*APAC Careers Day* Innovation & Success in ASEAN
Steph Barnett (Head of Solution Engineering, APAC), Anqing Jiao (Customer Solutions Engineering Manager, APAC), Jobs Catud (Manager, Customer Success), Nerio Musa (Customer Support Manager - APAC), and Vincent Wong (Accounts Executive) will share about how Team ASEAN operates, and talk about how various teams came together to secure a deal.
Awesome team, we're live. Good morning everybody. We are coming to you live today from a rainy day here in Singapore and I can't wait for you to meet our incredible guests for this Cloudflare TV APAC Careers Day edition.
I'm Stephanie Barnett and I lead our solution engineering organization for APAC and today we're going to be sharing with you our recipe for what fuels the innovation we drive and co-create with our customers, our employees and with our wider communities that we operate in.
So tuning into this session is not only going to give you the edge in the Cloudflare recruitment process but also give you an insight into our secret sauce, what makes Cloudflare an amazing company to be in.
So today we're going to be discussing those four ingredients.
Number one, our hiring process. Number two, our core values that we live and breathe every day.
Number three, our collaborative customer approach and number four, our innovation focused on equality, access and our community.
So kicking us off, we have our incredible Jobs Katud here on the line, our manager for the customer success team here in Singapore.
Jobs, tell us about what was innovative for you in our hiring process here at Cloudflare.
Yay, thank you so much Steph.
Good morning everyone. I am Jobs. I am from the customer success team. I joined Cloudflare four months ago and it has been exciting journey from the recruitment, the training and up to now.
During the recruitment process, I met talented people who are now my stakeholders from cross-functional teams like engineering, sales, support, sales operations and partnerships.
I am amazed by the diversity and inclusivity of the Cloudflare workforce, not just physically but most especially the uniqueness of how each individual thinks and operates.
When I applied for the role, I knew that it was a long shot especially that I came from the travel and financial industry.
But with every conversation that I had, I felt that applicants are assessed not based on where the person came from but instead it is based on what the person can bring to the table, the person's capabilities and the unique talent that that person can contribute to the huge success of Cloudflare.
So why I joined Cloudflare? The short answer is I was ready for a new adventure and to learn new things in a different industry.
And I would like to say that I love how people live up to the company's mission of helping build a better Internet.
We take pride, a huge pride actually, we take huge pride in what we do and the massive impact that we have on businesses and on every Internet user and basically in the community.
So my final word, right, is that every person with smart ideas, innovative thinking and winning attitude is definitely very much welcome to join us here at Cloudflare.
Yeah, that's all I can say with regards to the hiring, the recruitment and the training process that I had when I started.
That's an amazing experience and we are so lucky to have you here at Cloudflare.
You are an absolute ray of sunshine jobs. Tell me, how can a candidate show, let this kind of authenticity and show, bring, like help us see that it doesn't matter where you've come from, you have something incredible to add here at Cloudflare?
Yeah, thank you so much for that Steph. I would say, right, that yeah, just be authentic.
Showcase your strengths and at the same time, just be ready with the projects that you've had in the past and how you are going to contribute with overall success, not just of the company, but of every future stakeholders that you are going to work with.
Amazing. I love that focus on customer success as well.
I mean, that's just, it doesn't matter where you come from, that kind of customer centricity is essential.
Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing with us, Jones.
Okay. Next up, we have Nerio, our incredible head of customer support here for APAC.
Tell us more about how you see our core values, like in action, how we live and breathe them every day here at Cloudflare.
Sure. Thanks Steph.
And jobs, that was really great. So as a hiring manager for customer support, I remember I joined about two years ago and we were seven people in a support organization in Singapore and we've expanded to, we're going almost 40 people now, two years later.
So there's a lot of growth and a lot of fun that's happening here within our organization.
And so jobs touched on diversity as one of the core values.
And I always look for a candidate to exhibit these core values. So another, we're going to talk about two more core values now.
One is curiosity and the other one is the ability to get things done.
So in the support organization, people often think that we're all about just doing customer tickets or answering phone calls, emails, chat, that kind of thing.
But I think there's a lot more to it.
And I want to expose that because a lot of people considering support as a career should know that we do contribute to innovation at Cloudflare.
