Cloudflare TV

Home Office TV

Presented by Amy Bibeau, Michael Aylward
Originally aired on 

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!

This week's guest: Michael Aylward, ISP Partnerships Manager.


Transcript (Beta)

Well, hello. Okay, so I'm about to be live here. Good morning. Welcome to Cloudflare's Home Office TV, where I talk to our illustrious colleagues about how it's been going, working from home.

We've got Jason Kincaid here, our, you know, very fabulous Cloudflare TV, like, right hand man.

I mean, how do you describe your role at Cloudflare TV, Jason?

I help keep the train on the tracks. Right. Right now, he's filling in for my guest, who's going to be about five minutes late.

So that's good.

It gives us a little time to have a chat. How did it go last week for you for birthday week?

Good question. Still sort of recovering. I slept quite a bit over the weekend.

And I think probably for the remainder of this week, I'm trying to deep breaths, deep breaths.

There's some things to catch up on. But for the most part, you know, it went really well.

So I'm happy about that. A couple speed bumps here and there.

But for all things considered, two thumbs up. And hopefully anyone in the audience is catching those segments too.

I thought it was great. I thought it was like, wow, this is like a preview of like, maybe what this could be.

You know, if we could consistently, you know, have awesome, awesome guests, like all the time, not just for birthday week, you know, like, obviously, we often have awesome guests.

It's just that concentration, the density of awesomeness. It was, it was like a full packed schedule.

And it was like, you know, and so much engagement, I think, from, you know, everyone at Cloudflare, like people were heavily engaged.

And I thought that was really interesting and fun. And yeah, so thanks for all the stuff that you do.

Your role has changed a lot then, has it? Like since Cloudflare TV rolled out?

Yes, but it's always sort of been in flux. I, I have the good fortune of getting to work on a variety of different projects.

Sort of before Cloudflare TV, I got to help out with some of the team stuff, mostly content related is typically what I'm involved with.

So I would say Cloudflare TV, I've gotten to get my hands dirty with more of the tech side of things, which I've enjoyed quite a bit.

Early at the beginning of the year, I helped out with some of the Cloudflare for campaigns work.

And so I, I'm lucky in that way, and that I got gotten to do a variety of different things.

But as I mentioned, yeah, Cloudflare TV is definitely, it's a sort of a new experience for me to say, I really wish Cloudflare TV did this.

And then I can pop over and say to the engineers, what if we did this?

And it takes a little, there's always a prioritization shuffle trying to figure out when, what, when, whatever might ship, but that's been really fun.

Yeah. I think it's been a fun way to, you know, engage, you know, different people from like leadership and different, you know, just anybody who works here, like what, like what a gift to have such an open forum for people to just be able to present stuff to the world, you know?

And again, we don't, I don't still know like the metrics of anybody who's like, you know, watching, you know, this, I always give shout outs to my like imaginary three people that might be watching it.

Cause like, I don't really promote more than three, you know, I don't promote like my show to people.

Like I should probably tell my friends more like, Hey, I have a TV show or whatever, like once a week.

And I think now with that new call-in feature, you know, next Tuesday on Cloudflare TV is my birthday.

And so I might like promote like to my friends that they should call me on my birthday on my TV show, you know, cause that'd be kind of fun.

Yeah. You know, my feeling is I think people are, are sort of getting different things from it.

I should say, I am confident that you have more than a handful of viewers.

We are working on having more detailed metrics, but it's certainly much higher than that.

And I think that in terms of whether you want to promote it, certainly we've seen folks who, who have been able to promote it.

And actually, I know we had a session a couple of weeks ago where there was quite a bit of awareness that it, and the influx of questions we had during that session was unprecedented.

At the same time for people who are still figuring out what their show might look like, or are looking at it, they're sort of getting their chops, you know, as they're, as they're ramping up their skills.

And I think it makes sense. I've certainly done some sessions on here where I was hoping no one was watching, cause I didn't really know what was going to happen.

Sometimes it was a test of tech things, sometimes, sometimes not, sometimes just for fun.

And I think one other great thing about it is it gives people a way to, to interact, to connect with people within the company who they may not otherwise have an opportunity to talk to.

And obviously the viewers are important to that too.

We love having an audience, but I think there's, there's several facets, facets rather, that people can get from this.

Absolutely. I think it's really, it's a fun way, like I said, to engage people.

And like, there's many layers of, you know, engagement that you can have as a host or as a viewer.

I like the new call-in feature.

I have a question for you about the Zoom backgrounds. Doesn't it make you crazy to have your hair disappear like that?

