Speaker profile

Zachery Smith

Managing Director of Bare Metal - Equinix, Chairman - Open 19 Foundation

In 2001, while finishing my music degree at Juilliard, I started working the night shift at a bank in Lower Manhattan. My job was to format PowerPoint decks and other documents for the investment bankers in the M&A department. Since they were often out late with clients, I had plenty of time to indulge in my favorite early 2000’s pastime: browsing the internet and learning about computers. 

 One night around  2am I landed on WebHostingTalk.com and posted to the forum about getting a server with Linux on it. That led to a conversation with Raj Dutt, a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI),  which led to me joining as co-owner of Voxel, one of the first Linux-based hosting companies. We worked together for 10 years, growing Voxel and then selling it to Internap in 2011.  After a brief break, I decided around 2013 to start a business with my twin brother. I  had only one rule: anything but infrastructure! In the end, I couldn’t stay away and in 2014 we started Packet.

 I landed in the cloud world by chance, but I stayed because I believe technology can help make the world a better place. The challenges facing our planet and society — the one my kids will inherit — are daunting.  I believe that if we can accomplish our mission at Packet (which is to create a more efficient model for how technology is bought, sold, consumed and leveraged) then we can better overcome our environmental and social challenges.   

 There are so many things I love about Packet — the people, the customers, and our cool robot mascot! I am honored to come to work each day and lead a company that is so focused on empowering customers with the competitive advantage of infrastructure.

 Outside of work, I am passionate about creating opportunities for those that don’t follow the “normal path” into tech.  I serve on the Operating Board of Pursuit, a non-profit organization that helps train people for technology careers and increase their average annual salaries from $18,000 to over $85,000. 

 At the heart of my life is my family. My wife (whom I met at music school) and I live in Manhattan with our two young boys. I can’t imagine my life without the concentrated energy of New York City: in the evenings or on weekends you’re likely to find me speaking at a tech meetup, watching a kid’s soccer game, joining the team for a client dinner, or leading the Downtown NYC Boy Scout troop on a campout to Staten Island.