And part of this is project time and work that we spend on quarterly projects, as well as things that we do internally to innovate, to create tools, to make our jobs easier, to automate stuff.
And we even make simple things, even like a lunch spot that we create so people can book their lunch hours.
And it just makes things easier and smoother for the day as we get along with our tickets.
And other things such as customer focused innovations.
For example, I was on a customer call a long time ago and the customer said to me, look, all our traffic is going through you.
So shouldn't you know when there's something wrong with the things and why should we have to come to you?
And that was a very profound argument. I'm like, yeah, you know what? You're right.
You're absolutely right. So we went away as a support organization and we built in alerting across various steps as traffic gets into Cloudflare and as it exits out.
And we're able to capture problem situations as they happen with customer traffic and then not only alert the customer, but reach out to the customer.
And so by doing this, we've transformed the customer experience of support from a reactive model to a proactive model.
And this has been a huge success within the organization.
So this is an example of external innovation that we've been able to do as a support organization that does more than just tickets.
That's amazing. I feel like that would be so energizing for your team as well, to not just be seen as reactive, right?
Yeah, exactly. And then the third thing is actually support offerings, creating new offerings that customers would want to buy and would see value in.
And so we've taken the same alerting engine and we have applied it to security events.
And as a result of that, we've been able to stand up a security operation center where customers get notification and we reach out to them in case they're being attacked or there's some kind of suspicious activity.
So again, this has come right out of the support team and an example of how we innovate.
So the two most important things, again, going back to core values, just be curious, ask those questions.
Don't be afraid of meaty, complex problems.
Start asking these questions. My favorite question to ask is, so what?
Whenever somebody says something to me, I say, so what? What's the implication?
What does that mean? And the second thing is just learn how to execute and get things done.
A lot of it is about stakeholder management, change management, that kind of thing.
But the more you learn how to do that and manage that getting things done process and to be able to create something and to be innovative, that's what we look for in all our candidates.
And it's just so fulfilling to have that.
Yeah, I love that. So how can a candidate going through the Cloudflare recruiting process show that curiosity?
Because it's really hard when you go through interviews, you kind of get asked the same question, like, how do you help?
What advice would you give any candidate going through a recruitment process of how they can let that shine?
Yeah, I'll go back to my own. I mean, I've been following the Cloudflare blog for so long, and every day there's something new coming out.
I'm like, wow, this is amazing. I didn't even think about this stuff, right? And so research, research Cloudflare, research any company that you apply for, read their blog, watch the videos, look at the products, try to understand what the products do, and come prepared to talk about them.
That shows that you are curious, and you really want to work at the place that you're applying for.
And then after that, also, it's about demonstrating that you're able to do something.
So always have projects that you've done in the past, little hobbies on this.
It doesn't have to be work-related. It can be an example of where you wanted to learn something, you learned something, and then you created something like your own website, or you're playing around with Raspberry Pi, coding, with creating things.
Just show those examples, and bring those up when you talk to your interviewer.
And that just shows that, yeah, you can do stuff. And that's such a huge advantage as a candidate for you.
I love your reference to it doesn't always have to be work-related.
Like, give us an insight into what you like to tinker with when you're not doing work.
I feel that opens up a whole new lens on a candidate and helps you stand out.
It shows your passion, I think. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I love that.
Amazing advice. And thank you so much for sharing that incredible innovation that your team is driving.
Gives me goosebumps. It's so cool. Like, imagine you're at the call phase, your customers are telling you things that we should be doing differently.
Like, you're right. We should do things differently. And we move so quickly that we build this into our business model.
Amazing. I love it.
Okay. Next up, we have Vincent, who is our amazing Head of Sales for Singapore Malaysia.
Love the wave. Hey, Vincent. Tell us, you're at the call phase working with our customers day in and day out.
Tell us about the collaborative approach that we have when we engage with our customers.
Thank you, Steph. Hello, everyone.
And welcome to our segment on innovation and success in ASEAN. And thanks, Nero, for the very good overview of what we are doing in terms of collaboration and innovation.
So I'm Vincent Wong, and I am part of the account facing team in Cloudflare.
And you may have heard from my other colleagues on what we've been doing, and hopefully you are excited by that.
So let me quickly share what we've done recently across the different business units, because without their support, this would have never been possible.
So because I'm on the customer facing team, I have an opportunity to work with different prospects and customers.
