Originally aired on June 3 @ 3:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT
Join Amy as she provides you with a sneak peek into how the Cloudflare Team has been doing with the transition from daily office life to working from home. How is the team adapting to the shift? What do they miss and not miss about office life? What snacks are they eating? How has it been sharing a workspace with family or housemates? Tune in to find out!
Good morning. Welcome to Home Office TV. I'm Amy Bibeau and today we have Darrell Deams with us. Darrell is on our finance team in Austin. Welcome, Darrell. Thank you. Thank you. Excited to be here. I would say I'm part of the finance team in Austin, but I'm in Houston, Texas. Okay, right. Sorry, I misspoke. He's a remote employee who doesn't want to be associated with Austin. He was able to stay in Houston. Yeah, Austin's weird, but I'm going to let him stay weird, but I'm going to keep maintaining and representing Houston while I can. But I'll be in Austin all the time, so whoever's out there, they'll always see me. Great. Well, and welcome to Cloudflare. So you're a new hire. You were brought on just very recently and in the middle or hopefully towards the tail end of this pandemic. And how has it been going for you? How is it going working from home? You know, things are going okay so far. You know, I would say it's extremely different starting a new company in this pandemic, especially since I came from an organization where I was there for almost 18 years, so I knew everyone. Coming over here, it's very unique because I'm not able to meet those individuals like I would if I was in an office. I can easily go inside of a break room or hey, if I have to go get something off of a copier, I can easily just see someone and introduce myself. So things, they're going. Things have been fun, but I would say it's definitely really different and unique. Right. So what have you found as you've just been brought on, like what have you found has been the best way to connect virtually with your teammates? Is it just with meetings or are there other things that are happening that are set up that allow kind of that semblance of organic connection? Because I think that's the one thing that everyone is really missing at this point, like being at home. We just want to like organically like run into our buddy while we're getting a coffee and you know, and like connect with a live human. So what has been the best way that that's happening virtually? I'll say honestly, chatting. Chatting via Google Chat or even just jumping on the call with someone really quick, say hey and let's just connect really quick and just talk it out. But I'm a silly person, so I like to send gifts and things of that nature. And we need that, you know what, we need to have that upgraded and some sort of like update to get gifts added to Google Chat because I love to send gifts and just little silly messages to individuals, just sort of like just show my personality. But really just connecting with them once a day, blasting off a quick message, good morning, good afternoon, have a good evening. Simple little words just to sort of kind of keep that connection with everyone. That would probably be my primary form of communication. And then obviously we're going to have at least a weekly touch base with the members on my team, therefore we can always stay connected. Right, right. And then our org, you know, the finance org does those little, you know, kind of like lunch things where we like our happy hours, which is how we met, you know, and that's how you got to be on my show. Like, like, you know, so there's like some good things happening like through the planning. I, you know, I think that our team or our larger organization, the finance team has taken it seriously, you know, and try to figure out a way for people to connect. So they kind of started doing these like, you know, those like lunch or happy hour signups. And that's been fun for me because you get to meet people who are on different teams because my team is small. I have this very small team. I'm on the office team and, you know, they don't, the facilities people are spending money, we're not making money. So we're, there's just a few of us. But you guys, you all are the fun ones. So you're all the fun ones. You're the individuals that everyone, everyone should know because you can make things happen. And in addition to that, you also know everybody. So, so you're a small, but powerful team, I would say. I miss that, like knowing everybody from being in the office, you know, cause we used to go in and like you're, I was at the front desk and so you see all the people and, you know, I mean, especially if they order a lot of packages, you know, I don't miss that. I'm not going to lie. Like anybody who's watching this, you know, who you are, if you're watching this there was some, a lot of shopping, like where I kind of want to be like, Hey, you got another package. Are you okay? You know, like it's a lot of shopping. But you know, I'm not a big, I used to do the same thing though. I was that same individual. I would have certain things cause we have a, an RBO here. Yeah. We at T-Mobile, we had an RBO here. That's where I came from. That's why I mentioned that, but we had an RBO. So I would always get things shipped