In episode 11 of Network AF, Avi talks with Jezzibell Gilmore, co-founder and chief commercial officer (CCO) of PacketFabric. Jezzibell is a powerful woman in networking who is modernizing and paving the way for infrastructure in the digital universe. In the conversation, she shares how she’s weaving together technology, business drivers and cutting-edge innovation, while keeping her foot firmly on the ground.
Packet Fabric is a network-as-a service platform providing data center interconnection and cloud connectivity. As the company’s co-founder and CCO, Jezzibell is in charge of business revenue, which means finding customers and making them happy.
Like many network enthusiasts, Jezzibell got into networking totally by chance. The CEO of AboveNet heard she was leaving her previous job and offered her an opportunity to come on board. At first, what AboveNet did sounded like a foreign language to Jezzibell, but she quickly realized many people were still learning and navigating the fast-growing networking industry, just like her. Realizing this sparked a love for figuring out complex things and making them better, a quality she carries into her work today.
On the episode, Avi and Jezzibell talk about:
For Jezzibell, learning technology on the fly has been a formative experience in her career. In the beginning, she was happy to make dinner for her engineer friends in exchange for valuable technical know-how that wasn’t being taught in school. Going to meetups and participating in community events helped her understand how to create and use technology in real time. She shares that the key to her success is learning by doing.
Avi counters that not waiting around or asking for permission is the building block of the DIY culture that feeds the willingness to innovate. Though limited in how much “figuring it out” can scale, he admits it does provide the curiosity necessary to keep going to the next level.
Jezzibell agrees and adds that she makes it a point to nurture training and touch points for various teams in her organization, creating a knowledge-ouroboros that feeds itself. When engineers are able to translate product features succinctly with their sales counterparts in mind, it empowers the sales team to support the customer base better.
Breaking down technical parts into easy-to-digest pieces that help people understand value is Jezzibell’s gift. She jokes about noticing when people’s eyes glaze over once someone launches into technical jargon. She shares that the art of connecting and being understood is not done by trying to prove yourself, with dropping that jargon, but rather more simply by leading with service.
Jezzibell also talks about experiencing the luxury of seeing people put their guard down and having open, grounded conversations with them. She creates this by asking so-called “foundational” questions, cutting past the hubris early on. Even in working in large organizations, she champions keeping it simple.
Having previously worked at Akamai and today running business revenue at PacketFabric, Jezzibell marvels at the minefield that a large organization navigates when buying a service. She has compassion for their plight and, in turn, makes it easy on them by providing the necessary human element.
Both agree there is a human component in buying technology that can never be automated, no matter how big you are. Avi quips that this is the so-called “customs of the customer,” which are the characteristics that require flexibility and meeting the customer where they’re at. Jezzibell sees this as balancing two diverse sides of the organization: the consumptive nature of technology, and the slower, creative process of procurement. It takes patience and appreciation of both sides, in order to create the engineering solution the enterprise needs.
Tune in to Network AF to find out about the main feature that Jezzibell invests in as CCO that she says pays back in dividends. Hear how she finds acceptance in techy cabals, and listen to more hilarious stories from Avi about networking and learning on the fly in this latest episode.