Cloudflare TV

Cloudflare Careers Day: Meet the Product Team

Presented by Isabel Rodrigues, Michael Tremante, Sy Karim
Originally aired on 

In this session you will get to know our Product Team and how they help Cloudflare build a better Internet. Learn more about what the team have achieved this year, the current projects they are working on and their goals for 2021!

Here are a few roles the Product Team are currently recruiting for - more can be found on our careers page:

Find all of our currently open roles on our careers page.


Transcript (Beta)

So we are live, we are on air on Cloudflare TV. So welcome everybody who is joining this session and thank you for being here.

Just to start with some quick intro, this is our meet the product team segment here in our careers day today at Cloudflare.

And the goal is to let you know a bit more about this team at Cloudflare and even to answer some of the questions that you might have.

So we have Michael and Sy to help with that part and if you have any particular questions that you would like to make them feel free to do it.

One of the easiest ways to do so maybe it's by submitting your questions to the email address that we have here in this segment which is livestudio at

So we will try to answer your questions more close to the end of this of this segment.

In the meantime just to start with the presentations.

I'm Isabel for those who are joining now. I'm part of the recruitment team and I'm based in our Lisbon office at Cloudflare.

And with me as we mentioned before Michael and Sy.

So Michael can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your team.

Sure. Hello. Hello everyone. So thank you.

Thank you for listening to us today. My name is Michael Tremante. I'm currently a product manager here at Cloudflare.

I'm based out of the London office with Sy and I've actually been at Cloudflare for more than five years at this point.

So about five and a half years. When I joined the team I actually wasn't a product manager.

I've only been product manager for the past eight or so months.

I actually joined as a solutions engineer and I feel quite lucky because I had the opportunity to work out of quite a few different offices.

When I initially joined the team was a lot smaller and I started out of London.

I managed to work one month out of our Singapore office and then actually more recently even out of our San Francisco office.

So I've been quite a bit around. But more recently yes product manager for the managed rules team which is one of the security products that we offer here at Cloudflare under our web application firewall.

Great. Thanks Michael.

Sy can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your team. Yes. Absolutely.

Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Syif Karim. A lot of people will call me Sy.

I've been at Cloudflare. Let's see. I joined Cloudflare in January 2019.

So that's almost two years now. Unlike Michael I've not really gone to many of the offices.

I've worked primarily out of our London office and my spare bedroom for most of that time.

And during my time here so far worked across quite a couple of our teams mostly focused around some of our security portfolio.

So that being things like the layer seven application firewall as well as the managed firewall.

And I work on one of our other products called Cloudflare Warp which is an application which is available across on desktop on Mac OS and Windows and on mobile on iPhone and Android.

Thank you Sy. Going back to you Michael.

Can you tell us a bit more in a bit more detail what exactly is your job. What you do.

You're at Cloudflare. Maybe some of the challenges that you already had and how it fits in the wider organization.

Sure. Sure. So as I said earlier I'm a product manager specifically for the managed rules team.

And if you think about all the Cloudflare services and products we offer there's quite a wide range of them.

We offer security products for our customers performance products etc.

But if we sort of zoom into the security component when Cloudflare started for those of you who may not know Cloudflare started as a DDoS and WAF mitigation provider for anyone who has a website on the Internet.

Right. And out of the London office most of the engineering and product teams are focusing on our web application firewall.

And as part of the web application firewall one of the core values that we provide to our customers is our you know from all the experience we have from protecting our customers websites we build rule sets and rules and logic that our customers can ideally deploy with a single on off button with a single click.

And myself I'm following that specific portion of the web application firewall.

And overall you know the goal of course is to keep it as simple as possible for customers to use while making it very effective in you know protecting our customers websites.

And as the product manager on a day to day basis I'm sort of speaking a lot to customers.

I'm trying to make sure that what we work on as a team is you know is going to be ultimately useful and produce value both for us and for our users.

But I work very closely of course with Sai on the product design team.

But I'm also partnered with an engineering manager who basically I speak to on a daily day to day basis when trying to figure out you know how the development of our new features and products is coming along.

What sort of prioritization we may want to give to different projects.

And I also partner closely with a delivery manager who is aligned to our team and helps us you know keep on track with all the initiatives we might have.

And the I guess the manage rules is of course the main aspect responsibility that we take care of.

But as you know Cloudflare is growing as we all know.

That's why we're also wanting great people to join us.

But not only the team is growing the product suite is also growing.