there. Sometimes I would have, you know, things coming from various business partners, Christmas baskets or whatever the case may be. So I can definitely understand. Cause I would go up there and it was, there would just be like a pile of just packages next to like the, the, the main door or next to the elevator. So it was just crazy. People like to have things shipped to work for some reason. Well, I mean, in San Francisco area, it's because there's a lot of package stuff. I get it. If you're not home or they, they, people can't get into your building. So like, I totally get it too, but I, for me, I'm a conservationist at heart, you know? So I'm, I'm always questioning, like, do we need to keep buying things? Speaking of that, like have there been any like positive things that you've seen that have kind of like come out of the pandemic or like anything that you think has been like a win for, you know, the earth or society or anything like that? Oh, well, I think it allowed the earth just to kind of have a breather, right? There's, there's always just constant pollution and all these things going on with people commuting back and forth from work. But I think another thing it allowed everyone just to sort of slow down, slow down, get to know each other again, your family, your friends, people were checking in with each other almost daily during the pandemic, you know, very different from probably when you were going and always constantly busy. So people were doing daily check-ins, being able to meet with individuals. I would say another one is everyone's learning how to use technology now, right? There's a, there's a ton of people who didn't know how to navigate with a Zoom or know how to navigate with Slack. So everyone's really, really learning how to use technology and how to navigate through that whole process. But in addition to that, I think this is really going to help accelerate businesses when it comes to tech, tech, and then also not missing out on potential great candidates, right? Because when you think about it, sometimes companies will say, you know what, we want you, but we need you to move here. Now companies are now saying, okay, we can operate. We know we can operate remotely. So we're not going to allow this individual to pass us up because we're going to make sure this works. So I think it's going to open up other great opportunities for people around the country. And it's also going to allow companies to just have a way better team of, of individuals and diverse individuals around the, around the country, even around the world, because now we've gone to like this remote state and business. Yeah, that's a great point. I think that, that has opened up a lot of doors. I mean, like for you, even, you know, for example, as you, you know, we were speaking and, you know, Cloudflare was recruiting you, they were, they like, nope, nope, nope. But then, you know, eventually, you know, with the remote offer, you know, cause you didn't want to leave, what was it your pool or Houston or? Oh, it was our pool. You know, I, I just built the pool and I was like, Hey, I need at least two years out of this thing before I get up and move. It was just ready right when the pandemic hit. So I was like, okay, there's no way I could lose this pool. But in addition to that, you know, it was just one of those things where I was at my, my former company so long where I started being very comfortable. So when Cloudflare came around, I was like, you know what? I started having all this like imposter syndrome where I just knew everything so easily where I needed to learn something different. I needed to be challenged. So it was great that Cloudflare allowed me the opportunity to be remote and join this amazing team. So I'm very appreciative of that. Yeah, I think it's, it's been amazing to, like you said, not, you know, not the commuting. Like for me, I've never been really a work at home person. I mean, I have, cause I've had my own business. I've done my own businesses from home, but I mean, I've never, like when you're the front, when I was previously the front desk coordinator, it wasn't like when the, when the pandemic happened, I'm like, we don't have a front desk anymore. You know what I mean? Like, but it was great to not commute, but it was kind of like, okay, what is that? What does that look like for, you know, for the job? And like, how do we evolve, you know, that I think we've all been very lucky at Cloudflare that, you know, a lot of companies have had to let go of staff and, you know, the jobless rates have, you know, been skyrocketing obviously. And, you know, I did a lot of hustling before Cloudflare, like just, you know, selling jewelry and being a massage therapist and traveling around the world, you know? And so like when I kind of landed in, in my role here, you know, it's been a lot of stabilization, but then also with the pandemic, I was like, oh my God, I can't imagine if I was still like trying to be like a jewelry vendor, you know, at markets or, you know, when everything's closed. So I was, I've always been very grateful that somehow Cloudflare exists and it like came across my mind. