*APAC Careers Day* Building for the Future in APAC
Jonathon Dixon (Vice President and GM, APAC) and Luanne Da Costa (Director of Public Relations, APAC) will kick off Careers Day by talking about the trends in APAC and plans for the region.
Hello everyone and welcome. My name is Luanne Da Costa and I'm Director of Public Relations, Asia Pacific, Japan and China at Cloudflare.
I'm super excited to be here today to kick off our first ever AIPAC Careers Day.
AIPAC Careers Day is a way for us to tell all our audience the Cloudflare story, who we are and what we do, as well as highlight all the exciting opportunities in the Asia Pacific, Japan and China region.
And we're coming to you live from Cloudflare TV, so we would like to welcome all the folks tuning in from all over the region, as well as everyone across the globe.
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are in the world.
So we've got a packed agenda with lots of exciting speakers today. So for the next 30 minutes, we're going to kick things off by talking about what it takes to build for a future in Asia Pacific.
And with that, it is my pleasure to introduce Jonathon Dixon, our Vice President and General Manager for Asia Pacific, Japan and China at Cloudflare.
Hello Jonathon, it's great to see you. Good morning, good afternoon, good night, wherever you are.
Luan, great to spend 30 minutes with you.
I'm super excited to have a chat, talk a little bit about the Asia Pacific business, what our aspirations are, what we're thinking around people, our culture, our teams, what we want to get to as a business and yeah, have some fun for the next 30 minutes.
So Luan, I'm really excited to be here and thank you for the opportunity to talk.
Likewise. So I mean, let's just get things started because we've got a packed agenda today.
Why don't we just start things off by you know, giving the audience a quick overview of Cloudflare.
In your words, what is Cloudflare and what does Cloudflare do?
Sure. Well, it's first and foremost, it's a really exciting company to work for.
Six months in, we can talk about a little bit about that later, but Cloudflare, or we, we're a global and cloud native cybersecurity company with a very important and meaningful mission to help build a better Internet.
We've built a global network designed to make everything you connect to the Internet secure, fast and reliable.
We secure websites, we secure APIs, Internet applications, we protect corporate networks, employees and devices.
Think about that old castle remote world now being converged and we write and deploy code that runs on the network edge, which I'll talk a little bit more about later.
Our global network protects millions of Internet properties, spanning more than 200 cities and over a hundred countries.
And we have 45 cities plus connected across Asia Pacific, which is super exciting.
We're powering our network with a hundred percent renewable energy. We're committed to removing all historical emissions from our network by 2025, which is something I'm super proud about, super motivated in delivering.
In Q2 alone, and just to give you some idea of our scale, we've locked an average of 87 billion cyber threats each day.
Yes, 87 billion cyber threats each day. And globally, we have 16 offices, four of these, which across the region, which we're going to talk about, and I'm super passionate about that being Beijing, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.
And we will be expanding across Asia Pacific very soon into other very meaningful cities as we expand our footprint across this very vibrant region that is Asia Pacific, Japan, and greater China.
That's great. I wanted to just take a step back and talk about your career for a minute.
You've obviously built an amazing career in sales and in tech, and you've worked with technology giants like IBM and Cisco.
And prior to joining Cloudflare, you were the head of the enterprise business at Amazon Web Services in the region.
So can you tell us just a little bit more about your career journey and tell everyone what it was or what it is about Cloudflare that drew you to it?
Sure. Listen, well, 20 years in, and I've been very fortunate.
I can't say I ever expected to work in technology growing up or going through university or trying to play a little bit of sport, but I am where I am, and I've really enjoyed the 20-year journey.
So I grew up in Victoria, state of Australia, and a little bit in the country, a little bit mostly in Melbourne.
And as I said, working in technology wasn't really a priority.
I battled through a business degree, and I was fortunate enough to get into the IBM intern program and IBM graduate program.
And I quickly realized that anything too deep technical, anything too operational early on wasn't for me.
And I was sort of envious of the people that were talking to customers and getting out and about and traveling and sort of trying to solve business problems for customers.
So sort of naturally begged and pestered my way into sales, and that's really sort of been how my career has evolved.
So I've been 20 years working in some really great companies, so five at IBM, 10 at Cisco, and five at Amazon Web Services.
And I talked about luck, and the luck, I suppose, has been that when I've worked for these various companies, they've been front and center of technology and market transitions.
So at IBM, we're really transforming and modernizing software and hardware and services around outcome-based propositions for customers.
And my last role there was a client, executive account, executive selling to financial services out of Melbourne's, I think, ANZ Bank or National Australia Bank.
