Ridgely got his first computer in 1967 and started his first business in the early 1970s. In 1988 he joined Intuit, where he was responsible for the creation of QuickBooks, and later instrumental in creating their online banking system. Since Intuit he has been CEO of several technology startups, including Exactly Vertical, a pioneer in supply-chain automation for small business, and nCircle, one of the leading companies in internet network security.
In 1990 he founded DaVero Sonoma, which he and his wife Colleen McGlynn have built into a premier producer of extra virgin olive oils, wines, and other artisan food products. In 2003, Ridgely began development of NetBooks.
He earned a BA, with distinction, in International Relations from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.