Originally aired on January 26, 2021 @ 1:30 PM - 2:00 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!
This week's guest: Caroline White
Good morning, welcome to or afternoon or evening wherever you might be watching this. Welcome to Home Office TV. I'm Amy Bibeau. This is my recurring segment where we just discuss kind of how it's going for people working from home. And my guest today is Caroline White. Hi, Caroline. I am happy to be here. Thanks for having me. You're one of our newest hires at Cloudflare. So you just got started. So we haven't officially met in person. And are you on the business development team? Are you a BDR? Yeah, so I'm a BDR based in San Francisco. And I thought I started in June, but I started in May, which I just remembered a few weeks ago. So it's relatively new. I've only been to the office once a few years ago. And I mean, it's been going great so far. So I'm just excited, happy to be here and happy to be talking to you. How has it been going for you to be like onboarded during a pandemic, you know, and like not to get like, because I remember like the BDRs, you are kind of a tight knit group and you know, working together, like, how has that been going for you? I really enjoyed onboarding. Actually, the team did a really good job of kind of bringing Cloudflare into my space and into my home. I'm definitely getting some zoom fatigue, just sitting in meetings all day. But I've really liked it thus far and actually have made some really great friends, albeit virtual, just by like working in my house at my desk and at my couch. That's awesome. So what's your typical day? Like one of the things we discuss in the show is like, how do you know when to start your day? How do you know when you've had enough? Like, how do you avoid overworking? So I'm kind of a chronic overworker, but I've been trying to be better about it. I've been talking to my manager about that too, like ways to structure my day. So kind of in the morning for the past, sorry, there's a few trucks outside, but in the morning for the past few months, I've been trying to get up at around seven and kind of take like 30 minutes to an hour just to myself to kind of like reset, prepare for the day, get my space ready, have tea and coffee sometimes. And then kind of in the world of prospecting and sales, it's like, you're never done. So I just kind of, I play it by ear every single day and just kind of try to keep a healthy balance pretty much. And are you like inbound or outbound? Like, are you dealing with people that are doing both? So I'm outbound. So I'm reaching out to people, I'm doing all that outreach stuff, creating messaging. I get to be really creative, which I really enjoy in my role. And that's probably one of my favorite things about being a BDR here at Cloudflare. Well, that's awesome. So you're constantly having to like source like places to reach out or do you have to do all the sourcing? Or is there like a pipeline of like ideas that you get from your manager? Like, hey, reach out to these companies or is it pretty self -directed? So the marketing team does a really great job of coming up with campaigns to run of who to target. But we also have a lot of freedom in that area. So I do a lot of prospecting, pick up a lot of accounts that I think would find value in using Cloudflare's products. And then I get to reach out to them and I get to be creative about it. And then I have account executives that I also work with and work under. And it's like a really collaborative effort to try and reach out to these companies and actually find the sweet spot of something that's actually relevant to them that they will care about. And that may actually be a need that we can fill for them. Cool. And did you have, were you doing a similar role before you came to Cloudflare? So before I came to Cloudflare, I was at WeWork, which was definitely like an invaluable experience. It was a wild ride for sure, as I'm sure many people who are tuning in know. I was doing financial stuff for them and project management. So a lot of auditing, a lot of balancing the books, just trying to get that in order for them. Pre-IPO and post not IPO, I would say. Post IPO attempt. Yes, exactly. Wow. That sounds complicated. Yeah. And I didn't have a finance background. And so I originally was hired specifically for project management for the construction projects and then was put into finance. So I really had to think on my toes and kind of figure it out, which was exciting, but not my ideal career path. But yeah, I met amazing people and have no regrets about it. Well, that's awesome. Well, welcome to Cloudflare. I look forward to seeing you when we're actually in the office someday. We're working on getting our office updated in a way that's going to feel different and hopefully better for everyone. It's been such a transformative year. We're going on, I guess we kind of shut down mid-March, not shut down, but started having everyone work from home. So yeah, it's almost a full year. And how do you find yourself? Do you get up and take breaks and make sure that you're not getting stuck on your computer the whole day? Yeah. Normally I'll take 30 minutes to an hour for lunch, depending on how much I actually have to get done. I'll take a walk down Chestnut Street or around the Marina in general. There's a lot of beautiful parks. So I find ways to break up my day and keep myself active. And I did get a Peloton, so I'm very happy about that. Oh, that's exciting. So you're like rocking it at home. Yeah. I am one of the converts to Peloton. A friend of mine says she's doing the free, I was thinking about, cause you can get like free two months or something like that, where you just like, cause I don't, I don't think I'm