Now, I moved over to Cisco, and at the time, IBM was a partner at Cisco providing system integration services.
And it was a really great transition where networking, communication, collaboration was coming really to the forefront, and Cisco had a really bold vision of transforming how you work, live, and play.
And I worked my ranks up from an account executive to a global account executive.
I was fortunate enough to work with a great global organization in BHP and with a fly around the world, helping them transform the network and communications footprint, and then moved into management and sales management into general management and ended up running their telco and cloud business for the region.
After 10 years, as I said, I was helping telcos build clouds and private clouds, and this company kept beating telcos in monetizing their private clouds.
And so that classic, when you can't beat them, join them.
So I was fortunate enough to join Amazon Web Services, which was really, at the time, they created public cloud, utility-based computing models, and they transformed compute and storage that gave customers operational and cost savings, then helped customers innovate, leveraging their analytics and machine learning capabilities.
So just like AWS transformed compute and storage, and as you said, my last role there was running their enterprise business across Asia Pacific, which is a super cool role, spanning 3,000 enterprise customers across all industry verticals.
Cloudflare became an opportunity, and I'm now six months in, we can talk a little bit about that more, but just like AWS transformed compute and storage, Cloudflare is and will transform network and security.
And it's really the last frontier to truly go to cloud. And as I said, we're a cloud-native company growing super fast, very innovative, think about our customers, we build very quick, and we're there to really help them transform, get some operational savings, build some innovation at the edge, and be able to be nimble in this ever-evolving world.
So again, 20 years, very fortunate, and I've worked for some great companies.
And I suppose the other thing that's stood me well is I've had some really great leaders across the time, Luan, and that really sort of turned, has evolved how I am as a leader, and how I think around building teams, and evolving teams, hiring and developing the best, and that real customer mindset first, and working back from customer problems, and solving that, and then trying to build a really, really great sustainable business.
So that's sort of my career.
Again, as I said, I didn't expect to sort of end up in IT, but I'm very fortunate that now I'm sort of in my 21st year of it.
I love the region. As I said, we at Cloudflare here, we want to build a really competitive, bold, safe, flat culture that solves problems for our customers.
And me today has been influenced by the great leaders, and the great companies, and the great learnings I've had over these 20 years.
It's amazing, and it's so great that you've been with companies that have been transformational.
I mean, not only within the tech industry, but just across the globe.
I think it's awesome. And now you've been with Cloudflare for about six months.
I think you and I started around the same time, and I've watched you in action.
I've watched you be the leader that you were talking about.
So I wanted to just ask you, how are you finding it? Like, what have you discovered, and what are you focused on at the moment?
Okay. So it's six months in, and the reason why I wanted to come to Cloudflare is that I was curious around working for a smaller company.
As I said, Cisco, IBM, they're big organizations, and Amazon, of course.
And I wanted to find a company that was in a really cool market transition.
As I said, just like AWS, Transforming Computing Storage, I really believe we will and are transforming computing, networking, and security.
And then culture is super important to me. And I was really, really impressed around the people I met within the Asia-Pacific organization.
Then obviously, the people that I met in San Francisco, and obviously some really great opportunities to spend time with our founders as well, and Matthew and Michelle.
And so that really sort of got me excited around the opportunity ahead.
Similarly, I actually, at AWS, I found out about Cloudflare based on some business that Cloudflare picked up from some meaningful enterprise customers that AWS had.
And I was very curious, and I spoke to these customers, and they were very impressed around the commitment, the pace of innovation, the willingness of the teams here in APAC to roll up the sleeves, and the onboarding experience they had.
And obviously, some of the results I was seeing from moving to Cloudflare around performance and security requirements.
So six months in, I will say we're building. We've got a huge opportunity.
We've got a market the size of EMEA, but we're not yet delivering the results of our EMEA colleagues.
I'd say I'm focusing on people, number one, so developing the right people within.
Then also trying to attract talent and develop talent within for where we want to be in two to three years' time.
And that talent is leveraging skills that have done it before, or skills that are curious, or skills that are bold, skills that are authentic, skills that are competitive, have a great energy.
So people is really, really important. Then obviously customers.
We have historically been a mid-market digital native. They're a really great free-tier, self-serve ecosystem of more than 4 million customers across the globe.
And we are obviously going up the stack. So I'm helping our organization get a little bit more mature.
We're building a really vibrant partner ecosystem.
We're making sure that our teams are very, very customer-focused and outcome-based driven, aligned with our customers' business priorities.
And we're trying to have some fun as well.
So the region is super dynamic, as you know, Eveline.
You're not better than me. And you've got to be culturally aware of that, of the nuances.
