Jeeves it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come. If you’re nostalgic about any of these like me, you’ve probably spent at least a couple minutes of your life
wondering where the creative geniuses behind sites like these went.
Today- we’ll spend some time getting caught up with our favorite creators and see what they’re up to.

Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves was actually launched a year prior to Google’s search engine and was among the dominant search engines until “Googling” started becoming a verb in the English language.
The cool thing about Ask Jeeves (now Ask.com) was the fact that you could ask questions in common english. So instead of searching something like “list of Keto recipes” you could phrase your question something like:
“Hey Jeeves, What are the best Keto recipes?”
The website’s mascot was actually inspired by a Butler named Jeeves, who was the highly competent servant of a less competent lord named Bertie Wooster. This 30-second clip does a great job of capturing the ethos of Jeeves.
The founding members of the site weren’t anything like the tech giants we have today. Rather than a community of young minds ploughing into the future, Ask Jeeves was founded by a few men already well into their prime.
Garret Greuner and David Warthen were the co-founders of Askjeeves.com. At the time of founding they were both in their mid 30s. As of 2018, Garret has been serving as the Managing Director for Ask.com and is currently on the Board of Directors of Goldman School of Public Policy.
After leaving Askjeeves.com, David would go on to work for a number of companies, such as, Answerbag, Getfugu and Final Frontier Gaming. According to his resume, he currently works as the principle architect and developer for Future Vistas, a tech firm in California.

Napster

The '90s babies reading this right now remember the absolute monster that was Napster.

In the not-too-distant past, music streaming was absolutely not a thing. Instead of being able to run a quick youtube search and jump directly into listening to your favorite songs, you options were pretty limited.
Most of my friends -if we had the blessing of being home from school- would leave MTV or BET running ad infinitum, just for the chance to hear their favorite song play once or twice. Calling into a radio station to make a request was your next best shot.
That is of course, assuming that you hadn’t bought or burned a copy of your favorite albums. Music was SCARCE to say the least- and Napster was the answer for it.
In a nutshell, Napster originated as a platform for peer to peer file sharing -a lot like Limewire, who we’ll be covering next. For context, at the time that Napster began to emerge, the MP3 music format had just become widely available.
There was an issue though.
File downloads would often take FOREVER… We’re talking 14+ hours for a single song- just to have it crash at 93%. It was at this time that Shawn Fanning (AKA Napster) would reveal the original tech in a chatroom, where he met cofounder Sean Parker.
A year later Napster had over 20 million users.
Sean Parker actually moved from founding Napster, to becoming the founding President of Facebook -which well… we all know where that went. Since then though, he’s taken on a number of philanthropic endeavors and had a hand in a few other startups.
In 2016 Parker donated $200 million dollars to fund the Parker Institute of Cancer Research, which would run the first trial of CRISPR generated T cells in the United States among a few other notable achievements.
Fanning would leave Napster to go on to found or join several companies. His venture immediately after Napster, was an attempt to create a platform for the legitimate streaming of music. Which unfortunately was met with little public and investor support and ultimately collapsed.
The most recent venture of his, I could get info on was called Helium Systems which managed to raise $16 million USD in funding back in 2013. The company is actually still around today and seems to be doing well.

eBaum’s world 

eBaum’s world in a lot of ways was one of the original homes of the meme…
 Unless you think too hard about the fact that a lot of their content was stolen.
There’s a fair amount of controversy around eBaum’s world, mostly surrounding questionable usage of content without proper attribution. They actually got into legal scuffles with over 6 websites, including: Albinoblacksheep, YTMND, Newgrounds, Olde English, 4chan and Somethingawful.
Despite all that, eBaum’s is actually still in existence today and was even in the running for its own TV show at one point. 
Having sold the site for approximately $70 million in total -$15m upfront and the rest in stock or paid over time- Eric “eBaum” Bauman, would actually go on to get fired along with his entire staff by purchasing company ZVUE.
There’s honestly not that much more information on eBaum or his father -who helped him start the website. 

Bearshare

There’s a good chance that only 50% of you have heard of this platform before.
Truth be told, most of the early P2P space was owned by the giants like Limewire and Napster. Bearshare was one of the few competitors who managed to carve out their own corner of the space by adding some unique twists to the P2P model.
For one, they gave away a ton of free software and had arguably the best customer support system available at the time. Their customer support interface was actually a dedicated browser built into Windows.
Like most P2P platforms of their era, Bearshare would eventually meet legal opposition that would force it into closure, which was eventually made final in June of 2016.
Bearshare was created by a company known as Freepeers, Inc. with Vincent falco and Louis Tatta being the principal operators. Since then, Vincent has maintained his presence in the tech space although, with a smaller voice and presence than before.
In 2018 he quietly joined the board of directors of C++alliance as it’s president. C++alliance is a company dedicated to making C++ more accessible and useable to anyone who wishes to learn it by funding and supporting educational resources, maintaining code libraries and promoting the growth of C++ communities.
Louis Tatta now serves as the CEO of C++alliance and has done so since 2017 having moved from Bearshare into the financial markets as a financial advisor for Edward Jones and a VP of Investments for JP Morgan chase.

Myspace

This one I know for a fact that most if not all of you have at least heard of.
Far from being a niche service like Bearshare, Myspace could be argued to be the very beginning of social media on the internet. For those who don’t know, you essentially created a “space” or page, a lot like a facebook profile in whatever theme you chose to create.
You could post content, share things from your friends, meet new people etc.
If you were lucky enough to have used the platform, you’ll remember that no matter who you were, everyone had at least one friend- Myspace Tom.
Tom as you can probably guess- was the founder of myspace- not some random creeper who insisted on adding every single new person who joined. Since retiring in 2009, after selling Myspace for a whopping $580 million in 2005, Tom has actually moved to Hawaii and has been living his best life.
He’s spent a lot of time exploring the world and sharing his adventures on Instagram and Twitter. His snapshots are actually incredible, you should check out his Instagram.
Now, Myspace actually had another lesser known founder named Chris DeWilde.
Chris has actually done pretty much the reverse of Myspace Tom, not only remaining in the tech space, but actually excelling in a number of other projects. A arguably rare feat for tech gurus.
His current venture is a mobile games developer named Jam City and he actually hooked up with two Myspace alumni to create it: Aber Whitcomb and Josh Yguado. If you’re into mobile games, you may have played a few of their titles, they’ve actually developed a few games for some major brands like Family Guy, Futurama and Harry Potter.

That’s it for this one folks. We’ll talk again soon!