Like, I just, you know, I want to put on like a background, but I just, I'm more, I'm more vain about my hair, maybe.

Or maybe I should be more vain. No, your hair is rocking it pretty well.

Like if we try mine, like I could pretend I'm in Brazil right now.

It's working. I just, I get it. There's something you can tell it's a I had a, the call-in feature, as you mentioned, I was doing a fun call-in session a little while back and someone mentioned that my hair looks like a helmet with the green screen.

And my response was, well, you know what? It's good padding or no.

Yeah. So it was, my feeling is that I guess I just don't care in the COVID era, you know, as long as I'm still in one piece.

I'm just, the way I'm looking at it, I'm like, if I can get through this time, whatever it takes during this period of time, you know, within reason I try to give myself a break.

And so if part of that is like not worrying too much that the, the seams of, you know, right here is a little unnatural, you know, it's a gimme.

And as I mentioned it is good padding.

So one of the I support it. So what was your journey to Cloudflare?

Like, did you used to do comedy? I was never like successful in comedy.

I did stand up in San Francisco, but like, I just hated it so much. Like the I hated going out and hearing everybody's bad jokes, like over and over again.

I was like, wow, I've been going to this same open mic for a couple of years. And all I hear are the same, like 12 people's like same jokes.

And I'm like, how are these people getting booked for shows?

And then I was just like, no, I don't care.

Um, so I will start with the comedy part. It didn't, that wasn't exactly what led me to Cloudflare.

But the comedy stuff. So I, you know, in a past life, I was a tech reporter.

And then after moving around a little bit, I did improv class in New York.

I also did, if you're familiar with Upright Citizens Brigade, I did improv in LA.

And oh, look, we have a new challenger approaches. So I'll finish this question.

And then you can switch over to him. Maybe I'll come back another time.

So the short answer is, I've I have done various improv things. I've done stand up open mics, no one has ever paid me money to hear me tell jokes at stand up, totally get where you're coming from.

You see the same people telling the same jokes over and over again.

And that sort of wore on me a little bit.

But I think the more I looked at them as like a community, and just like everyone's just working on their craft.

And the more I was able to just get over the fact that so many of us were terrible.

And one time, probably the most impactful one I did was when almost everyone had left, I was the last one of the night.

And so I was basically talking to like a room with one person for seven minutes.

And it was so cringey.

But I if I survived that, what can't I survive? So anyway, that's true.

Um, I fell off the stage at a bar down on in on in Soma, like I'm sixth and market name of that place.

Anyway, well, thank you so much, Jason, for filling in here for a few minutes.

And I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to book you on my show. And thank you for all you do for Clubford TV.

And we'll see you later. Bye. All right. Thank you.

Likewise. And have fun. Break a leg, Michael. Thank you. Hi, Michael. Hey, nice to see you.

Oh, my gosh. You got busy this morning. Yeah, man. I'm just trying to do too many things at once.

Good to see you, though. You look like you're standing up.

Yeah, I was gonna get some water. Take care of you. Like, this is what we do. We work from home.

We have to take care of ourselves. You know? Oh, yeah. You know, I was filling out the Cloudflare employee survey, I think yesterday.

I love that survey, by the way, I feel like they do a really good job with it.

And you know, the questions at the end asked, like, what things do you miss?

But you like better about being at home?

Man, I was like, struggling on which ones I liked being better at home.

I was like, well, I guess I've learned to cook a little bit more.

But everything else is dishes.

For you, too. I am constantly battling of the dishes. And I mean, like, yeah, I just there's just it's just like, it's like, it's like it is.

It's like a lot of dishes experience.

But you know, but you do cook more at home. I'm trying to do some more healthy.

Like I'm working on October, like doing maybe a cleanse, starting to make some, you know, more, just like use more discipline in my food choices, you know, and not just like everything about like, well, what's really easy toast?

How much do I love? I love a toast, you know, does it have butter? Great.

Like, that's, you know, I could live on that. Put some garlic salt on it. I cooked, you know, I don't need to eat toast at 11pm.

I'm trying to cut this out. So okay, you want to introduce yourself for our guests or viewers?

Sure. I think I met Amy.

Oh, man, it must have been like, even before you joined Cloudflare as an employee.

I feel like I met you in the office. When I was doing like, I mean, I was I did a couple events before I was.

Yeah. Must have been where I met you. Yeah, you might have seen me in the code check there.

What year was this? Was this 2018?

So yeah, I started in Cloudflare. I started Cloudflare 2018 in September as a contractor.

But then my first like ever, like gig inside Cloudflare was through TaskRabbit.