So we need a diverse team. We need a team that can handle that diversity on a daily basis.
And as I said, we've got a northern star where we want to be in two to three years' time.
We will be the most recognized and trusted cloud -based network and security company in the region.
We'll be delivering great things to our customers.
We'll have really trusted partner relationships. We'll have a really strong team that is bold, is driven, is motivated, and most importantly, has fun and trust with each other.
And I truly believe that. And I'm super happy that you and I are working together and building out and working on that same goal and that same mission because I really think we can do it.
And I'm glad that you're talking about the region and how diverse and nuanced it is.
So let's talk about that a little bit.
It is diverse and it is nuanced, but I believe, as you do, that it is the most exciting region.
But of course, with the diversity also comes the challenges, which I feel is actually part of the reason why it is an exciting region.
So can you tell us a little bit more about some of the key challenges businesses and organizations in Asia-Pacific are facing, especially now as we are navigating our way through these interesting times of the pandemic?
This pandemic that continues to go and throws more curveballs.
How many quarantines have you been in?
I'm actually, I have to admit, day 10 of my third hotel quarantine of 2021.
So there you go. I'm not sure if it's any sort of record you should be proud of, but I'm on the downward hill for this third round.
And I'm really looking forward to getting back out and getting some fresh air in Singapore and seeing customers and partners and obviously the team and most importantly, my family and friends.
But yes, look, it is what it is. And you just got to, you know, as I say to all the teams, make sure you spend time to get your energy, find time in these crazy times to turn off your laptops, turn off these video calls and down tools and refresh yourself.
But I suppose some of the challenges we're facing and we're trying to help customers solve is that obviously, you know, there's challenges in connecting and securing users and workforces, especially with the distributive workforce without losing visibility into the use of online activity, right?
So leaving their networks vulnerable to data breaches and malware or losing productivity, latency and performance issues.
As I said, performance, scale, security is really, really the cornerstone to this huge platform capability that we provide.
Customers in the enterprise, public sector, digital native, SMB spaces across all parts of APJC.
Obviously, there's difficulties transitioning to this hybrid working environment.
With some organisations across the region not fully prepared to move to a hybrid working environment in a post-pandemic world.
So we're helping them get ready for that and be secure and scalable.
And then, you know, unfortunately, regardless of readiness, cyber threats are still prevalent.
So in APAC alone, as I said before, we blocked 1.2, actually I didn't, 1.2 trillion cyber attacks in Q1 2021 versus the 87 billion cyber attacks we're protecting daily.
And then the other interesting dynamic, and again, which is one of the cool things about APJC, is all the differing regulatory requirements.
So, you know, there's differing regulatory requirements in South Korea financial services.
I experienced that at Amazon Web Services and now experiencing that now with Cloudflare.
Or if you think around Malaysia, where, you know, Petronas is such a big part of the GDP there, and there's some regulatory requirements around upstream oil and gas workloads, or various government public sector requirements that differ between India, Hong Kong, to Australia, for example.
So, you know, there's some of the things and our edge network and, you know, having innovation closer to the customer and allowing them to build on top of the capabilities that we're trying to help our organizations tackle and ultimately solve securely with scale and stability across the region.
And so, I mean, there's obviously, there's a lot of these challenges and it's different across each and every market in the region.
So, it means that there really is a lot of work that goes into helping our customers and helping to solve their problems.
And so, in order to do that, it really is important to have a great team.
So, let's talk about that.
What can you say about Team Cloudflare? Well, we're north of 250 strong now, Luan.
I'm super, super proud of that. You know, I love the team. You know, six months in, I need to thank my team for being so welcoming to me and helping me get up to speed and thanking Matthew and Michelle and Chris Merritt, who's our chief revenue officer around sort of, you know, ensuring that I have the time to understand the culture of Cloudflare and what makes the company beat.
But we're a team and we're building a team and we're bringing people in that obviously, first and foremost, have the right sort of energy and that we trust.
Okay, that's really, really important, both trust internally and trust externally when we're representing a company to our customers and partners.
You've got to be highly motivated.
Okay, we're a hyper growth company. As I said, we want to build a better Internet.
That's a big ambition and we will do that. And we've got big growth aspirations around how we want to evolve this region.
So, if you're not motivated, then you're going to have challenges.
Secondly, as I said, customer focus.
So, passionate about our customer successes and always thriving to get better to deliver that for our customers.
Need to be able to build, you know, I learned a lot of that from Amazon, but it's very true.
We are a smallish organization, you know, so some of the systems and processes and mature and operating models that people would have from other more old school or bigger organizations are probably not here in Cloudflare yet, but we are building that.