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. You know, I think about the whole time, all the individuals who, you know, were doing what you were doing, you know, independent, self-employed now, you know, the pandemic has put them in very unique situations, but I will say it also allowed a lot of individuals to be innovative because even we had an opportunity to start a business that we probably wouldn't have started prior to the pandemic hitting. So I think, yeah, it was a bad time for a lot of individuals, but it also allowed a lot of those entrepreneurs to say, okay, let's get, let's get really creative here. And they've been very creative to create additional opportunities that I think will even accelerate their, you know, resources or whatever it is that they're doing on a daily basis, even further and faster. So I love it. I love it as well. There's some good and bad to both. I try to look at the more positive rather than the negative with this, with this whole pandemic. Yeah. You seem up, you seem like an optimist. Is that your kind of like general, you know, trajectory towards life optimism? It depends on the topic. It depends on the topic. It depends on the topic, but I would say for the most part, I've, I've really tried to look at things in a more positive light since the pandemic hit, because it just, it made me realize how short life can be. And then it also made me realize how often you didn't enjoy the smallest things, the smaller things in life. Right. So I started being more of a, an optimist as, as time just kind of progressed. But in the past, there was a little 50, 50, you know, it was a little 50, 50. I would say, you know, sometimes I was an optimist and other times I was a pessimist. I mean, there's certain things that you look at and you're like, this isn't changing, you know what I mean? Like, I'm not, you know, like, you know, there might, you know, sometimes we make progress in one area, like a little bit of progress. And then, you know, you see that progress kind of get, you know, like kind of shot down, you know, and so it can be hard to stay positive when, when we live in a society where, you know, there's certain like persistent issues that continue to, you know, challenge like everyone's like credit, like credulousness, like what is going on, you know? I don't want to dive too deeply, but I'm sure we all know, like, you know, we, we know like, you know, what some of the issues, and I think going back to what you were saying about how the pandemic has helped like illuminate people's values more deeply. Like, I definitely think we've talked about that a lot on the show. Like, like people realize like what they really value, like what's really important, like spending time with their family. It's like, sure, my heart is always going out to all the parents who suddenly had to realize what it's like to be a teacher, you know, but then also having that more time at home with your family, you know, not running to your job. I mean, I've always questioned the commuting paradigm. Like, I've always, like, since I was like very young, been like, that doesn't seem right, you know, like, literally, like, you know, like, why? But, you know, I have that question about a lot of things. But yeah, everybody's been able to like, kind of take that deep dive. And I've said on the show, also, like, it's almost like we're going through this kind of collective, as well as inner kind of shadow space, you know, because it's like, all the things that maybe, like, when you have all this time, you know, for me, like alone, or just even with your partner, you know, at home, like on top of each other all the time, like, you're not always in the fun way, but you know, just like, you know, in each other's way. And like, you know, a lot of relationships, you know, haven't even like made it through the pandemic. I have a friend who does family law, and she's working 12 hour days, you know, like divorcing people. But like, through like our own, like societal shadow, where things that have been kind of like, pushed to like the murky bottom, have like, you know, come to the surface. And we've been shining a light on them in ways that I think, you know, have not been happening. And so people have been doing that in their personal lives, too. So that I think, you know, a period of growth like that, hopefully, on the other side of it is going to have, you know, some kind of improvements for the society. Absolutely. No, I agree. You really found out if you truly like that other person or not during the pandemic, you know, I was lucky to have my ring on. But, you know, it definitely allowed us to connect better. Because I would say my previous role, I was traveling three weeks out of a month, sometimes two weeks out of a month, but the shortest is always roughly around two weeks out of a month. So when this hit, this was really a test for me and my relationship, because we haven't been home with each other this long in a couple of years. But we also started to realize like, okay, you know, this is really allowing us to get to know each other all over again. So it was it was great for us. It was almost like you're in this honeymoon phase. Granted, the honeymoon phase only lasted what, till July or August. But it still allowed us to really to kind of see and understand each other a little bit better. So I would say that was probably a positive for me. But I also want to go back to what you talked about when it came to commuting. Because when