And I did code check for the 2017 RSA party. And then I did code check for the 2017 Internet Summit.

I wonder if that's where I met you the Internet Summit.

And then and then I did RSA again in 2018. And then I did the RSA, the RSA when we did when Cloudflare did that.

Like a forum for people that were being left out of the RSA.

So they were like, Oh, it's so weird that no women applied to be speakers.

And Cloudflare was like, really? And so then we hosted our they hosted their own separate event.

That was when I am. That's when I met Corey, who was my first boss.

And he was like, thought I was organized enough that he kept in touch with me.

And when Cloudflare had a little opening, they swooped me in. Oh, man, I haven't seen Corey in so long either.

God, I miss seeing people around the office. I know.

Oh, wait. So okay, go ahead. When did you start at Cloudflare? I started in March 2017.

I started like in the entry level sales team. EDR? Yeah, exactly. The so I did that job for about a year and a half or so.

Really loved the team there. That was that was that was what, you know, just sort of drew me to you're muted, you're muted.

Whoops, that's weird. So you love the BDR team? Yeah, I love the team.

They were it was super I had no idea what the job entailed. I mean, I guess I had some idea, but I didn't understand its relationship to the rest of the sales team or the way that the sales team was structured.

But it was just such a good crew, such a such an extraordinary group of young people on that team.

It was it was definitely what I needed at the time, just like a hustling, scrappy, very, like, friendly bunch of it was like a big family.

So that was that was a I had a really good time on that team. I guess I did it for about a year and a half and then joined the infrastructure team in 2018.

And have been doing that since working on on trying to get the best elevatorway pitch to put it on basically getting us connected to ISPs, Internet Service Providers around the world.

So it's it's fun. And how's it been going working at home?

Ah, it's all right. I mean, I used to be really I'm an extrovert.

I really like being in the office just like just just for the pure pleasure of it.

Just enjoy seeing people. But I also find it like way more functional because nothing ever gets done right the first time.

And so when you have to go back and say, no, not quite that.

Can we do this instead? It just takes so much longer because you can't actually tell that someone at their desk.

You have to wait for the person that I see in front of me.

Yeah, exactly. You have to wait until they see the message and and figure that they have enough time to respond to it and then hopefully, you know, understand accurately what you meant.

So it's just I feel like everything takes so much longer remotely.

I think it's probably good for people at Cloudflare who are inundated because it probably protects them from like getting it from all sides.

People just coming up and bothering them all the time.

Like, hey, hey, hey. Yeah. But in my job, I really need to do that.

So it makes my job harder and slower. I think I do it, you know, considerably, but I need to do it because I rely on a whole bunch of people who don't nominally report to me, but I need things from them.

And because they don't report to me, they have other things on their priority.

Anyways, it's harder, like, you know, just from a getting things done perspective.

It's harder to learn things.

So we've had our team has doubled this year. We started the year with five people.

Now we have like 11 or 12 people. You know, not only are we all apart, but they're also in different cities.

There's one more in the DC area. There's one in Austin.

We've hired three more people in Singapore. So the time zone there is brutal, the difference in terms of sort of matching up to be able to speak with them on the phone, even.

So the learning process, I think, takes a lot longer remotely when you can't just go up to a whiteboard and be like, here, check this out.

Here's how this works. Or vice versa. Like, you know, if there's people who've been on our team for a long time and they just have so much knowledge, but they cannot be on chat all day and just like answering Q&A.

Everybody like, right, right.

Whereas in person, it actually wouldn't take as much bandwidth for them to be like, oh yeah, check the drive folder or oh yeah, that's probably like, let me check my email, send it to you.

Like, it's just everything takes a lot less time if it's in person in the same pod.

So I definitely, I mean, I already sympathized and appreciated Matthew's, I think, inclination for the virtues and benefits of working together.

And I, now I just have, now I see it even more. Why that's, why it just works better.

Right. Yeah. It's, it's been really challenging. I can also say as an extrovert, you know, like I miss the people at the office.

Like I liked sitting at the front desk and like a lot of my job was like literally just being present, you know, like I was getting paid to be present and to do things.

I mean, I did a lot of things also, but just, just to be there, to be available, to be able to connect to people, to get you what you need, like you need a stapler or you know what I mean?

Like, you, you know, you're getting your packages or like when I first started at Cloudflare before we even had the Envoy package, I was like, it was like fun for me to like chat people and be like, you have a package.

I loved getting those chats. I know like there's for you, you know, and it was like, it was like interactive, you know, like for me, like as a person who lives alone, when we went to this room, because at first you're just like, okay, it's going to be a couple of weeks.

