Names with stories: The story behind

Jacob Smith from Packet talks about the origin of the brand name, their choice of the domain name, and the process of acquisition

Packet empowers developer-driven companies to deploy physical infrastructure at a global scale with cloud, on-premise, and edge computing solutions. Jacob Smith from Packet talks with us about the origin of the brand name, their choice of the domain name, and the process of acquisition, as well as their views for the future of


How was the idea of Packet born? 


I've always wanted to start another business with my brother (our first was a lawn-mowing business as kids!).  While we originally excluded cloud infrastructure as an option, we couldn't stay away - and finally decided to dive back into the space in 2014, but with a vision for what the next wave of innovators would want from the cloud.  It's been a wild ride, and a lot of fun so far!


Why did you originally decide to brand your company under the name "Packet", were there any other names you were considering?

We considered a lot of not very good names, but finally landed on Packet for a few reasons: it's easy to spell, easy to remember, and it is tied to the one thing you have to buy from a cloud provider (network services).  In networking, data is transmitted in small packages called "packets".   

What domain did you use before Why?

We started (very briefly) with and then acquired, which was our primary domain for a few years.  We also own other domains, including our favorite short domain ever: (we are a "bare metal" cloud provider).  I'm very thankful to the country of Albania for this TLD! 

What was the best and worst part about the process of acquiring the domain 

The best part was working with Taylor Frank at Fairwinds Partners, who represented us in this transaction and also our acquisition.  The worst part?  Shelling out the cash, of course!  In all seriousness, while we're happy with the domain acquisition and the strategy behind it, we knew that many of our customers and (especially) employees would be shocked by the price tag.  As I like to say, we exceeded our domain budget in 2018 by about $349,988.  :)


If you could have any domain name in the world would you still pick

Yup, we’re super happy with! Other people in the company were excited by the .dev TLD but we have the domain we need.  

What would you say is the most important thing for your brand right now?


Authenticity is paramount. I see a brand as a collection of "promises" that you make to your customers: about your product, your service, and how you interact with your community.  It's far easier to maintain this promise when you are acting on a set of core values, and that's why being authentic to our brand is a key goal.


What is the one element of your brand you would not compromise on?

I'm not sure there is any part that can't be worked around, but I do value how we have built a very personal brand, including showcasing the people who make it all happen. By pulling back the curtain, we're able to show that our solution is more than just good tech: it's good people as well.

Do you remember the day you got your first client? What was the feeling?

It takes a lot of effort and capital to get into the internet infrastructure business. You have to lease datacenter space, buy hardware, and of course build a company and product around that.  So when we got our first paying customer in 2015, after numerous stumbles and delays, it was a great feeling.  We are lucky to still have that customer (hey Jason!).  

What kind of tips can you give other startups and founders considering acquiring a premium domain name?

I recommend using a trusted advisor.  I happen to know our domain broker through a family member, so it was easy to trust him and his company (Fairwinds Partners).  When you're buying a premium domain, it's like buying a car or a house, so make sure you have a professional around unless you've done it a dozen times.

What is next for Packet, where do you see the company in 4 years from now?

We're growing fast now, so it's hard to tell what it will be like in 4 more years.  That being said, our goal is to be the absolute best in the world at automating infrastructure, no matter what it is, where it lives, or who owns it.  So, I hope in 4 years we are truly the best at it. Other than that I do hope we have hoverboards that work, and maybe some flying taxis.  :)


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