you there was a study that came out a few years ago, right before the pandemic hit, and it talked about how many hours people would spend just sitting on the road, you know, in traffic going to and from work. And it was like an insane number, I think was like 17 something hours a week or something, something really bad. It varied by city. But now a lot of folks got that time back, and they were able to kind of use it to pick up additional hobbies or just do additional things that they probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to do if they were, you know, sitting in traffic somewhere, you know, coming to and from work. So again, another positive, I look at it and say, Okay, hey, people picked up on hobbies and other things as well. Because they've had some opportunities to kind of take some of that time back. Did you pick up any, any new hobbies in the pandemic? You know what my hobby is? Now this sounds weird, but I like interior decorating. So I'm an interior decorator. And my hobby was very expensive, because I was always finding the need to paint a wall or let me let me do an accent wall over here, or let me go outside and do this. So I did a lot of things that cost a lot of money. But it was fun for me. But then I also did things, you know, I got creative with working out from home, because I was always a huge as I was a gym rat. So I love going to the gym. And I never worked that at home. I was like, oh, it's just a waste of time. So I got really creative. And I started doing a lot of working out from home finding things on YouTube, YouTube, just absolutely the best, by the way. But I would say my biggest hobby that I've picked up on was just doing a lot of interior decorating, doing things around the house, self home improvement type thing. That's fun. I mean, it's nice when you have like a place like that, that you can do that you're like, oh, you know, I have space I can, I mean, in the Bay Area, you know, like, it's just not a thing like to have like a big house, you know, I mean, unless you're just like, very, like one of the very fancy people. But I'm a little jealous of your interior decorating. I started making paintings, I've been doing watercolors and but I don't and going for walks, but I don't think I really like delved super deep into like the serious hobby. I'm where I am. I don't know if you saw this article that came out in the New York Times about like languishing, but that's like the word of the year where we're all kind of in a language. I've been kind of in a languishing stage like the whole time. I'm just like, when is this gonna be over? Yeah, yeah. Next time. Yeah, no, I love to travel as well. I love to travel as well. But next time we do this, you're gonna have to show me some of those water, water paintings that you do. So I have to see how they look. So are they like, celebrities or anything that abstract, abstract? I don't have the skill to create representational objects. Although my friend showed me how to make trees by just making one line with lots of little small lines. So like, you know, I've, I've, I've like, I've learned, you know, trees with lines. But other than that, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, I I'm an abstract color, because I just see abstract art. And I would be like, I could definitely make that, you know, like, like, you think that you're just like, how is like that, you know, painting right there? You know, that's just like splattery colors. Like, why is that? $17,000? You know, like, so, so yeah, our colors was my chance to kind of get into the abstract. I was a jewelry designer for like, 25 years. Okay. And so I'm working with beads and stones. And but the thing with making jewelry is like, there's always kind of a goal. At the end, you're like, you're making something you're making earrings or a necklace, and you're trying to sell that thing. And so there's like a little bit of extra pressure. So for me, like, the watercolor thing was like a way to be creative, but without having to, like have an agenda attached to it, you know, which gives you like more creative freedom, I think. And it's not as messy. You need a lot of space to spread beads out. Yeah, no, I can only imagine. But abstract art also allows you to be creative and explain it, explain that, that painting to someone in a way where, honestly, you can just be BSing the whole time, but they don't know that, right? Hey, you know what, you just really just went in the garage or your office or your room, and you just do a bunch of colors on a canvas, and it looked gorgeous. So you hung it up, but allows you to say, you know what, hey, this here is my thought about whatever it is, the pandemic, or you can just be very, very creative when it comes to abstract art. I'm a huge abstract art fan myself. I don't paint it, but I love purchasing, you know, abstract sort of like canvas pictures. So it's another one of your expensive habits. I was gonna say, maybe I'll see what you have. Maybe you can send me something. Totally. Super on board. Anybody who wants paintings, you know, hit me up at live studio at CloudSlayer TV. So what is the thing that you miss most about like working in an office? So when you were at your last position, were you going into the office all the time? Or were you doing like remote and travel? Or what