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ℹ️ CIO Week: Fireside Chat with Harry Moseley

Presented by Rustam Lalkaka , Harry Moseley
Originally aired on 

In this CIO Week segment, join Cloudflare Director of Product Rustam Lalkaka for a fireside chat with Harry Moseley, Global Chief Information Officer at Zoom.

Harry was formerly the CIO of KPMG, Blackstone, Credit Suisse, and UBS, and has extensive experience in solutions development, infrastructure, security, strategic planning, and building technology teams.

Visit the CIO Week Hub for every announcement and CFTV episode — check back all week for more!

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Transcript (Beta)

Good morning. Welcome to Cloudflare TV. My name is Rustam Lalkaka. I'm a Director of Product here at Cloudflare and I'm joined by Harry Moseley, the Global Chief Information Officer at Zoom.

We're here today to just talk about CIO Week and what it's like to be a CIO at a large and important company like Zoom.

Harry, I saw in your bio that you're based in New York.

Is that right? Yeah. So I live up here in Skysdale, just a little bit north of Manhattan, but used to live in Manhattan.

I actually grew up in Manhattan and have moved west to California since.

But think about New York often, think about, you know, actually, you know, now that we're all remote, think about moving back.

Where in Manhattan were you?

80th and 1st. Well, yes. Well, that was a long time ago. I lived on 80th and 1st for a period of time and then more in sort of midtown in the 50s later.

But in 1981, I lived up on 80th and 1st.

Yeah. And so a little bit after, a little bit after 1981, I grew up on 81st and York, which is two blocks away.

That's pretty, that's pretty funny.

Yeah. That's an interesting little nook of a neighborhood. There's a deli on 86th and York.

That was amazing. It's still there, I think. And then there's a very odd French restaurant down the street there.

Do you remember that?

I remember the French restaurant that was awesome. They did a fantastic steak au poivre, great French fries.

And then, and then they had a dark chocolate mousse, which was to die for.

I mean, like, it was just the best. Yeah, just absolute best.

And then there was, there was a deli. I'm not sure if, I'm sure it's still there, actually.

It was called Eddie's Deli on the corner of 80th and 1st.

Eddie's Market, I think it was called. Eddie's Market. Yeah. And I remember when we moved into the building in 1981, we watched this little Eddie's Market go from being a little market to a bigger market.

And the type of car that Eddie was driving started to change rather dramatically.

So it was an interesting time.

So this is actually a good segue. You've been a sort of in information technology and in CIO roles at a lot of different companies over the years, including a lot in New York, sort of in that sort of financial services consulting world.

What changes, what large transitions have you seen in the, in the course of your career?

Yeah, well, you know, sort of my, my technology career, you know, I think the biggest change that I've seen over the course of my career, to be honest, to be honest, Rustam, is that, you know, the role of the CIO has dramatically changed.

You know, if you go back 20 years ago, you know, CIOs were responsible for building applications, building solutions, deploying them, et cetera.

But when you look at the technology functionality today, it's more about deploying solutions, less about building them.

Because when you look at the technical literacy of employees, irrespective of the role, whether it's financial or whether it's marketing or whether it's sales, you know, their technical literacy is dramatically more than what it was before and going up all the time.

So the role of the CIO is about deploying technology that enables the employee to be successful and allows them to sort of get done what they need to get to do.

And so we're providing the platforms as opposed to building solutions.

From that perspective, it seems like the changes we've seen with COVID and the pandemic and folks working from home is just a continuation of that, right?

There's nothing dramatically new about what we've done over the past couple of years.

It's just that it's happened faster.

Is that? Yeah, I think, you know, when I talked to my, you know, sort of compadres around the world in a variety of industries, I think everybody sort of has reached the conclusion that, you know, COVID really accelerated the trajectory that we were already on, irrespective of the industry.

When you look at like financial services and you look at, you know, sort of investment bankers now connecting with people around the world, connecting with our clients around the world in a virtual environment, you look at, you know, like Goldman Sachs did a multi-billion dollar stock offering for SoftBank, you know, exclusively over the Zoom platform.

You look at what's going on in healthcare. You look at what's going on in education.

You know, you look at professional services where, you know, sort of the, you know, the people would travel to the client.

They don't travel to the client anymore.

They're doing everything in a virtual environment. Guess what?

It's kind of like, you know, they're being really, really productive without having to travel.

And so this, you know, sort of for all of the downsides of COVID, which clearly we would have preferred not to have had, it really did accelerate the sort of the trajectory we were on.

And we've all experienced, you know, some of that.

We've been in this world for, you know, close to two years now. And, you know, to your point, a lot of things have actually felt better.