And one of these particular customers right now had a lot of requirements.
We did have a solution that will suit their requirements at a point in time.
So in order to work on a deal like that, I reached out to Nero because he heads up the customer support team.
And we had this requirement for a SOC, Security Operations Center.
And later did I know that this was something on his plan, but not for now.
So because of this particular customer, we sort of brought forward the plans.
In fact, Nero was so supportive. We went on a call with the customer to understand exactly what they needed out of this service.
What is it that they lack?
What were they receiving? And so that we can align exactly what we have, especially for them.
And this gives us a couple of insights into what should we be building for our customers out there?
What is important to them? What should we then help them monitor?
How do we make it successful? How do we collaborate, not just internally, but also with a customer?
So that was a really good experience.
And I was really surprised at the amount of support that Nero took out of his busy schedule to talk to a prospect at a point in time.
They are not even a customer yet, but investing time to figure out what the market wants and for us to build accordingly.
In the long term, we'll be competitive in that space. So at the same time when we were doing this, my pre -sales colleague was really busy with the proof of concepts that he's running with the customer.
And there were a lot of queries.
We were responding to a lot of ad hoc questions. It took a lot of time to pitch.
And I remember at one point in time when we were sort of awarded a contract, we had a lot of colleagues from pre-sales pitching in to help this deal because it is so huge.
And I get the feeling that we just wanted to do this as a team, regardless of what it is, to make the customer happy, to make the project successful, to have this logo that we can talk about and to have this sense of achievement that we did something that has never been done before.
And that's just great teamwork.
So it got to a point where management was also involved and we had one of our executives in the US joining us at midnight his time so that we can do the customer presentation.
That was just amazing. And that executive, he was head of our engineering team.
So the customer heard it directly from our engineering team.
And I didn't even expect for our colleague Usman to call for a debrief meeting after we have done this presentation with the customer because it's certainly past midnight his time, but he took that effort, the time to give us some summary of action items, a debrief to make sure that the accounting feels okay with what we have talked about.
And that was great. The follow through was great. So that's what I experienced in this particular deal.
And at the same time, without marketing support, with all the relentless campaigns that we have out there, the different touch points where the customer was exposed to before they contacted us.
So it's one big ecosystem. And that's just one example of the collaborative work that we have done within Cloudflare to help us win.
And I love, there's so much I love about that story. It's the fact that there's none of this, like, this isn't my side.
It's everybody working as a team. And it's from every single layout within Cloudflare.
We've got our head of infrastructure.
We have neuro head of customer support. We're all kind of banding together.
That's absolutely amazing. Now, Vincent, I have a question for you because I'm trying to figure out how, how does it, how does a candidate, because, you know, when you ask the question of like, how do you collaborate with others?
People just go like, yeah, really well. Like, how, how do you suggest our can show how well they collaborate with one another in a really meaningful way that helps them stand out?
Yeah. So especially in the interview process, it's, I find it challenging sifting through all the CVs.
So it's very important to have a discussion with the candidate to understand exactly what they're doing in their role.
And based on what I hear from them, I'll ask them to give me some situations and examples where they have shown collaborative effort within the team.
Because as you would have understood by now, in Cloudflare, I think when, when we go after a particular opportunity from a sales perspective, we need everybody's help.
And I really believe that, you know, it takes everybody to, to pitch in, in order for us to win as a team.
And I don't just want to win as a team on the customer side.
I want to ensure that they are well taken care of, you know, from the pre -sales process to ensure that, that we definitely can meet their requirements and to exhibit us being able to deliver on what we sold them ahead of time.
So for, for an interview session, because if you are on the sales team, which is really the customer facing team, the need to work internally is also very important, right?
So across our legal, colleagues in legal, our sales operations, a lot of the due diligence stuff that, you know, the sales person would need to put in place.
And, and that helps everybody in terms of how do we engage pre-sales, post-sales, et cetera.
So it's important to make, make it work for everybody in the team. And that's, that's what I would advise the candidate to exhibit, to, to talk through what are the situations that they're, and how have they collaborated with their teammates in the past?
I love it. And, and your approach really, I mean, you are talking about, you know, when we, when we help our customers, we often think, you know, it's, it's pre-sales, it's sales, it's post-sales, but when you bring in parties like legal as well, you definitely have to show that level of empathy of like, I don't think any of us have legal training, but there are very critical legal pieces we need to understand.