do you miss most about office life? It was a little bit of both, right? I would say most of it was remote work. Now, I did go into the office. And when I went into the office, I love going into the office because I love talking to everyone. So I would go in and just be silly and tell everyone hello, good morning, bye. But the biggest thing is just having that overall interaction with someone, right? Right now, it feels so weird just being home all by myself. Yeah, I do have an opportunity to interact with individuals like yourself or someone from my team once during the day. But when you're in an office setting, it just allows your mind just to flow and you just to kind of come up with better ideas. Or if you're experiencing an issue, that creativity can come to you so much quicker if you have someone to bounce ideas off of. So I miss actually just interacting with my peers, getting to know my peers, because it's really challenging for individuals to even know your personality when you're remote, especially if they've never met you in person, right? Some people can say, okay, hey, he's a little, I would say, unique or tough with the way he communicates. I'm just throwing out things here. I haven't heard those myself. So just throwing out things. But if you're in person, you'll be able to say, okay, I can read this individual. I know where they're coming from. I know what their intention is. So I miss more so just that overall human interaction and talking with an adult every day. You know, at one point during the pandemic, I was just talking with my kids almost on a daily basis, doing classwork with them. I'm trying to do work, but the next thing I know, I'm hearing YouTube going on in a different room when they should be doing work. So now I'm over there talking with them. So really having that adult human interaction on a daily basis is probably the biggest thing I miss with going into an office. Right. So you can relate to what I was saying about suddenly becoming a teacher. How old are your kids, if I can ask? So I have a 13-year-old and a nine -year-old. Okay. The nine-year-old, I always tell people, if we would have had her first, we probably wouldn't have two kids. She's an absolutely handful. But yeah, I have two girls and they are absolutely keeping me busy and my wife busy throughout this pandemic. So I feel for teachers. I do. I get it. It's tough, right? But it also allowed me to kind of understand additional things and say, hey, I see where they may have an opportunity here or there. So it's also gave us some additional insights into what they may be doing or what some of their challenges may be on a day-to-day basis. So there's, again, a positive that I've seen in this pandemic. And when did the kids in Texas or in Houston go back to school? How long have they been? They've been back in school. I don't think Texas ever closed. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, they went back to school. We had an opportunity to send them back like after nine weeks. So after nine weeks, we sent them back. Yeah. We were like, you know what? You're going back. So, you know, we sent them back. Like I stated, there will be times where, okay, I know you're supposed to be doing some homework and I see YouTube playing or I come upstairs and you seem to be by the restroom sink quite often. So, okay, look, you're losing focus here. And then it's also very difficult for me to focus on my job or be in meetings and at the same time have to make sure that they're set up for success as well. So all those things were very challenging. So we sent them back when school, so I would say August, school started out in Texas in August. And after that second nine weeks, we sent them back to do some in person. And you're like, have fun. Oh, yeah. We've raised the roof on our way to the bus stop. Hey, you know, hey, get on up out of here. Yeah, they seem to be enjoying it. You know, and we've been pretty lucky. You know, there've been a few times where they've had to quarantine because they've been exposed. But for the most part, we've been very, very fortunate. We haven't experienced anything in our household with COVID. And they haven't had any sort of, you know, impact to their personal health as well. So we've been very, very fortunate. I know there's some families out there who haven't been as fortunate, but we were some of the fortunate ones when it came to send our kids back to school. Yeah, that's definitely, you know, the thing is, like, as we're moving through this pandemic and seeing all like the loss that, you know, people are going through, and of course, you know, we never know like any day on this planet, you know what I mean, could be our last but you know, when there's a global pandemic that it definitely hits closer to home and becomes more of a thing I personally, like, never was fearful for my particular health, but you know, always being mindful of not wanting to be like an asymptomatic, like carrier, you know, like and make someone else sick, although I don't have like a circle of like, elderly people that I, you know, I'm connected to like out here. So you know, it was it's not like there's, you know, and I get unfortunate. I'm not like in a position where I haven't been able to see my grandma or you know, because she's already dead. You know, God bless