going to get a piece of equipment, but she said that there's like a lot of other like workouts and different things that you could do. I think that's like continuing like movement, you know, we don't have our commutes anymore. Were you commuting into WeWork? Yeah. So I would take the bus every morning into the office and sometimes I'd work from home, but it was pretty much a everyday commute. I, yeah, well, I think you'll be able to take the bus again. Once we come back to Coppler, the 30 goes right over, right over by, by the office. I'm not too mad about it. It's, it's a pretty straight shot down there from where I am. So it's kind of the perfect commute. Do you enjoy working from home? Yeah, I actually love working from home. I'm one of those weird people who prefers to have the option to work from home potentially two to three days a week. And in my, my role prior to WeWork, I was commuting down to the Facebook campus and that commute was wild. So I actually got to work from home three days a week and go in sporadically into the office. So I'm used to both being in the office and out of the office. So I'm pretty adaptable, which is lucky for this year. Were you riding the shuttle then down there? Or did you, we, we have a name for that. My friend and I, we, I don't know if it's necessarily going to be a popular name, but I was calling those buses, the gentrifier, you know? And so we started calling that bus old gent. And so whenever we would see it, it'd be like, it's old gent. Like I kind of had a vision of like painting the side, like old gent to me is kind of like a cross between like Colonel Sanders and like a dude with like a messenger bag. But we used to have these like ideas and making a video, like old gent, like rolling through like a neighborhood and like kind of popping up in its wake, like tent cities and bagel shops. But, you know, it's, it's a little subversive. It's a little, it's, it's a little, it makes sense because a lot of the places where the shuttles would stop, employees would live, which I understand because it's so convenient. You just hop out of your house and hop right into the bus and get to work. So I'm assuming without doing any research that rent went up in these areas, but you know, that's the thing, it's, you know, gentrification has been taking a big toll, you know, on the landscape of Oakland and San Francisco. So hence, you know, we had a joke, old gent. And we, you know, we would, we would like do spottings and be like, it's old gent. And, you know, old gent has not been, not been really getting a lot of business. I'm wondering how old gent is doing, you know, in the pandemic. Maybe I can interview them one of these days. I don't think it's weird to enjoy working from home. I think a lot of people really like having the option, you know, like having the choice, having the option to be able to work from home, I think is great. I think like the forced aspect of it, I mean, none of us really like to be forced, you know, into any particular paradigm, right? It's like, we like to have flexibility. And I think that from that perspective, that it's, it's a growth area for Cloudflare that I think we're learning some great things, you know, because we used to be a fairly rigid work from the office type company. And now there's a lot more flexibility. So I think that's kind of exciting for people. Yeah, I would definitely agree. I'm looking forward to that aspect. And I mean, I'm not sure what role I'll be in in the next year or two, but I'm hoping to stay at Cloudflare. And I would really enjoy having that option. Just also your life changes, your needs change. If you have a family, I mean, that would be super helpful some days also. So the benefits, in my opinion, outweigh the negatives of it. So definitely excited, looking forward to that. Yeah, I've been enjoying working from home. I even moved to a place further out of the city, just, you know, because I wanted to be closer to nature. And you know, it was nice to like, it's nice to not have to worry about that commute yet. I mean, I know that it's going to become a part of my life again in the future. But it's been nice to have that opportunity. It's just, you know, obviously, it's a bummer, you know, global pandemic. Yeah. And are you close to any public transportation or how would you? There is BART here. I'm not close to it, you know, it would be like an hour walk, or a Uber, or a maybe a bike ride, but the bike, I'm out in Lafayette and the bike paths don't feel particular, like one of them is like a giant hill. And the other ones have a lot of cars on them. And there's a freeway entrance. And so I'm, I'm trepidatious about like riding my bike down a road that has freeway, like on points, you know, because just I just don't know, like how many people are like, doing scrolling, like while they're driving. My mobility and like ambulatory functioning is like, you know, really one of my like, happy places, you know, so like, I'm afraid. I guess I'm saying I'm afraid of biking. I understand that. I've been hit by a car on a bike twice. Oh my god, in the city? No, so I was actually I was living in Copenhagen at the time and everyone bikes there. And the streets are very, very little in some spots. So it's just hard to squeeze by cars at times. And then the other time it was in Amsterdam. So never in the US, but it has happened. So were you living abroad? Yeah, so I went and studied abroad in Copenhagen. And then I went in, lived in France as well after that, to work with the State Department for a while. Wow, you've got a lot of interesting like job history. I like to keep it interesting. That's awesome. Do you speak other languages? Yeah, I'm fluent in French, actually. And I took six years of