And then you're like, oh, it's going to be a couple of months.

And then you're like, oh, it's going to be a really long time.

And then I was like, wait a minute, do I still have a job? Am I, am I still a vital, you know what I mean?

Person at this company without a front desk to sit down, you know, and luckily, you know, our team, you know, has been doing a lot of stuff.

And we've been, we've been having our bandwidth available to help other teams with things.

And, you know, we, our managers have been good about making sure we have stuff to do, but like at first I was just like, how do I do 40 hours of like front desk work from my apartment, you know, and how do I have the energy to do it when I don't, when I'm not seeing people and I'm not getting that, like, yeah, yeah.

It's such a beautiful office. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Totally. Which you made even prettier with flowers.

I love them. The flowers were so fun. I need to get flowers more for home.

I know I I've been growing my plant friends. That's kind of my, that's one of the questions I like to ask people is like, and I'll start, but just me, like my hobby a little bit during this time is just to buy more plants and take care of them.

And they're like my little plant friends and like, you know, propagate them, you know, from like cuttings and stuff like that.

But I haven't bought that many flowers, but yeah, like flowers at home.

But it was fun when we had them in the office, like I would just show up with like, this is like huge thing of flowers and make all these beautiful flower arrangements.

That was the best part of my job.

I loved having coming into the all-in space and there'd just be like a flower.

Right. Like all the counters are just covered with flowers and all these jars and Amy's like, so fun.

So have you started any new hobbies or like, have you, like, has this home time translated into like any increase of anything creative that you've done on your own?

Or you said you've been cooking more, any other? I think I cooked a little bit more.

There was like a, the, there's not as much cooking right now in the last like month or two as there was, I think at first my partner and I were shell shocked.

I'm just looking at my kitchen now.

I'm like trying to remember what it was like at first and how much we cooked.

I think it, it didn't take that long for like, I think it was probably less than a month for us to, to just like resolve to try some new stuff.

We probably had like, we're probably like reasonable cooks, but we didn't cook that many things.

But if you got to cook every meal, like, you know, it's going to get kind of boring if you make the same things all the time.

So I think we got like, we got like one or two more cookbooks in like April and started working our way through things that looked good.

Actually, I think we got three of them.

My partner's family is from Taiwan. And so, and she loves cooking Asian or she loves, yeah, she loves eating Asian food and she didn't really know how to cook it very well.

So she's like, you know, gotten some, she got a, like an Asian fusion cookbook, sort of a California style one and went through some of it with her mom.

Her mom thought it was, you know, her mom was born in Taiwan. So she thought it was hilarious that like what these Californians had done.

Yeah, exactly.

Well, that's sweet.

Like, is she working from home? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So how big is your place?

Not big. It is, it's like, the living room is probably 12 or 14 feet by like 17 feet wide with a little cute little cutout with a ton of windows.

It's really bright, which is, which makes it amazing. It looks out over Dolores Park from the top floor of a little apartment building.

It's like four floors up.

So it's just an incredible view. That's cute. Which makes it, you know, it's, it's, it's a really nice place to be, but it's really small.

So when we both have to be on calls, we have a separate little bedroom.

One of us usually goes in there.

Have you, I mean, even though you have that great view, have you thought about taking advantage of the shift in the rental market and maybe looking for a new spot?

There's a lot of... Yeah. There's a lot of inventory. I, I moved.

That's been the most exciting thing for me because I was deathly unhappy in my tiny studio.

Yeah. Where did you go? I moved to Lafayette and in a future version of Cloudflare TV, I will show once my apartment's decorated, but like right now we just finished moving the rest of the stuff over, over the weekend.

So I have a big putting stuff away, but I got a one bedroom cottage in Lafayette with a big backyard and my own private driveway and there's trees everywhere.

That sounds amazing.

And this huge private backyard. And instead of it being a studio, it's like a one bedroom with like a real kitchen.

The bane of my existence was this tiny fridge that I had at my last place.

But somehow I, I cleaned it and cleaned it and cleaned it.

But sometimes somehow fruit flies were like, you know, like coming to life in there, you know, clean it and clean it and clean it.

And I would be like, where are you coming from?

Oh my God. So I sold that to my neighbor across the hall.

So I was just moving out this last couple days and I heard... Brutal sale, by the way.

A lot of moral hazard in that one. I told him all about it. He's across the hall.

I gave him a really good deal. He's across I heard this guy and I was like, I wonder if I can get this person who's my new neighbor to help me move boxes in exchange for stuff I don't want for my apartment anymore.

