I sat down with Jake Snyder, a distinguished system engineer at CompuNet, to get the skinny on what he does, what he’s looking forward to at the conference and the future of technology. Follow Jake on Twitter at @JSnyder81. Don’t miss his brand-new blog ToDSfromDS and his YouTube channel.
PK: When you’re not hanging out at ATM18, what’s your day job?
JS: I’m a wireless engineer for CompuNet, a network equipment reseller in Boise, ID. I’m primarily responsible for large wireless LAN deployments. I am also a troubleshooter, so when things don’t work, I ultimately get the call to fix the wireless.
I fell backward into networking. I started my IT career doing software development. But due to outsourcing, I ended up at the support desk, and worked my way from the bottom to the top. I have a number of networking certifications, and a couple people took interest in me and helped me find the path to what I’m doing now.
PK: How many times do you get ‘are you Jake from State Farm’?
JS: A lot.
PK: Did you collect any name royalties?
JS: Unfortunately, no.
PK: Are you planning to wear that State Farm shirt to ATM again?
JS: I might. I’ve stopped wearing it in public. It can be very intrusive having lots of people make comments or come up to me on the street. My wife “loves” that.
PK: What motivates you to do what you do?
JS: Helping people solve their challenges. In IT, there are all kinds of challenges. I can help people solve those challenges and actually change how they do their jobs. I can see how the things we build improve people’s lives or changes their businesses. That keeps me going every day. What I can do for them tomorrow is better than what I can do for them today.
PK: What is the first thing you’ll do when you get to Vegas for ATM18?
JS: I usually find the people from Aruba that I’m interested in talking with. There’s a lot of access to Aruba people at ATM. I try to find people I know from social media or product managers who are in town for the show.
PK: What’s the coolest part about ATM18?
JS: The tech demos and keynotes. By far, going to ATM pushes me as a technologist. I get glimpses of the future of the industry. I can see what these guys will put together in a new and interesting way. It helps me think about where I’m taking my customers and business. It’s really exciting.
PK: What part of ATM do you dread the most?
JS: Those early morning sessions. I’m an engineer – not a morning person.
PK: What technology are you wearing right now?
JS: I have my Apple Watch and a Bluetooth headset, which I wear most of the time.
PK: If you weren’t in technology, what would your life be like?
JS: My backup plan in case tech fails is to open a barbeque shack. I make really good barbeque.
PK: Who do you see as the undisputed guru of technology innovation?
JS: Elon Musk does a really good job of pushing his vision of the future forward. Transportation is changing, and with Tesla, SpaceX and Hyperloop, he is driving the future toward reality.
PK: Who would you want to have dinner with?
JS: Keerti Melkote. Of all the people in tech, I could have the most interesting discussion with Keerti.
PK: What will be the most life-changing technology in our lifetime?
JS: The Internet. It’s still evolving and changing, and that’s where a lot of innovation is focused.
PK: In what market segment will we see the next big disruption?
JS: Transportation. There’s a ton of opportunity, between electric and autonomous vehicles and communications to those vehicles and the infrastructure.
PK: What is your current favorite meme/GIF?
JS: It’s kind of mean, but you know how the vendors all say they are enterprise-grade?
Jake is a delegate at the Mobility Field Day on Wed, March 28 at ATM18. Watch the live stream here: http://techfieldday.com/event/atm18/