I think a lot of meetings feel more inclusive, more collaborative.

As companies start to think about going back to the office, what do you think stays and what do you think changes?

Yeah. So let's just back up a little bit on that. Let's unpack it, you know, sort of you're absolutely right.

It's like, we're almost, you know, we're almost at the two-year marker, you know, sort of for working in this virtual world.

And, you know, had COVID, you know, sort of lasted for, you know, weeks or a few months as originally predicted, you know, I think the world would have sort of snapped right back to where it was, right?

You know, if I look at myself as an example, I used to be on flights three or four times a week.

I think I would have snapped right back to that, given that I'm like two years into this experience.

Now, the last thing I want to do is hop on a business flight.

I want to travel. I want to go see my family.

I want to go see friends. I want to go to nice destinations.

But, you know, sort of, you know, from a travel business perspective, I think that's changed forever, because we've learned how to, like we were saying before, we've learned how to build professional social relationships in a virtual world.

We've learned how to connect with people. We've learned how to lead and manage in a virtual world.

You know, when you, when you, if you read the, you know, I don't know if you're a subscriber to the Future Forum, that's an organization out of Slack, they did a survey of 10,000 knowledge workers across Europe, U.S., and Asia Pacific, and 57% of the people said that they wanted to find a new job in the next 12 months.

They were going to find a new job in the next 12 months.

76% of the respondents said that they wanted flexibility about where they worked, and 93% said they wanted flexibility about when they worked.

So, it's, I guess, it's the era of flexibility about when and where.

And so, I think that, you know, so that's evidence, if you will, to the fact that this is going to stay.

It's all about employee satisfaction now, and employee experience, employee engagement.

That's a, you know, that's an equal peer to customer satisfaction, because if you can't attract, hire, and retain your employees, then, you know, customer sat is going to go into the toilet.

So, so these are, so, you know, so irrespective of my logo, I know what my logo says, I know what my company does, but irrespective of that, I firmly believe that this is a way we will see the professional world.

Last point is, you know, if you, if you go back to the pre -pandemic world, we'd like, we would have led with in-person meetings, right, and then we would supplement it with videos, kind of like, you know, that's the way we function.

And in the, you know, where we're going, it's going to lead with virtual, and we will augment it with in -person.

Case in point, you know, I'm Irish, and I think you know that, but it's like, you know, so my colleagues, whenever there's an Irish time, so I'm trying to get mostly on the call, you know, and so I met like a bunch of, you know, I made a bunch of new Irish friends, colleagues, and gonna, my plan is to visit my sister in Dublin for a long weekend in February, so I pinged a few people and said, hey, listen, I'm going to be a Donny Hughes bar in Merion Row in Dublin, three o'clock Friday the 25th.

If you're around, come by and we'll have a pint, assuming that COVID will allow us to do that.

So, and that's exactly, you know, so what I was saying before, we'll leave with a virtual, and we'll augment it with in-person.

It's sort of related to that, right? Zoom had a quite a heavy in-person culture prior to things locking down, right?

Heavy is a bit strong.

I mean, yes, we did have, you know, we had a variety of offices like Cloudflare around the world, you know, and we had people in our offices, and that's, you know, I mean, that's the way, you know, most businesses function, and, you know, I'm sure you, like us, you know, sort of two, almost two years ago, went completely virtual, but we did have a strong, we did have a strong, you know, and a pretty significant distributed network.

I remember when Eric, you know, Ewan, our CEO and founder, you know, was talking to me about joining Zoom, I said, but Eric is like, I don't want to move to California.

He said, and he just looked at me and goes, well, Harry, it's like, look at what we do for, you know, look, you know, it's like, you don't need to move to California.

You can function, you know, equally well out of New York, and I'm like, okay, well, that works, so strike that one off.

Okay, next, and so here we are, yeah. And I guess where I'm going with this, I remember you sharing a story a while back about you being the only remote person in an executive meeting, and let's focus on that meeting, actually.

How has that experience changed as you sort of went from face on the wall to everyone being on the equal footing?

Yeah, for the people listening in, what Rustam was referring to, it's like the whole executive team is based in San Jose, and I was the only member of the team that would sort of, on a regular basis, be Zooming in.