So, you know, you can't just wait.
And then, as I said, we want to do a safe environment.
That means that people can be bold, you can take calculated risks, and I'm all for failure.
I celebrate failure, but we've got to learn from that failure. And assuming you're thinking around a customer first, I'll protect our employees so we can continue to be bold, continue to take risks, and to continue to innovate within APAC, which is a great sort of necker of different opportunities that hopefully we can leverage and make into scalable opportunities for Cloudflare and for other organizations in similar industries.
Fun, super important. You know, I love to have fun.
I love my teams to have fun. You know, you spend so much time with your work colleagues, either virtually or in person, also in the old world, that if you're not having fun with people, then that is really hard to get out of bed and be motivated to come back and go again.
And then obviously, talent within.
It's super, super important, even though when we're thinking two to three years out, you think about what talent we have that we need to develop and ensure they've got great careers at Cloudflare, and they can really see themselves being challenged either with lateral or more senior roles.
But they're, as I said, they're being challenged by their colleagues that are continuing to learn.
And, you know, that's super, super important.
And then some of the initiatives we're doing here in the region is to bring in young talent, right?
There's nothing better than having young talent.
They often show you up, they often make you think differently.
And so we're the first in Cloudflare globally to build an associate SE program.
We have a new SE leader in Steffi Barnett, who came across from Salesforce very recently.
She was running their emerging tech practice and is now our head of solution engineering.
And it was something I was really passionate about doing.
And Steffi came in and bang, we got it done very quickly. So we're piloting with our associate SEs out of Singapore.
We're going to expand that soon into Australia back half of this year.
Then I look forward to expanding that into Beijing and host that, no doubt, very successful pilot.
We're hoping that that will span across all of APJC and also go global.
So there's some of the things that we're thinking around from a team dynamic.
And, you know, as I said, talent and people is my number one priority.
Great. And I love the SE program. I think it's really awesome.
We bring a lot of young talent in. They definitely bring a lot of energy into the team and obviously also bring a lot of fun.
I think one of the other things, if I may just add to what you're talking about is, like, one of the things that I really love about the team at Cloudflare is that everyone just sort of always happy to help out.
And, you know, if you ask someone, you know, a question or ask for a favor, request for something, they're always trying to help out.
So with me, like same to you, six months in, I'm also trying to do the same thing with all the new people that have come on board.
We've got so many new people that have joined us recently.
So I'm also trying to do my bit to sort of pay it forward, you know, because I have all these people that when I joined helped me out.
So I'm trying to pay it forward by also doing the same to the new people. And it's really nice and it's really exciting and sort of builds a really good community around us in the not just in the region, but also globally.
So I think it's great. Can I just add one more thing?
And that's a really good call out because I just think about, you know, the culture we're trying to build in APAC and obviously in Asia, Pacific, Japan, and greater China, some areas traditionally are very hierarchical cultures.
Now, we want to respect that, Luan, but at the same time, we want to, I suppose, respectfully challenge that as well.
So we do want a very flat culture.
We do want, you know, I've got an open door policy and, you know, I tell all the new hires when I meet them every few weeks that, you know, if there's something that you need to move on quickly and there's some internal boundaries and please just reach out and let's get going.
So, you know, I'm borrowing from Amazon that bias for action and a customer first mindset that, you know, I was really learnt over the last five years working there.
That's something that we really want to promote within our, with our teams as well.
That's great. And I think like, Noah, there's a lot of people that are watching right now who, you know, might be looking or might be interested to join our team.
So for those that are interested, can you talk a little bit more about, you know, our hiring philosophy and, you know, maybe talk about what kind of people we're looking for, for our team?
Absolutely. So what I would recommend to anyone that's curious about joining Cloudflare, and curiosity is a very, very important trait.
We are fast growing and therefore need to be adaptive.
Check out Cloudflare TV first because Michelle, one of our founders and our group COO and Janet, our chief people officer, they've got a really cool segment around our hiring philosophy and Cloudflare.
And to provide some insights without having to watch that segment, but we do run a very deliberate process.
And we're very meaningful at Forflare and our hires.
I actually had 17 interviews, not to scare everyone, and I wouldn't expect everyone to have as many interviews as I did, but it was a really great experience because at the end of those 17 interviews, they knew me very well, and I knew them very well.
So it's a you know, I therefore had a lot of data points and anecdotes, feel very comfortable around my decision.
So in the sense that we are deliberate, we want to give interviewers and candidates time to think and process on the hire.
So there are two things we have in place to make sure the process happens.