Spanish, but I cannot claim to be fluent in that. But you can get by like in Spanish. I mean, like if you were communicating with a Spanish speaker, you'd be able to like have a some semblance of a conversation. I'm probably able to understand it better than I could articulate the words. Well, that's awesome. And so you did you grow up in San Francisco? Yeah, I grew up in the city in the Richmond, actually. So I was very lucky. I've been able to see the city change in so many positive and negative ways. It's just been, it's been a crazy ride living here. What do you think is going to happen next? Do you have any like ideas or opinions or insights? I mean, I hope the rent keeps going down. So that'd be amazing. I can convince all of my friends to come out here. But I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen with the pandemic. I mean, I'm seeing restaurants and like mom and pop shops closed. It's just really sad to see. So I'm hoping that once we reopen the restaurants this week, it'll be a whole lot livelier, but I'm not exactly sure what the future holds for San Francisco, but hopefully something positive. Yeah, it's I share that worry or concern, especially around, you know, these like small businesses, restaurants, and, you know, people who put like, you know, a restaurant has low margins to begin with. I mean, it's a it's a dicey undertaking. And, you know, to like be able to, you know, provide the food to the people and like have the staff and have enough, you know, turnover and movement in their in their products to really be profitable. I really hope that they bounce back because people are putting their whole life and you know, everything that they've had and worked for and stuff into these restaurants. And so that's, I think, one of the things that breaks my heart and, you know, small businesses of, you know, retail and different kinds. And, you know, it would be great if we could see a more well rounded economy in general in the US, like, that's not, you know, solely based on, you know, kind of like consumption, or there's got to be some other economic models, like out there. But, you know, they haven't been coming to the forefront. But I'm optimistic that hopefully, we can see a rebound. And, you know, according to the, you know, the sources that I've been looking at, you know, it's not like businesses are really planning to avoid the office, we're either not abandoning offices. So I think once especially like in downtown, once people return, you know, because that's kind of a ghost town right now, which is a little bit a little sad, of course, I went downtown for the first time a few weeks ago. I just because I don't really go out that much. I'm technically immunocompromised. So I'm not seeing that many people, but I got to go downtown. And it was just so quiet. And so many of the shops are so boarded up. And it's just something I've never seen before. So it was a little shocking still even in this late stage of the pandemic. Yeah, it's it is it is like a different kind of experience that we're not we're definitely not used to. Um, what's been the biggest challenge for you? You know, just kind of going down that path? What's been the biggest challenge for you during the pandemic? Definitely spending a lot of time alone, even though I do enjoy that. I'm seeing my friends. I just mentioned that I was immunocompromised. So I'm pretty much only seeing my parents and one or two other people in my life at this point in time. And it's been kind of like that for the entire year. So I'm very much looking forward to going to concerts and going out and just being one with the world. Yeah, I miss concerts, too. I really do. Like one of my favorite artists was supposed to be touring last year. And I was so excited about it. I was like Roger Waters was going to come back and be at the Chase Center. And I was going to try to wrangle my way into the Cloudflare suite somehow. Or if not, I was just going to, you know, be a regular person. I had a lot of dreams and hopes. So yeah, I really would love to get back to concerts, which I think is definitely like at the tail end, you know, of like the reopening experience. As it should be. I mean, it's good for people's mental health and, you know, happiness and endorphins, I think, to like be out in those type of groups. But they're certainly not, you know, necessarily considered essential. So then how are you spending your time alone? Like in the evenings? Are you like screening it up? Are you reading? And I see some books behind you. So have you been reading? A lot of reading. I'm also trying to learn as much as I can about different teams within Cloudflare. I like to steal my family dog and take him on walks from my parents. I live really close to the Presidio. So I'll go hang out in the park sometimes, take a book with me, grab a cocktail with my mom, just anything I can to get out of the apartment. Yeah. I don't know about you, but I remember when we were kind of really deep in it. I went through a stage where I really didn't go out at all for like a long time. And then the more you don't go out, the more weird it feels to go out. And then I kind of had to like break through that and start getting out more. And for me, moving and being closer to nature was super important because I've been doing a lot of walking in the hills and that, you know, like you have the Presidio. The Presidio is beautiful. I lived when I was in the city, I was in Soma and there was nowhere to walk. That was nice. It's just like the concrete jungle of Soma. It's a concrete jungle. And I'm like a little like forest fairy, you know, like I want to be like in the forest, you know, with little animal friends, you know, like I want to be listening to like the frogs