So coming with that mindset of empathy and seeking to understand sounds really important in that process as well.
Okay. So I'm going to pause our program for the moment because we have a, a question from one of our amazing viewers.
I'm just going to read this out. So we have a question from Rashika Kapoor.
So I'm based in Singapore, have an international MBA and over 15 years of business experience, experiencing the life sciences industry.
So first of all, congratulations and well done. What an awesome and fascinating background.
I'm curious to understand how does CloudClearview experience hires who don't necessarily have tech industry background?
Now jobs, I'm going to hit you with this first and then open it up to the floor as well, given your amazing background.
Yeah, thank you so much. And that's a very good question.
Yeah. Coming from my own experience, I would say that CloudClear is an equal opportunity employer.
We value the experience that each candidate has, but then what we are also looking for is what you could bring to the table once you joined our team.
So it would be good if you could showcase during the interview, because you're definitely going to meet a lot of people from different teams doing different functions, because that is for you to prove what you could contribute to the overall success of the business out of each individual.
And at the same time, it is also for you to prove that, yeah, it's not just about the experience that you have, regardless whether it's tech industry related or not, but with regards to your mindset, it's also very important with regards to how you think, what are the ideas that you could come up and you could share to the team for us to have to be innovative, right?
Yeah. Because at Cloudflare, what we are really looking at is different individuals with unique ideas.
And at the same time, with innovative thinking for us to succeed.
We don't want same people wired at the same way.
Yeah. Because we want people who are, who's going to bring us to a different level of success.
100%. I totally agree. Opening up to the floor, anyone else have anything they want to add?
Yes. I mean, I'm sorry. We're all so passionate about this.
I was just going to say that I always look for people with potential. So it's not about what you what you know.
And technically, we have a big training program, like 16, 20 weeks of training that we put people through from technical training.
But I look for potential. And the best way to demonstrate that is to show learning, show, talk about how you've learned something in the past, talk about things that demonstrate your critical thinking, your ability to break down complex problems into simpler ones, and then find the right path to take to solve the problems.
So it's all about showing that you have that potential. And then it's worth the investment that we do in terms of training in terms of effort to bring you up to speed technically.
So technical background is not important at all, to a certain extent.
And we've had people from hotel management, from flight attendants, from all sorts of backgrounds come to support and succeed.
Yeah, so I would also like to add on to that.
So recently, I have been on an interview panel for one of our roles that we're looking for.
And the candidate came from a vertical that's totally different from us.
She was in financial services, and she is doing compliance, and specifically in treasury trading.
So every day she works with a global team.
And by 1pm Singapore time, she needs to make sure that the bank is not exposed to a risk, you know, that positions has been taken and not overly exposed.
So the kind of pressure that is required for a role and the EQ required to reach out to all these stakeholders in order to resolve an item before it blows up, I think that's very important.
You know, totally not within the tech industry, but having this mental mindset and this capability and the ability to tough out a very short timeframe kind of a working condition, right?
I find it to be very useful in any organisation, not just Cloudflare, right?
And the ability to push through and work it through and get to the result that you want to.
So basically, you know, getting work done, basically being curious about how you can value add to the process and to make more, well, work better within all the different stakeholders.
So she's one of the interviewees that I gave a super high thumbs up.
And I'm glad to say that, you know, she was offered the role, and she'll be starting, I think, sometime next month or something like that.
So that's just one recent example.
So we don't specifically need to really look at, you know, whether you're in the industry or not.
But like what a lot of the panelists has been talking about is the diversity and the experience that comes.
Amazing. I can't wait to meet her as well.
You'll have to introduce me to her, Vincent. She sounds amazing.
And I love that focus you have on that strength and that resilience base. That's something that is degree background agnostic, but it is so incredibly important, especially in a company like Cloudflare in our trajectory of growth at the moment.
Amazing. Okay, so bring it home. Something that really drew me to Cloudflare was this focus on we are mission-driven, we are purpose-driven to build a better Internet and build a better Internet for everybody, which really shows the fact that innovation doesn't always have to be profit-driven.
Anqing, tell us a little bit more about how Cloudflare approaches innovation that doesn't just benefit our customers and our employees, but also our wider community.
