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Jim Rutt

Jim is currently a Researcher in Residence at the Santa Fe Institute, studying the application of complexity science to financial markets, social simulations, and artificial intelligence. In the world of work (retired April 2001), Jim was most recently CEO of Network Solutions, Inc., which administers the .COM, .NET, and .ORG domain namespaces on the Internet, where he led the resolution of long-standing issues around Internet governance, led the company through a successful $2.1 billion secondary offering, and ultimately engineered its $17 billion acquisition in 2000 by VeriSign.

He has either founded or played a key role in several significant information services and network companies. Starting back in 1980, he went to work for "The Source," one of the first consumer online services, and was intimately involved in developing early versions of e-mail and bulletin boards, and has been credited with having coined the term "snail mail." He was inventor of The Source's "User Publishing" program that allowed customers to publish their own materials on the network, a precursor of today's personal websites, and played a major role in development of Harry Steven's PARTICIPATE offering, one of the first operational many-to-many computer conferencing environments.

He left The Source in 1982 to co-found the Business Research Corporation, which created several successful online information products for the investment community including Investext and a Business Research spin-off, First Call Corporation, which he co-founded in 1984. First Call was one of the first ventures to provide near real- time online delivery of equity research and supporting data such as earnings estimates. First Call is today essential to the world's financial markets. Business Research and First Call were sold to the Thomson Corporation in 1986.

In 1992, he re-joined The Thomson Corporation (, and helped transform the company from a large, low-key business publishing firm into an aggressive, Net-oriented information company. After running several business units, he founded Thomson Labs in 1994 with a major focus on the Internet, natural language processing, knowledge management, and related technologies, and helped lead a major transformation of Thomson, such that by 1998, more than $2 billion of the company's revenue was derived from electronically-delivered products and services. In 1997 he was appointed Thomson's first Chief Technology Officer, and to the executive committee.

He has been involved as an early-stage investor and/or advisor to numerous technology-based companies, and is currently a Director of MarketSwitch Corporation, Netscan Corporation, Rio Grande Ventures, Proteus Foundation, and is Chairman of the Board of Analog Design Automation Inc. of Ottawa, Canada, a creator of software for automating the design of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits (IC) for the semiconductor industry.

Mr. Rutt received his B.S. degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Management at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Non-work type interests include The WELL, which he joined in 1989, the pioneering many-to-many computer conferencing system that arose from the Whole Earth Review.


Last Update: 03-10-06

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The Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study
Mail Stop 2A1, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 993-4333 Fax: (703) 993-4325