So the scope which is something very interesting I think working at Cloudflare sort of the scope is changing and growing over time.

And even the you know my scope as a product manager in the manage rules team is sort of evolving as time goes by.

Right. So yeah that's that's a bit of a deeper insight into into you know where do I fit in the broader organization.

Thank you. I always love to hear a bit more about each person and particularly about the relations between the different teams and how you you connect with each other because in the end of the day I think that we always have something that we share with other teams.

So that's always a point where we will be in touch with a new team.

So for sure. And the funny thing you say that for as a product manager that's a core part of I guess of any PM role is talking to people and to some extent we're we're influencers within the organization.

We need to make sure that you know what we say we need to do our research of course.

But then we need to you know partner with engineering with product design with delivery manager and you know get everyone to buy into the vision they were wanting you know to develop over time.

Yeah that's that's that's right.

And so I know that you already gave a quick intro about when you when you were presenting yourself but I would also love to hear a bit more on your side.

So can you also share. Yeah yeah absolutely. So kind of similar to what Michael suggested about working closely with with other departments and other other folks a product designer works very closely with their product manager and their engineering team.

The way that kind of kind of like to describe it it's almost like the intersection between those two roles the product manager and the engineering team where the product designer tries to balance a lot of the business goals and initiatives that a product manager might bring with what the user's needs and requirements are as well as what the engineering sort of capabilities and possibilities are.

So we try to work closely of translating what the product manager has kind of envisioned and imagines as or has the data behind which suggests an important feature and we try to translate that into something tangible something that the actual customer would be able to use.

And whilst you're doing that it's important to try to create a very sort of slick user experience so that someone can have a very easy sort of transition throughout that journey and hopefully be able to successfully use that product.

And there's some other parts as well.

I try to particularly focus on improving sort of the visual aesthetic of our dashboard as well.

I know it's been our dashboard has been around in its current form for I think maybe since 2014-2015 and it's served us served us very well.

Like the company kind of like how Michael suggested earlier like the company has grown a lot the product offerings that we have has grown a lot as well.

And yeah one of our one of our upcoming sort of goals is to try to be able to improve what the dashboard experience is like to make it easier for folks to be able to navigate across some of our newer products in an easier way.

Sorry I forgot to seems like I was muted sorry.

But yeah it seems like a lot is is going on these days so a lot of opportunities a lot of lots of things to do so it's always very it's always amazing to to understand what's what everyone is working.

And on that topic Sai can you just I was wondering if you could just deep dive a bit more on that and and and and and and tell us about some some current projects goals for the team basically what you are working on and why do you think it is necessary.

Yeah yeah absolutely I guess one of the one of the major initiatives that we have across a broad range of a lot of the products that we have right now is to try to make it easier for folks to be able to make configurations across multiple applications or websites that they might have on Cloudflare.

So we're working closely to try to be able to make that become a reality and throughout that process you go through many iterations of different concepts of different designs validating those with like customers and it's been a little interesting now that we're all kind of working from home as well on on doing a lot of that validation.

Ideally I would love to be able to host sessions in person and be able to get get feedback that way but these days it's it's a lot more video calls which in one sense is quite nice because it enables us to I guess reach out to a broader selection of folks for these interviews that we might not otherwise have been able to do.

But yeah that's like one of the key initiatives that we have right now across a lot of the products that I work on and as well as within the design team.

How can we make it easier for individuals and and customers to be able to apply their configurations across a broad range of applications or websites that they might have on Cloudflare.

And that's sort of the initiatives and goals on on like our core product offering things like the the managed WAF or or firewall rules.

On the warp side we've been we've been working quite closely with one of our other teams the Cloudflare for team team and one of the things that we are trying to enable with that is the the capability for those who have the warp application installed on either their desktops or their mobile phones to also be able to utilize some of the policies or security settings that have been established in their Cloudflare for teams dashboard and enable the the end users device to adhere to those policies and configurations.

So one of the again again broader initiatives that we have with that product is try to bridge the gap between Cloudflare for teams and warp and make that a seamless experience as well.

Okay thank you Sai and what about on your side Michael.

Yeah yeah and well so some of course I work a lot with Sai so some of the things I mentioned are definitely relevant to the manager's team under the web application firewall.

The I guess more broadly a lot of the things we've been focusing on over the past six six to eight months or so have been around trying to improve the the configuration flexibility of the web application firewall.

If you think about it when Cloudflare started we only had a self-service model and you know the customers that would sign up to us were you know owners of small blog sites.

