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Packet CEO Looks Back On 5 Years In Business. This Is What He Learned

‘I like to say we’re a toddler as a business,’ says Zachary Smith, CEO and co-founder of Packet, a bare-metal automation platform for developers.

Packet CEO and Co-Founder Zachary Smith has one word to describe his five years in business: hard.

“I like to say we’re a toddler as a business,’ he said. “We think we know everything, yet we still have to go back to mom and dad – in this case our investors – for some help sometimes.”

Smith co-founded Packet, now headquartered in NYC, in a push to disrupt what he saw as a huge problem in the cloud industry.

“People were being dominated by hyperscale clouds (Amazon, Google, Microsoft) and most people from a hosting standpoint or MSP were struggling against that competitive dynamic and we entered in with a very different vision.”

[Related: WATCH: Wasabi CEO David Friend Talks Packet Partnership And New Channel Offerings]

Packet is a bare-metal automation platform for developers. It lets users consume infrastructure at scale, handling the “muck” of automating infrastructure no matter what it is, where it lives or who owns it. Recently, the company has been moving into edge computing, deploying edge sites at the base of cell towers, commercial building, malls and elsewhere. The company now has more than 15,000 global users, including big-name customers like Sprint.

“We’ve put them in almost 10 locations in the last quarter – publicly they would like to go to about 180 locations in the U.S. It’s a very demanding use case. How do we power the infrastructure that turns on the LTE and 5G network for IoT? It’s exciting. It’s pushing us in a lot of weird directions, but our core technology has proven to be scalable enough for a large mobile carrier like Sprint.”

Smith admits he never expected to find himself leading a tech company. A classically trained musician who studied at The Juilliard School, Smith urges others to explore the industry. Here’s what he says is one of the biggest lessons he learned:

“You can come into our industry, sit next to a network operator and be a great network operator one year later. You just have to want it, be inquisitive, try really hard and sit next to somebody. That’s one of the main reasons I love this space.”

Learn more about Packet’s work in edge computing and its partnership with Sprint in CRN’s video.

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