So last Thursday I was like, Hey, did you just move in?

He's like, yeah. It's his first time being on his own.

I'm like, do you need this little dresser? He's like, I'm like, do you want this little table that I got for free downstairs next to the elevator?

And also this lamp that I got for free that used to be Octa's maternity rooms lamp that when we took over 634 was left behind.

And then one other thing, a free air mattress bed that I picked up also next to my elevator in my old apartment building next to the elevator was the go-to spot for free things.

Like everybody would just drop the stuff they don't want there.

And I would just like, bring it to my apartment.

So anyway, I got this dude to move so much stuff. He was like, it was the best last Thursday.

And I gave him a deal on my fridge. Cause like, it's better than the terrible one that the apartment comes with.

I bought it at Costco, but I gave him all the things I was like, listen, I don't know where these fruit pies were coming from anyway.

Point is now is a good time to shop for apartments.

Yeah. I've heard. I read a little about like the drop in prices. My partner actually renegotiated our rent down.

Not that much. It was like, I think it was probably 6% or so, maybe 5%.

So, you know, it's nice to have a little bit more money.

But neither of us really likes the idea of having to move right now. I mean, if it's working, you know, it's just like when you are working from home, I mean, it can, you know, it can be a lot, but how's it been going with your, how long have you guys been together?

Uh, two years. Okay. And so living together and then working at home together in the middle of a pandemic, has it been pretty like pretty chill?

Yeah. I mean, there's genuine compatibility. Yeah. We, I mean, we spent a lot of time together before the pandemic, but you know, this is really another level.

It's 24 seven basically. And the crazy thing is, you know, I, I am way more extroverted than my partner.

And, uh, I think she rightly knows that I need to see my friends and my other people.

And, um, and I can't do that. Like we, for the first time, I think two days ago went on a sort of distanced walk, um, happened to be in the wind.

So, you know, the wind, uh, really did a number on the viral load, but made it a little bit less pleasant for, uh, for just the walking.

Um, but, but that was the first time we saw friends like two days ago, um, since March in person.

Um, and so that it's just like, it's, it's, it's super freaking weird. Um, we definitely, I think, you know, you, you get testy, neither of us prefer like Tiffany's way more introverted.

So she's like down with a lot of this. Um, but even, you know, she even loved to see some more friends and misses her coworkers.

And, uh, neither of us have seen our family.

Both of our families are on the East coast.

So, um, it's definitely a weird time. Definitely. I feel like it, it, um, it's just like, it's an amazing, it's an opportunity for a ton of emotional discipline and attention, um, a forced opportunity, right?

You know, you either do, you just do not thrive.

You just go down a hole of negativity or you just like force yourself to, you know, try and find the bright side of things and a little bit of gratitude, um, and a little bit of acceptance through it.

And maybe some perseverance to like work on things that are hard and not pleasant.

Like I don't work out at all.

Um, it's terrible. I used to play tennis or squash four times a week.

You're like gentee sport ball. What's that? Yeah, exactly. I was wondering about it.

I was like, he must be missing like sport ball. Yeah. It sucks. I, I have not touched a racket since March 14th.

That's the last day I played squash. Yeah.

Well, I had been on this squash kick for, um, uh, basically like a year or so I sort of go back and forth between them, but, um, but I played them each for a year or two before I go back and forth.

They're just kind of, it's fun to get into them. You can't really go back and forth between them like every week because they're, they're different enough, but obviously tennis is way more pandemic friendly.


Cause they're not in like a small room or whatever. You're more, I don't know the difference.

We got about one minute left. I wanted to agree with what you're saying.

And I've been saying it on my show. It's kind of like, we're going through an individual kind of shadow experience with this pandemic, as well as this like collective shadow where like stuff's coming to the surface.

And like, when you're at home with yourself, you know, like stuff's going to come up and you have to have that emotional like fortitude to be like, okay.

Like a lot of my coping mechanisms that I have, you know what I mean?

Like have been like thrust away from me.

And now I am left with myself, you know? And, um, so I, it seems like you, you know, you seem like you're in good spirits.

I can say from just seeing you.

It's so good to see you. Thank you for that. Happy birthday next week. Oh my gosh.

Yeah. Happy birthday to you. That's so funny. October 13th. 17th for me.

Oh, the 17th. Okay. I thought it was the same day. Just very, very close. That's okay.

It's it's Libras. Yes. Thank you so much, Michael. Yeah. It's great to see you, Amy.

Great to see you. Bye. Bye -bye.