I have my personal blog site is behind Cloudflare.

I don't receive many visits so my configuration is pretty simple but as we've you know there were many many of the initial signups were small community blog size you know local businesses etc but as we've grown we've seen the adoption of much more complex customers you know we're talking about larger enterprises and within a large enterprise there's several teams that might be managing the WAF and each one has their own little requirements so we're we're trying to balance being able to have those complex configurations and support those those high-end customers whilst keeping our dashboard and this is one of the bigger challenges especially between the product managers and product design whilst keeping the dashboards you know very simple to understand and use.

So in terms of current efforts we've we've been doing a lot of work around around that so deployment configuration flexibility and ability to support those those more complex use cases and in parallel of course our core mission in the managerial team is always improving the managed rule sets looking out there for vulnerabilities you know what can we do on behalf of our customers to make their applications better and we've spent a lot of time even automating some of those processes to make sure that if if a hacker finds a new vulnerability that affects WordPress any customer behind us that uses WordPress is automatically protected by Cloudflare.

And I think yeah just to add on to some of what Michael said there like it's really yeah it's important to remember that Cloudflare initially started off with like a core offering geared around single single websites people who have like the maybe individual blogs right and the main I guess I guess the broader sort of idea here was to liberate a lot of the the technologies which large established companies were offering and kind of make that accessible to smaller people maybe one or two person IT departments who are juggling a lot of things right and it's really important to me at least to to remember that history and try to keep a lot of the a lot of the things that we learned there like how to become successful with a very simple straightforward easy to use dashboard and how can we continue to keep those three things apparent as we introduce more I guess like configurability and complexity within the product.

Yeah and I think it's super important to try to balance out like for as many large huge fortune 500 companies that we might get and how complex they might want the dashboard to be of making it easier as well for those who might not be a large company and and trying to manage the fort in a team of two or a team of one even.

Yes thank you thank you both for for sharing for sharing that it's very interesting to hear your point of view and your different experiences and and to better understand what exactly is your job or this is at Cloudflare and on that topic we actually I was looking at the questions that we have been been receiving at at our chat and actually one of our viewers as a question related in particular with product design so elder is asking if you can share a typical day in a product in product design at Cloudflare.

Typical typical day at product design at Cloudflare okay so I probably get online around 9 9 30 at that point it's very much catching up on a lot of the emails that I've gone through across the across the evening it's super important to remember we are a global organization and lots of things happen even when we are asleep so oftentimes when like the European or the APAC teams are offline a lot of the North America teams are still online so first part of the day catching up on kind of anything that I might have missed from the previous part you then have a couple of a couple of stand-ups with a lot of the engineering teams that I work with at that point it's very much supporting whatever is in flight and supporting anything that I need to do with regards to implementation so that could be just double checking they have all the assets that they need reviewing PRs of what's about to be merged sorry that's pull requests for anything that's about to be merged into our sort of main application that has an effect with the UI and then depending on the day I like to sort of break up my day on either meeting with the product managers and trying to get a better insight as to anything that we might need to catch up on with regards to projects that we're currently working on and that could be reviewing recent UI iterations or reviewing recent sort of UX flows and ideas that we might have or it could just be sort of us discussing future ideas for for roadmap and sort of after that I try to dedicate a large portion of my day to just getting heads down and and turning out a couple of designs that I might have the tricky part there becomes and this was sort of mentioned before Cloudflare is a growing organization and we are looking to hire a lot of people to help us with this growth so at the moment there are there are times where I wish I could probably dedicate a bit more time to certain projects but I have to sort of balance that out with the needs of other projects that I have at the same time so there's a bit of a juggling act but in summary you kind of catch up on anything that you might miss you have a couple of one-on-ones with your product managers to review anything that might be in flight and discuss further roadmap items and then you try to block out a decent portion of your day to yeah do the actual work of creating the UIs and creating the the user flows towards the end of the day I might then also meet with folks that I work with who are based in North America and and that could be for I guess yeah to be able to hand over anything that we might have been working on during that day or to discuss products that we might be working on together.

That's a great that's a great overview thank you.

Michael going back to to you and since we are talking about about your jobs I was wondering if you if you could tell me in your perception what makes your job here at Cloudflare different from the from the same role from the same job but in in other companies?