and you know, like running water. So like the concrete jungle isn't my favorite jungle. I like the green jungle more. And it's nice if you do go out, like it's amazing to be just like walking in grass, just like hanging out under the tree. That's just so nice to actually be in nature and not just have to stare at another building like I'm staring at right now. It's very nice building, but. Yeah, it's definitely, I think the human spirit really actually needs nature. Like we actually need a relationship with nature in order to really thrive because we're part of it. It's like, yeah, we've invented buildings. You know, we've perfected inside, you know what I mean? But like outside, you know, and that connection with nature, I think for me has been super important for like staying like sane and happy and motivated about things. So as you've been researching other teams at Cloudflare, what have you been finding out? Are there any other teams that you're like focusing on or like learning about? Yeah, I think the IT planning and governance team is really interesting in what they're doing to work on different projects for applications from billing to engineering. They kind of have a hand in all these different applications that everyone's using. So it's just really interesting to learn about that, to learn a little bit about infrastructure, to learn even more about account executives and sales and kind of all these different career paths that people take. There are so many options. There's too many options, which is great. Yeah, it's a fun company. I miss our headquarters. I'm excited for you for when we get back there because it's a fun building, like fun energy. I think Cloudflare's recruiting team has done a really great job bringing in great people. Yeah, I think everyone I've met so far virtually has been lovely to get to know so far and everyone's super smart, which is very intimidating, but also exciting just because you have all these people around you who are wells of knowledge who could teach you something you never thought you'd know really. So it's just, I'm excited to be here and hopefully I'll get to come into the headquarters in the next few months and actually meet some people face-to-face. It's going to happen. It's definitely going to happen. That'll definitely be a thing. And then as far as traveling, do you have a thing, once we can move freely about the earth, do you have a bucket list going of places that you want to visit? Oh my goodness, yes. I love to travel. I've been to maybe 23 or 24 countries so far, so I just want to keep adding to the list because there's so many amazing places. I'd love to go to to Tokyo and Japan. I'd love to go to Thailand. Also, my parents keep talking about wanting to go to Antarctica, so I'm trying to weasel my way into that trip somehow. Oh really? I want to see the penguins. I have a friend who is an Antarctic explorer and I'll send you some links. His name is Mike Lebecky. I'm just going to give a shout out to Mike Lebecky on my show. He is an amazing rock climber and so he goes to Antarctica and he climbs like never before like towers that nobody's ever climbed before. They went and did a expedition. He was out in the Antarctic wild for 55 days, like literally like out and about, like outside. So he's got some interesting stuff, but he brought his daughter to see the penguins. She really wanted to go and see the penguins and he was able to take her. So keep your Antarctica dream in focus. I'm sure that you'll achieve it someday. One day, Antarctica, Galapagos, just got to keep repeating it in my head. Yeah, totally. I call it wa-manifesting. Some people call it manifesting. I call it wa-manifesting. I believe that you can wa-manifest those with your, obviously, like wa-manifesting or manifesting, it takes focus and concentration and it takes resources. But I found that when you really kind of set your mind at something and keep it, it doesn't even have to always be there. But like when, I don't know, like that's how I got my job at Cloudflare. I got it through doing TaskRabbit. I was like, I'm going to use TaskRabbit to get like a full-time job at a tech company in San Francisco. You know, setting intentions. Obviously, that doesn't work for everyone. So I never want to make it like, oh, just your mind will give you everything you need because that can really delegitimize like people's actual plights that don't have the same type of like privileges that we have of having like a great job and supportive families and stuff like that. But I definitely believe in wa-manifestation. Yeah, I would agree with that. I love that term. I've never heard it before. So I'm definitely going to put that in my back pocket and use it in the future. I add it to a lot of things like wa-manager, you know. I like that, it's smart. Like do we not, you know, like let's make the language less gendered. Because I think some people don't think of the word manager as like having man in it, but it does. Yeah, I didn't even like think about that. I've actually never thought about that. So that's a really interesting point you bring up. Definitely going to start looking into language more and start trying to understand where it comes from. I think language is definitely a super interesting topic. I like to make up my own little words and concepts. And I'm a big fan of acronyms. A lot of them I can't say on Cloudflare TV. But you know, maybe when we're chatting outside of work, when we're having a little happy hour discussion, I can share with you some other hilarious terminology. I mean, I don't know if I can share this one. It is called the douche ripple. So it's when somebody's bad behavior causes a ripple of unhappiness that reaches other people. And then the