Occasionally, others would when they were traveling, but by and large, I was consistently the person always on the wall, and it was like really hard for me to get attention, and I remember our first management meeting in COVID where everybody was remote, and then people said, oh, now I finally understand what Harry was talking about, and, you know, it's, and now we, you know, sort of, when you, when you think about that now, Rustam, it's kind of, you know, sort of, when you, when you look back over the last two years living in this virtual world, you know, everybody's head is the same size, everybody occupies the same amount of screen real estate, it's very inclusive, you know, everybody, you know, promotes equality because everybody has an equal voice, it works for introverts and extroverts, and there's no hierarchy in the room, it's kind of like if your CEO was to join us, you know, you know, CEO's head would be equal to your head, equal to my head, it's like you can't even tell, you know, if they're six foot two or four foot six, right, and it doesn't really matter, and so, and so the challenge that's in front of us, of course, is, well, when you go to this hybrid model, how do you maintain this inclusivity, how do you maintain this equality, and so we've done a bunch of things at Zoom, like our smart gallery, which, you know, uses artificial intelligence to stream people in the room out to be in individual squares, so the remote participant doesn't feel like, quote, a second class citizen, because they're sort of not in the room, so they feel more equal, they feel, they feel more inclusive because of that, and so that's pretty cool.

That's awesome, I want to try that.

You touched on this a little earlier, you said CIOs, the role a CIO has gone from sort of building solutions to specific business problems to deploying a lot of things and building platforms, how do you know you've done a good job, how do CIOs, how should CIOs measure their success, and has that changed with that shift, or is the end goal still the same?

Yeah, I think that there's, you know, sort of, I think, I think you've got to think about, you know, as a, you know, I think as a CIO, you've got to think of your employees as your clients, and if you think of your employees as your clients, you need to sort of, like, look at your, quote, internal net promoter school, you know, you've got to look at sort of, and I'm sure you guys do surveys, like we do surveys as well, about sort of employee satisfaction, employee engagement, employee experience, and, you know, would you, would you, you know, would you recommend your company to a colleague, and things of that nature, so I think those are sort of very important aspects that the CIO needs to be focused on from, you know, sort of running a day-to-day operation, yeah.

It's funny, you know, just, you just made me think of something else, it's like, you know, talking to a friend the other day, you know, we were reminiscing, you know, sort of, like, 20 years ago, it's like you would deploy technology to your end user, and in those days, it was kind of like, this is how it works, if you don't like it, just, you know, suck it up, it's kind of like, it doesn't really matter.

In today's world, you know, that's a career -limiting move, it does really matter, it matters an awful lot, and then, and then also today, you know, in those days, it was kind of like, one size fits all, and if it doesn't really matter, and if it doesn't, then doesn't really matter.

In today's world, the notion of one size fits all does, you know, sort of does matter a lot, and you can't, you know, sort of, what's good for one organization might not be, might not work well for another organization, and you need to be considerate of that, so you might, and you got to think about redundancy and resiliency, you know, much more now than ever before.

Is what's driving that sort of accountability, just the fact that your employees are more tech savvy, and there's a credible threat that they'll sort of go to whatever, shadow IT, or bring their own device, and go off the, go off the grid.

Yeah, yeah, I think that's a, that's a very large part of it, but the other large part of it, Rustam, is that, you know, every company is a tech company today, you know, if, if, if the technology is not working for your team, for your workforce, then the chances of the company being successful are going to be, you know, sort of challenged, if you will, so I think it's, you know, I think the CIO or the CTO really needs to sort of focus on the technologies that work for different, you know, and again, you know, if you have an organization, let's pick one, if you think about, like, the finance organization, right, the finance organization is predominantly internally focused, right, they're internally focused on the day-to -day running of the company, you know, and everything to do with finance, but on, if you think about the sales organization, the sales organization is predominantly focused externally, you know, working with your clients, so the technology that works for finance might not work for the, for the sales organization, and vice versa, so you have to be flexible and turn, and be, you know, sort of cognizant of what works best for that organization.

It's like the hybrid model, it's like, you know, when we talk about hybrid, you know, I remember talking to one of our clients, and they were conducting eight different experiments on the hybrid model, because again, what works for HR might not work for engineering, might not work for marketing, and, you know, might not work for finance, you know, public company finance needs to be in the office, but, you know, close the books, right, you know, at the, you know, for the quarter end, other times in the quarter, they don't need to be in the office, so you have to flex differently.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

How do you, how do you think about managing, there's always a little bit of tension between keeping employees productive, and making sure they have the tools they need, and then making sure that the business stays safe, and, and, and information security is, is, is paid attention to?

How do you, how do you navigate that sort of interface?

Yeah, there's always friction there, right? Yeah, it's a, you know, sort of the balance of maintaining, you know, sort of productivity, and, you know, sort of maintaining productivity in a way that's private and secure, that there's always a push-pull on that.

I think it's hard, quite honestly, but you can't, you know, you know, compromising on privacy and security is not a topic that will get you very far, so you're not, that's not going to happen, and I think that, you know, sort of when it comes to the technology, we can find a way to be productive, and be private and secure, so, so yeah, it's, it, but there's, those challenges are there, and they will remain, they will remain there.