Good question I guess I you know first of all thing to note I've formerly only been a product manager at a fast-paced company such as Cloudflare I have taken on similar roles in other in other realities but much smaller so I guess from my personal experience things are changing fast here for me that that keeps it exciting and I don't think it's something that is easily replicated in many other companies worldwide I mean there are definitely other companies that are growing as fast with a with a very large product suite that's in continuous development and Cloudflare likes releasing products often and new features on a on a very you know recurring basis if anyone listening to us today follows our blog you can definitely see that reflected in the blog and so that's definitely one thing so to some extent some people might find that a little uncomfortable actually but personally I find it a driving force and I it keeps me very excited I you know I've been at Cloudflare for quite a while and I'm still very much you know up to date with everything that's going on in the company and can see myself here for quite some time and the other thing I guess at everyone or what I really much like about Cloudflare everyone around me every colleague regardless of team tends to be first of all bought into our mission as a business but also experts in their area I find that very refreshing when every time I have a conversation with someone I'm learning something that keeps me engaged and I think that's also not something that you can easily replicate in many other places worldwide besides that I personally like the industry we're working in so you know I could be a product manager somewhere else sure but I like cyber security I like the Internet I think it's you know it's had a huge impact in everyone's life especially now during the pandemic right the Internet has been a core component of our lives and I just find the whole subject very interesting.

It's very interesting that you are mentioning that actually Michael sometimes we don't talk about that too much but I think that the business of the company you are in really has a big impact and I think that this is relevant for people who are maybe thinking about changing jobs or thinking about a new moving to a new company sometimes we don't think about that as much but the business of the company I personally think is a key factor that should be considered because it has a great impact on the long term and at least on my side I like to be in a company where I identify with the business so it's very interesting that you are mentioning that.

And if you find what you're even I don't think it matters necessarily what role you're in I could be in the finance department or legal but a bit of the subject is of interest I you know the day -to-day becomes a lot easier and it's enjoyable right.

Of course. Sai do you have anything too that you'd like to to have on these subjects?

Yeah I guess I've worked at a couple of companies before I started working here at Cloudflare and like they either had a single product or at most maybe a few offshoots of that product and I guess because of that the amount of times that you were hoping to see a release or anticipating a release and it got delayed happened quite quite regularly like the rate of change and rate of development of the product perhaps wasn't as quick as some of us had hoped and that's one of the biggest differences that I found here at Cloudflare and Michael alluded to this earlier like we we release product regularly we release product often and yeah the blog is a great plug like it is something that I've found very unique to Cloudflare as well that it isn't sort of used as this sort of quiet PR tool that a lot of other companies sort of use their their corporate blogs as like our blog is almost like a change log sometimes like you can review and see what what aspects of the product look like years ago and then compare that to like recent releases as well so it's super exciting and if you are the type who enjoys to see product and features being released regularly and often I think you are the type that might thrive at a company like like Cloudflare and it might take a bit of getting used to as well it certainly did for me but somewhat to what you both alluded to earlier as well like if you enjoy what the company is is here for you and you enjoy the business like that change becomes a lot quicker within yourself at least that's how I found it.

Okay thanks for for sharing I always find very interesting learning all these opinions so we are now reaching the end of our segment we have about two minutes but there is one last question that I would like to to ask both of you to quickly to quickly let me know so as many other teams yours are also hiring and we we keep growing at Cloudflare so we are constantly looking for for people so I would like considering this I would like to to ask you both what what advice would you give to to a candidate who is interviewing for for your team?

Do you want to start Sai? Sure yeah advice for a candidate who's interviewing for our team try to be very clear with what your input was on a particular project or product I see this happen very often where candidates will present something and I know very well that it wasn't made in isolation what I am curious to understand is what your individual input was try to make it very clear what went according to plan whilst developing that that product and make it clear as well what perhaps didn't go according to plan I am not the type to judge you for the fact that things went wrong I expected things to go wrong but what I am curious to understand and learn about you whilst you're interviewing is what did you do in those moments of uncertainty how did you help drive the product towards what ended up getting shipped and if you thought something could be better what do you think I guess a what do you think could have been better and b what do you think were the things that maybe inhibited your ability to execute on that?

Okay thank you thank you Sai. Michael we are very quickly a few seconds but do your research for sure be honest and candid think out of the box product management is about even sometimes predicting what customers would like to have in their hands in the future and you know be yourself at the end of the day that will make it clear at the end of the day it's not you only wanting to impress us we need to impress you and you know the two sides need to come together.

Thank you so much thank you both it's always a pleasure to to talk with you and thanks for everyone who joined us today stay tuned we have our last session right now which community at Cloudflare see you soon bye-bye