Advisory Board

Jaan Tallinn

The Credit Suisse article Skype — A Baltic Success Story said

Who invented it? Just three years after it was launched, over 115 million people across the globe are already phoning with Skype. But only a small number of “Skypers” know that the software was developed in Estonia. And most of the ideas for Skype still come from the 200 engineers working at the development center in Tallinn.
In Estonia, the three programmers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn have become something akin to popular heroes. They have twice brought this small country into the international headlines, thereby strengthening their homeland’s reputation as an up-and-coming IT tiger.
Their first successful coup took place in 2001 with the launch of the software Kazaa, from which the largest internet exchange site for pictures, songs and videos developed. Kazaa, which is now owned by the company Sharman Networks, has to date been downloaded some 389 million times, which is a record. In August 2003, the original three pioneers scored their next hit — a software called Skype that allows users to make free phone calls over the internet.

Jaan Tallinn is an Estonian programmer widely celebrated for writing the peer-to-peer engines of Kazaa and Skype. In addition to his activities at Skype, he is cofounder of Ambient Sound Investments (ASI).
Jaan is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on P2P technologies and is often credited for helping to establish Estonia’s global reputation for world class software and engineering talent. As a result of Kazaa and Skype, he currently holds the world’s record for the largest number of software downloads at almost 500 million.
In 1989, he helped create Kosmonaut, the first Estonian computer game to be published outside his country. In 1996, he graduated from the University of Tartu with a BSc in Theoretical Physics. His thesis involved travelling interstellar distances using warps in space-time.
Watch Jaan Tallinn on the Intelligence Stairway, TEDxProacademy — Jaan Tallinn, and Jaan Tallinn: Artificial Intelligence, Opportunities, Risks, and Approaches. Read File Swapper Eluding Pursuers, Estonians key to writing Kazaa code, “Skype Me Sometime!” The Swedish-Estonian crew that brought you the Kazaa, now brings you the Skype Internet phone, Estonia: “If It Works, You Can Break It”, and Estonia.