Ryan Smith stands as an iconic example of American entrepreneurialism and innovation. Hailing from Eugene, Oregon, Smith’s journey into business has been nothing short of extraordinary; with an estimated net worth of $2 billion reflecting his ability to recognize opportunities as they arise.

Smith’s journey began in earnest when he co-founded Qualtrics, an online survey software company, with his brother Jared and father Scott. The company grew exponentially, becoming a leading name in enterprise survey technology, ultimately catching the attention of European software giant SAP. The acquisition of Qualtrics by SAP in 2018 for a staggering $8 billion was a pivotal moment, significantly boosting Ryan Smith’s wealth.

Post-acquisition, Smith’s role did not diminish; he continued to helm Qualtrics as CEO, ensuring the company’s growth trajectory didn’t falter. His decision to purchase a majority stake of the Utah Jazz for $1.66 billion in 2020 was another bold act that established his place not just within business but also sports and entertainment circles. Not only was his investment considered as an economic move; his ownership also serves as a reflection of personal passion: having been an avid supporter since birth of this beloved team.

Smith’s success story extends far beyond numbers and acquisitions; it also involves his commitment to education and community involvement. Even after leaving Brigham Young University early to focus on Qualtrics, he eventually returned and completed his degree, setting an example of the importance he places on education.

What impact has Ryan Smith had on the Utah Jazz and the community?

Since acquiring the Utah Jazz in 2020, Ryan Smith has brought a new energy to the team and the broader community. Under his leadership, the Jazz have not only continued their tradition of competitive performance but also deepened their community involvement.

Smith’s passion for basketball extends beyond the professional arena; it’s a personal affair. His installation of basketball courts in his home and at the Qualtrics headquarters in Provo speaks to his love for the game. This enthusiasm has translated into a hands-on approach with the Jazz, as Smith is known to be actively involved in the team’s operations, nurturing both its growth and its fan base.

In the community, Smith’s influence has been multifaceted. He partnered with the Jazz to raise $25 million for cancer research, demonstrating a commitment to corporate social responsibility. The drive not only illustrates Smith’s philanthropic spirit but also reinforces the Utah Jazz’s role as a community pillar in Utah.

Moreover, by maintaining the team’s local heritage and building upon the loyal fan base established by the Miller family, Smith has ensured that the Jazz remains an integral part of Utah’s social fabric. His actions reveal a desire to keep the team closely knit with its roots while also pushing it towards new horizons.

How does Ryan Smith embody modern entrepreneurship?

Ryan Smith is the archetype of a modern entrepreneur – one who disrupts traditional markets, embraces technology, and recognizes the importance of corporate culture. His journey with Qualtrics, from a basement startup to a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, is a classic modern entrepreneurship story, embodying the spirit of innovation and risk-taking that defines today’s business leaders.

Smith’s business philosophy extends beyond mere profit; he understands the importance of company culture and employee engagement. This is evidenced by the amenities like a basketball court at Qualtrics, which reflect his approach to blending work with passion and well-being.

Furthermore, Smith’s strategic decisions, whether in pursuing aggressive growth for Qualtrics or in purchasing the Utah Jazz, show an understanding of the importance of brand and experience in the modern marketplace. His moves are not just about financial gain but are also about creating and maintaining brands that resonate with people on a personal level.

Smith has shown a keen sense of social responsibility, realizing the role businesses must play in addressing today’s societal challenges. His charitable work with cancer research serves as an exemplar of how modern entrepreneurs can use their resources and platforms for the greater good.


Ryan Smith’s story is one of ambition, vision, and a deep-seated love for his ventures and community. As he continues to balance the responsibilities of being at the helm of Qualtrics and the Utah Jazz, his impact is felt not just on the court or through online surveys, but in the very heart of entrepreneurial innovation and community engagement. His journey, from a university dropout to a billionaire entrepreneur, remains an inspiration to many aspiring business minds across the globe.