her. I don't know if I was gonna laugh or not. You know, like, your family is a legacy I miss, you know, you miss them. But yeah, it's and I mean, I'm so sad right now for India. So just like sending out like love and vibes, like India right now, India is my like, one of my favorite countries. I've been there like eight times. And when we were seeing, you know, the beginning of the pandemic, I was really worried for India. And then it seemed like it was okay. And then suddenly, you know, they're doing the Kumbh Mela. And I'm like, when I when I heard that that was happening, I mean, I guess I didn't hear about it right away. But when I heard that that that that happened, and you know, and now what's happening with with the caseload, it's just, it's very scary. We're still in it. And I'm personally glad we have different, you know, executive leadership in this country, to, you know, with like, a more compassionate, like, you know, persona, at least. Yeah, yeah, no, I will say there was a there were a ton of tons of companies who really stepped up, really stepped up and they've showed their employees how they feel about them. Right. And the situation that's going on in India is, is just heartbreaking, right? Very, very heartbreaking. I have friends who went over there, and they're still stuck over there. Right. So very, very heartbreaking. families that were impacted, heartbreaking as well. Like I stated, our biggest fear was, okay, we know what we're doing, we're being safe, we're not trying to impact ourselves or other people's lives. But you just don't know what other individuals are doing when we're sending our kids off to school, or when we're, you know, going off to get some food to go, whatever the case may be. We don't know if other individuals were being reckless or whatever, you know, they may have been doing parts us coming into some sort of like, you know, proximity of each other. So yeah, very, very scary times. Very, very, very challenging. But I think we're all going to be better, better people. Now, everyone's going to be better. I think this is made several individuals see life different. Yeah, I agree. I think that, um, you know, obviously, we're at kind of interesting time in our human journey on this planet, like just in the last couple 100 years, like the humans, like impact on the planet has accelerated, you know, to such a level, like, you know, humans are really good at making stuff. But we're not that good at like, I'm making stuff or like, you know, we're just we're just kind of like running, you know, we're like, Hey, let's do this. And then you're like, Oh, why did we invent plastic? You know, and then, you know, plastic is like my nemesis, like, for real, like, it's, it's in all my nightmares. So you save the turtles, save the turtles. The plastic island is like 16 million square miles or something. Yeah, yeah. That's a crazy, like, I can't really comprehend that number. I just I just took an Earth Day quiz. And I don't know if that is really true. But like the size of the plastic is like, we need to like scoop that plastic out of the water. I mean, that has nothing to do with working from home. But you know, it's just my personal agenda. Yeah. Well, at least California, you all have you all are like doing things to, I guess, combat that, right? Because I think you charge because I lived in I lived out in Seattle for a while. And I would go to the grocery store. And they're like, yeah, you want bags? I'm like, yeah. And I got I looked at my bill. I hold on, you charge me for bags in Texas, I can just go and I can fill up one, you know, tomato if I wanted to in the bag, I just place a tomato in a bag, I can get as many bags as I want. So we're definitely not doing our part here yet. Hopefully we will. But I know California and a lot of those states on the West Coast, they're definitely doing their thing. You know, the one thing I was glad about, and a lot of people weren't. Because, you know, you think about the extra plastic from like the takeout and the masks and stuff like that. But you also think about the less plastic from sportball being canceled for a year, you know, because like the sportball stadiums make so much garbage. I'm just shouting it out to you sportball stadiums. Stop making so much garbage, make compostable things, you know, use compostable like in California, we use compostable like in San Francisco, but then you literally you leave San Francisco and you go to somewhere else and you got styrofoam and you're like, why is this happening? So anyway, this is the last like, minute for, you know, last week was Earth Day. And we did some some we have a ERG around the earth and sustainability. So we did some stuff. All right, we've got 20 seconds left. So I just want to say thank you so much. Daryl, it was really nice to connect and welcome to Cloudflare. And I really hope that hopefully soon we're going to be back in the office, you're going to get to meet all the people, they're going to see your amazing personality. No, absolutely. Thank you so much. You were such a very colorful light when I when I met you last week. And thank you for inviting me on. I'm happy to be part of the Cloudflare family. And looking forward to meet you in person as well. So this was fun. Thank you so much. Have a great day. All right. You too. Thank you.