So my name is Anqing. I'm part of the APAC Customer Solution Engineering team at Cloudflare.
So as what Steph mentioned, at Cloudflare, we believe innovation is not just profit-driven.
We believe that innovation can be driven by, for example, social responsibilities as well.
So in February this year, Cloudflare launched a project called the Project Failshots, which is a program that sort of gives you one of our products free of charge to any government or healthcare organization that's doing the release of COVID-19 vaccine.
So actually, so since February, we've seen a good number of participants in this project.
So to date, we have helped more than 100 customers across more than 10 countries to schedule approximately 100 million vaccinations.
Can you say that again for me? How many? 100 million vaccinations.
So in the ASEAN region, we have worked with a lot of local governments as well as healthcare organizations to ensure the success of COVID-19 vaccine distribution as well.
So what happens during the vaccine distribution is that the moment the vaccine gets released, you would see a huge spike of traffic to your website because everyone within the first 10 minutes, so millions of people just connect to your website and try to register their vaccination.
So it's more almost like a DDoS attack or an attack for most websites.
So a lot of these organizations, they don't prepare enough computing or networking or application resources to handle such spike of traffic.
So what happens is that when a huge spike of traffic comes in, it very quickly overloaded the application and then the websites gets crashed.
And also COVID-19 vaccines is so important for people nowadays.
And the people just gets really anxious if they couldn't really load the site properly.
So what they will do is that they will just refresh the webpage and which cause an even higher load to the website, which make things just even worse.
So how did we help with that? So seeing the huge demand from the COVID-19 vaccine sites, so Cloudflare, the organization itself has decided to develop a product called the Waiting Room.
So it is used to control the website traffic or application traffic surges by offloading your visitors to an online queue.
So by doing this, so Cloudflare ensures the load to origin server is very reasonable, no matter how much the end users traffic are.
And so how did my team or our team help me with this project?
So with the request from these local healthcare organizations, so our team, the customer solution engineering team, we're jumping and then we talk to these organizations.
So we understand what is reasonable workload to their websites, how much traffic they're expecting.
And then we work with them to put the right configuration or customization of the Waiting Room products we have.
So we help the customer or we help these organizations define what is the right queue size and what is the right queue timing and what is the right page they want to display to the end user.
And besides that, we help them tune their security settings and performance settings to ensure their sites has the best user experience and also is resilient when they're under attacks during this vaccination release.
So that's my experience on how the innovation is driven by a nonprofit initiative we have in Cloudflare.
That's incredible, Anqing. And how brilliant for your team to also kind of be there in the, at the coalface on the ground, helping each one of these not-for -profits who would often not have a lot of expertise on like load balancing their websites and their applications to provide these essential services.
So that's amazing.
So how can a candidate, Anqing, show that they care about not just profit driven, but also that we care about the communities and the environments that we operate in?
What would you recommend they do to share this passion with us? Okay, so I think there are a few things.
So, you know, of course, you know, when we, I guess for all the people, you know, one thing, the first very important thing, you know, you can certainly join my team or our team because, you know, our team works really closely with these customers.
So I highly encourage you to just, you know, go to careers at Cloudflare.com and, you know, look for this role called customer solution engineering because, you know, we are the team that sort of, you know, being the technical advisor, you know, throughout a customer or the end user's lifecycle.
So we are, you know, product expert. We leverage our knowledge to ensure the customer understand and utilize the Cloudflare platform to its full extent.
So that's, you know, absolutely the number one thing I ask people to do. Okay, amazing.
Thank you so much for sharing. We have had a late question come in and I'm really keen for us to answer it.
I'm going to summarize it really quickly.
Is there opportunities for candidates, you know, of different age groups, middle age, whatever, to start a new career with Cloudflare as technical support due to their passion in infrastructure who don't have coding experience?
What's your advice, Nereo? Yeah, I mean, absolutely. We never, ever, ever look at age or anything like that during our process at all, during interview process.
Of course, you're welcome. I mean, if there's an opening that you see that you're interested in, just reach out, reach out, put an application in, and we'll get you through the process.
Again, it's all about your potential and your passion and your critical thinking skills and your communication skills.
All that's far more important. The training part we can provide.
And yeah, that's not a problem at all.