Jacob Smith

VP, Bare Metal Strategy & Marketing

Jacob Smith

My career path into the cloud infrastructure business is the obvious one: a liberal arts education, ten years as an opera musician, and running a pair of nonprofits! 

Timing is Everything

My journey to Packet started with the lawn mowing business I ran with my twin brother — and Packet co-founder Zac — when we were kids. We went in different directions for 25 years, but in our mid 30's we were each in a place where a venture together seemed like an obvious opportunity. In addition to our family ties and love of working together, our different paths (he went to Juilliard and then into infrastructure; I got a Master's Degree in Music and then ran a digital marketing agency) really inspired the idea for Packet.  

It all came together after seeing a car commercial on my way back from a holiday party we organized in NYC. We decided to "get the team" back together and go play against the big kids. Our goal was simple but ambitious: lead the next wave of the cloud with a hardware delivery model for ‘subscale’ deployments that developers would love.  

You'd Have to Be Crazy!

Our decision to dive into the cloud business seemed crazy in 2014. But looking into the future, Zac and I saw a few trends colliding that created a window of opportunity.

First, there was a new "Golden Age" of silicon on the horizon — specialized hardware was becoming more important even while users were being abstracted away from it. At the same time there were huge investments in wireless (5G,CBRS, etc), in datacenters, and in the world of software. On top of everything, there was an impending generational shift from an I.T. buyer to a developer (or automation focused) buyer. It was this last clue that made me comfortable asking our friends and family to invest in Packet: I thought we had a chance to capture the next wave. 

Boring Infrastructure

Tim Hockin (of Google) said something that resonates with me: "it’s an exciting time for boring infrastructure.” Even though my background wasn’t in infrastructure, what I love about Packet is that we have a chance to build something meaningful and make a positive difference in our community. With Packet, we put a human face on infrastructure. I like to say that "Packet is the cloud that knows your name" and I really do believe it matters. 

Living in Vermont, I’ve been a face of our remote-first culture since we started the company. While I travel frequently to be with my team, as well as our customers and partners, I am fortunate to come home to the little mountaintop I share with my wife, two kids, and two pups. 

Posts by Jacob