Zac Smith

Josh Pigford on March 11, 2019

Table of Contents

 

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This week I talk with Zac Smith, Founder of Packet! In this episode we talk about being a kid entrepreneur, dropping out of school to play music, going to Juilliard, stumbling upon cloud hosting, starting an infrastructure business and more!

Show Notes

  • 1:06- Getting a degree in music
  • 2:57- Childhood and growing up in Southern California
  • 3:50- Being an entrepreneurial child
  • 5:15- Fist computer and getting into tinkering
  • 6:20- First job and buying his own computer
  • 9:08- Having a workshop and growing up with an amazing collection of tools
  • 10:28- Fixing broken things vs. creating something new all together
  • 11:27- “I am, by nature, an ops person and I work at creativity”
  • 12:10- Being excitable, enthusiastic, and optimistic
  • 12:50- Dropping out of high school
  • 14:32- Being in a hurry to grow up
  • 17:32- Applying to Juilliard
  • 19:17- Moving to New York
  • 21:09- Helping a lady send an email to her grandkids for $30
  • 23:09- Planning for post-graduation and not wanting to be a starving artist
  • 25:49- Going to a temp agency
  • 27:15- Spare time and access to theinternet
  • 28:27- “If you choose to get in business, do something that’s recurring revenue”
  • 29:36- Renting servers and selling hundreds of websites
  • 31:00- A “sketchy” situation
  • 32:47- Being one of the biggest customers of a Linux hosting company
  • 34:00- Stumbling into the cloud hosting thing
  • 34:55- Selling Voxel to Internap (2011)
  • 37:11- The importance of showing value of the business
  • 39:07- Not being fully prepared for what it meant to be acquired
  • 40:24- Learning how to work within a public company
  • 42:28- The New York reunion of internet infrastructure people
  • 43:35- Figuring out a better model
  • 44:23- Re-doing Linux to make it portable for software
  • 45:12- Requirement for un-opinionated infrastructure for developers
  • 46:20- A millennial-friendly, developer-friendly approach to hardware
  • 46:39- Idea for Packet
  • 48:30- Unique challenges around creating an infrastructure product that has a lot of hardware vs. creating a SaaS company
  • 49:15- “How can we take this hard thing and create this new category called hardware as a service?”
  • 51:07- Having faith that what we were doing wasn’t completely stupid
  • 51:50- Pushing through doubts
  • 53:25- Realize what your strengths and weaknesses are
  • 54:02- Reacting faster to what customers want and listening to what they were saying
  • 54:56- The next year for Packet
  • 56:25- Giving back to the community that’s helped them so much- open source infrastructure support
 

Josh Pigford