So we have debriefs, where all interviewers discuss each candidate at the end of the interviews.
And then we have the final calls with senior executives. When I'm saying senior executives, I mean the most senior executives.
So, you know, again, I spent time with Matthew, I spent time with Michelle, our group CTO, and John Graham Cummings.
So, you know, like, I think that's a really, you know, really special thing about Cloudflare.
You know, now we're 2000 plus people that we're still doing that.
And, you know, I think we're hiring for the future, where we're looking into candidates potential, in addition to the fit for current business needs.
And I'm very, very firm, don't rush hiring.
People are our most important ingredient and hire for where we need to be in two years time.
And as I said before, don't forget around talent within, because talent within is super, super important.
And that's ultimately where the culture comes from.
And then we just add on that when we bring in new talent.
What about, so what are the kinds of people we're looking for?
Like, what should their qualities be?
What kind of qualities should they possess? Again, like, you know, I'm completely aligned with that.
If I think about our co -founders perspective, there's three key qualities.
One is empathy, you know, and as you go up, any sort of organization, IQ becomes less, and EQ becomes more important, right?
Curiosity, we talked about that before, especially in a fast paced environment, and ability to get self -answer ownership, rolling up the sleeves.
And as I said, that is super, super important.
We're not perfect yet. We're striving to be perfect.
So you can't just wait. So you need to just show some ownership and get stuff done.
And so there are a lot of openings at the moment. Are there like any specific openings that you want to highlight?
Like any important roles that we have?
We have over 60 openings currently across APJC, which is super exciting.
Like, you know, the breadth and the life that new hires can bring into this company is great.
And every few weeks, you get time to spend with 10 to 12 new hires every three weeks, which is super, super cool.
So we're actively applying roles across Australia, China, China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, so greater China, Japan, and Singapore.
You know, specifically, we have 27 openings currently for account executive roles, business development representatives, for solution engineers, and for custom success people, the people that are making our customers successful and ensuring that we're earning trust with our customers.
So we build relationships that outlast all of us in these virtual worlds today.
Okay. We've got marketing lead opportunities in greater China and Japan.
We're building out a finance org to keep me under control in APJC. At the moment, we're the leader for that.
And very importantly, and again, because it's dynamic region, we're also applying for a public policy leader as well, which I'm super excited to work with me.
As I said, we tackle many sort of interesting curveballs and opportunities and having public policy leadership within the region is super important.
And so for those that are interested, I think all they need to do is go to Cloudflares.com slash careers, and they can see all the relevant openings.
And just feel free to apply. I know we're down to our last two minutes, Jonathan.
It's been a great conversation. So I think we can end it off by talking about, you know, when we're building the team in APAC, what sort of opportunities for growth do you see?
I know there's a lot, but if you can highlight just some of the opportunities that you see in the region, not just for us as a company, but also for our employees, and obviously for those that potentially become our employees.
Yeah. Okay. So look, obviously we've got a mission to build a better Internet.
We've got a vision in Asia Pacific to the most trusted, innovative, recognisable cloud-based security network provider in the region.
And from a people perspective, some really great opportunities.
So it's really cool. You get to work with homegrown companies that go global.
So I think around tier one unicorns, such as Canva in Australia, or the other organisations like Katmandu out of New Zealand or Mahindra Indra out of India.
So working with these organisations have been super successful that have spawned from the region and now global icons.
Again, you get to work with customers and partners across multiple industries.
So financial services, natural resources, telco service providers, gaming, e-commerce, automotive, public sector and government.
You know, we've got active and incumbent customers there, which is super, super exciting.
And there's a tremendous opportunity and growth to expand as only 50% of the population is now online, right?
So, as I said, we need to protect this online presence for 50% of the population and as it grows.
If I think about retail, 75% of retail, two thirds of online growth come from Asia Pacific.
And again, these percentages are only likely to increase more organisations shift their operations online.
And, you know, multi-cloud is super important. So, you know, Cloudflare itself has this capability to help organisations manage those complexities with a single control plane.
So, you know, that is something that's really, really unique to us from a security perspective and a great opportunity again to work with a range of customers.
And finally, and most importantly, this huge career growth opportunities.
As I said, I'm very passionate about our team, very passionate about where we want to get to.
We want to have fun. We want to be bold. We want to take risks.
We want to celebrate successes and we want to deliver great things for our customers.
And the best part, Luan, we're just getting started. So I really enjoyed our discussion today and really looking forward to the rest of careers day today and seeing the rest of my team talk about the opportunities ahead for Asia Pacific.
It was great chatting with you, Jonathan. Thank you so much. I'll see you in the office.