person who started that is the douche rippler. So you know what I mean there? You know, or if it's like a larger, larger scale, you could be like a douche nami, you know, like a tsunami of like douche like behavior. So that's, I'm not sure like, I don't think it's super politically incorrect. You know, but because the douche ripple does happen. And it's good to have a descriptive term. I mean, to me, it's kind of like, you know, when people are, you know, tweeting a lot of things, and then that like blows up and, you know, creates a lot of like, bad feelings for people. That's a douche ripple. And we're seeing a lot of that right now. Yeah, you know, yeah, it's good. It's helpful when we have names for things, you know, you should write a, like a terminology book, like a, that just matches everything in the world and just publish it and see what happens. Coming up with a complaining skill right now, because I think that there's been a lot of complaining. And so, you know, it's like, I try to get a like to ascertain when people are complaining, like, okay, what level of complaining are we at, you know, and then is this going to be a complaining portal? Like, are we going somewhere with this? Or is it a complaining vortex? Because I don't, I don't necessarily want to get into somebody's complaining vortex. But I might be willing, and they might not want to get into mine, but I might be willing to go through like a journey through their complaining portal, especially if we can get to like some kind of like actionable solution. Or if we can downgrade, you know, the level of complaining, you know, say that it starts out at like a seven, it's like, what can we try to get this complaining level down to like a two, you know, turn into something positive and actionable, like you said, actionable. And again, is it a portal? Or is it a vortex? Because I think it's important to kind of be able to ascertain like, you know, when people are upset, it's like, okay, well, you know, like, why are we upset? Like, how can we transform this energy of complaining? Does it have a lot of blame in it? Because like blaming other people or blaming anyone usually is not going to be helpful or lead to, you know, and again, that can turn into a complaining vortex, you know, so yeah, I'm working on articulating the complaining scale. And I'll get back, I'll get back to you on that as well. I need a whole presentation. Exactly, exactly. So what else like, have you been doing that you've been enjoying? Is there any like special hobbies that you started doing? Like, did you start doing anything new during the pandemic? So I started, I started baking bread, like a lot of people, I started growing the onions and chives, like a lot of people did. I was doing some at one point, I was doing some bleach tie dyeing, and doing a lot of cooking. So just kind of trying out all the different hobbies that everyone was doing. And I mean, no regrets, it's just fun to bounce around and try new things. And I have the time right now. What kind of bread have you been making? A lot of banana bread. I attempted sourdough, it was not ideal. So I went back to banana bread. Banana bread is a good one. Because I mean, I don't know about everybody else in the world, don't we all have bananas that we don't eat? Why do I even buy them? I literally buy them, I tell myself I'm going to make a smoothie. And then they sit there. And once they even get a little bit brown, I'm done. Then you just gotta like, put them in the freezer and save them for later and potentially make a smoothie with it like three weeks later. Or you can make banana bread. I definitely won't put a frozen brown banana in my smoothie. But banana bread, I do have them, they are in my freezer right now. There are frozen bananas in there. Waiting for the banana bread. I like to put chocolate chips in mine. Do you have any good recipes? Or you just do? I can I can share I can share the recipe I was using with you. I don't know if it's a great recipe. But you know, it's fine. But I put chocolate chips in it. Sometimes I'll put like flax, flax meal or something. And try to make like a superfood banana. And I usually do muffins. Okay, I don't have a bed, a bread pan. What about cooking? Like what's been your favorite thing to cook? Have you made any new dishes? Definitely salmon, a lot of fish. I've been trying to learn how to make my salmon crispy on the top. So I recently acquired a secondhand, a crusade pan. So I've been testing that out. And seeing if it if it's better than the normal pan. So far, the answer is yes. Finish a lot of salmon. Awesome. Well, that's great. Well, I'm so glad that we had a chance to connect. We have about a minute left. Is there any advice that you'd give to like, any new like if you're new at Cloudflare? I would probably say don't be afraid to reach out to new people. Like if you see a team pop up that you're interested in learning more about, go for it. I mean, it never hurts to ask a few questions. Meet new people. It's just broadening your horizons. And that's why we're all here. Build your own adventure, really. Yeah, that's good. I'm glad that you've had a good, you know, virtual onboarding experience and that you've, you know, found a way to like be connected and make new friends like with your teammates. And I'm glad we had thanks for for coming on. We we connected at our monthly birthday thing. So that's how I met Caroline and asked her to be on my show. So yeah, I think it's important to show up for things, you know, and like engage. And and I'm so glad that you were able to be with us here at Cloudflare. And I hope to see you again soon in the office. Thanks. It's been nice talking to you. And hopefully I'll get to talk to you soon. And bye. Bye.