I remember hiring CISOs in my past, and, you know, it's, you know, the best security is to allow, sort of, no external access, right?

It's kind of like, you know, well, that's not going to work, so you're going to, got to make sure that you've got the right balance there.

Do you think that, that tension has less, it's never going to go away, but do you think that's gotten better with modern techniques, and, and tools, or?

I think it's got dramatically better today than it was, like, five years ago.

I think that, you know, sort of the quality of the products and services that are out there is, you know, sort of significantly better than what it was, you know, as little as, like, three years ago, so, yeah.

Cool. Sort of, we've talked about what, what things were in the past, we've talked about what things look like today, and, and, and near future, as we transition back to an office, hopefully, potentially.

What about the future? What do you, what, what are the, sort of, big changes that will come to your job, and how we work?

Well, it's like, when I think about things like artificial intelligence, and augmented reality, virtual reality, and machine learning, it's like, I fundamentally believe that we're sort of, you know, barely scratching the surface on leveraging these technologies.

You know, I mentioned how we were using artificial intelligence to support the hybrid work model, to promote equality and intrusivity.

You know, when you look at what we're doing with Oculus for Meta, in terms of virtual reality, to, as part of our persistent whiteboarding solution, so that you can be, sort of, immersed into the, into the whiteboarding session, and quite honestly, Ross Stone, when I, when I look at that solution, it's actually better than in-person whiteboarding, for a variety of different reasons.

Multiple people can whiteboard at the same time, you know, on a variety, and it's an infinite canvas, so you're not limited.

You know, you can save it, you can bring it up, you can, you know, you can share it internally and externally.

The markers have, the markers have ink, always, right?

Yeah, exactly. You never, it's infinite ink, right?

It's like, and, you know, it's the, you don't have to carry the whiteboard around with you, because, you know, it's virtual.

You can share it in chat, and all sorts of stuff.

So, I think that's really cool, and, you know, and then we're also getting, you know, sort of, testing out our machine learning for language translation and language transcription, where we'll be deploying that in the first quarter of 2022, which is super exciting, because again, you know, it promotes inclusivity, it promotes equality, making the world a little bit smaller, and a little bit friendlier, and allow people to speak in their native languages, and hear people talk in, you know, sort of, in my native language.

So, I think that's going to be super exciting, and so I think we're going to see a lot more of this in our future.

You know, the notion of being able to, you know, I've got a cup of coffee here, you know, it's like, you might be able to smell that, or you might be able to tune the smell, because you don't like coffee, and say, well, I don't want to smell coffee, I want to smell roses.

You know, the idea that you could outdo, you know, physical handshake, you know, where, you know, I've got a vest that's heated, but imagine if you had a vest with sensors in it, and so, you know, when you do this, it's like, I would feel the hug, you know, that type of thing.

It's interesting, everything you're talking about makes sense, and it's all to augment real human interaction, it's not to replace it, right?

It sounds like you're not worried about the singularity, you're excited about the sort of opportunity we're looking at.

Absolutely, yeah. Actually, somebody recently suggested that we shouldn't call it artificial intelligence, we should call it augmented intelligence, but I think maybe that's more around augmented reality, but it's augmenting the experience, yeah.

Very interesting, I'm excited. Real-time translation, that's mind-blowing.

I've had so many experiences sitting in a meeting, and, you know, that experience of saying something in English, and then having it translated, and then sitting there in silence.

If we can move past that with technology, that's awesome.

Yeah, it's gonna be really cool. Very cool. That's all I had on my mind, Harry.

Any sort of parting words before we wrap up this chat? No, no, it's been great, and, you know, if you make it back east, do ping me, and if I make it out west, I'll ping you.

You're in San Francisco, right? I'm in San Francisco.

We gotta go find that French restaurant and get a slice of that mousse. Yeah, well, I think you said that it's gone, right?

Yeah, I think it has closed. Actually, I found an old review of that restaurant, and it was told from the perspective of someone.

It was either a regular or a staff member there, and they walked through all the sort of staff politics of this corner French bistro over the course of 20 years.

It was pretty cool, you know, especially having sort of grown-up eating there.

Yeah, cool. Well, thank you so much for joining, and have a good rest of your Wednesday.

Yeah, and happy holidays to you, the family, and all my friends at Cloudflare, and we love the relationship with your company, and looking forward to doing great things with some of your colleagues in Davos come January, so that'll be cool.

Yeah, and I hope you get to enjoy that pint in Dublin. That sounds pretty good.

I will absolutely enjoy the pint in Dublin. That you can be guaranteed of.

All right. All right, my friend, be good.

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