Lisbon - One Year into the Pandemic
Cloudflare opened its Lisbon office on July 16, 2019 with 12 people. Since then, we have been through a pandemic, experienced working (and hiring) completely remotely, and we’ve grown to 84 people in Lisbon. In this discussion, 6 Cloudflarians with different experiences will talk about our growth in Lisbon, working from home, challenges and opportunities, and expectations towards the future.
We are on the air. Welcome everybody to a special Lisbon edition of Cloudflare TV or I should probably say Lisboa having been living here for almost two years now.
I've got five other people from the Lisbon crew to talk about the last year or so, a little bit more than a year now we've been in the pandemic.
If you were following along, which I'm sure you weren't, you will know that in March 2020, Cloudflare had about 20 people working in an office on Avenida da Liberdade and the pandemic hit and we all went home.
And now we have about a hundred people notionally working in Marques de Pombal, but of course everyone is still working from home because Lisbon is still under mandatory working from home requirements.
But we figured we would get together and talk about what it's like to first of all, go through the pandemic with Cloudflare in Lisbon.
And second of all, for the 80% of the company that's been hired during the pandemic, what that experience has been like.
So I've got with me today a bunch of people and I'm going to ask them to introduce themselves so you get to know who they are and their roles.
And this is going to go in Zoom order, which is how it appears to me on screen.
So the first person up is Sam Rhea.
Sam, go ahead. Hey John. Hey everybody. My name is Sam.
I'm a director of product management here at Cloudflare and I moved to Lisbon two years ago from our Austin office.
Sam, just dig one little deeper into that.
What products are you responsible for at Cloudflare? The products in my group help keep teams safer.
We're the Zero Trust product group. So Cloudflare access, Cloudflare gateway, Cloudflare tunnel, anything your organization needs to make it faster and easier and safer to work together, especially in a distributed workforce model like we all are in right now.
Great. That's fantastic.
Well, I'm glad we have some serious deep product development going on here in Lisbon.
Obviously, that was part of the plan was this was not an outpost.
This was going to be one of our major offices. And I believe it's currently certainly the number two office in Europe, if you count the UK and Europe still.
And also it is, I think, the number five largest Cloudflare office globally and growing very rapidly.
And part of that growth is being handled by our next guest today, Isabel.
Isabel, tell us about yourself and your job. Hi, everyone. So as for me, I'm a recruiter based in Lisbon, first of all, and I've been at Cloudflare for about one year now.
And what a ride. So when I first joined Cloudflare, fun fact, I think that I was one of the one of the first group of people being hired during the pandemic.
So I was started so I was actually I met some people still in the office when we were still trying when the pandemic wasn't still what it is now.
Until the end of the process, all this happened. I started remotely and here we are since then.
Well, I've been helping several teams growing mainly in Lisbon for several for several teams.
So we have been hiring for from engineering to customer support, finance.
Well, basically everything. And yeah, a lot happened and a lot of growth in one year.
We can certainly talk about the lot that's happened over the over the last year now.
So you're obviously Portuguese and Sam was sounds a little bit American to me.
Next up is Justyna. Justyna, you've had a lot of different experiences around the world and here you are in Lisbon.
Tell us about your job and how you ended up here.
Hello, everyone. My name is Justyna. I'm a part of the customer support team.
I'm now a team lead in our Lisbon office. And I moved around two years ago with Sam and John from the Singapore office.
Very good. Welcome.
All right. Carrying on around my screen, I get to Ronika. Ronika, do you want to give us your background and what you do at Carflare?
Sure. My name is Ronika and I work as a customer support engineer here at Lisbon.
And originally I'm from Poland.
I moved here during pandemic because I worked at Carflare for just about a little bit over six months.
So it was an amazing experience because I started here with little to no knowledge of tech and the training team and Carflare, all the employees, managed to wrap me up to a really decent level at this point.
Brilliant. Welcome. Okay. And then I'm the next one on the list. So I'm Carflare's CTO and I moved here two years ago to help start this office on a permanent move.
It's not a temporary move to Lisbon. And it's been a funny experience because, of course, I was in the office for about six months and then got sent home.
So part of my experience of Lisbon has been the four walls of this tiny office in my home.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing a lot more of Lisbon and Portugal in general as things ease up.
Next around the last person on my list is Celso Martinez.
Celso, you want to introduce yourself? Sure. So hello, everyone.
My name is Celso. I'm an engineering director in Carflare Lisbon. I'm part of the 80% that joined the team during the pandemic.
So I've never been to the office.
And I manage three teams, one in Lisbon called Carflare Radar and another one in San Francisco, Web Analytics, and another one in Austin called Intel, the Intel team.
Brilliant. All right. Welcome, everybody. So I obviously was here pre-pandemic.
So was Sam. Justine was here too. So we got three of three were in the pandemic and three were not.
So I thought what would be useful is to give people a sense of who Carflare is in Lisbon.
So I said at the beginning, we're about 100 people right now.
So Isabel, you've recruited about 80 of those people or something like that.
So what are the what are the departments we've got represented here and what are we looking for right now?
Honestly, John, I think that right now we are looking to to hire a pretty much for almost almost every team in it at Carflare.
So it's difficult to highlight anything.
We are hiring for several roles, once again, from engineering, from customer support, finance.
So we are hiring pretty much for it at every single team that we have that we have at Carflare.
And if anyone who is joining has some curiosity and wants to know more, we have all of that in our careers page.
And this this is aligned with what you were just saying.
So this is not this is actually I think that when Carflare decided to open an office in Lisbon, actually decided to invest a lot here.
And the goal is to is to have a large team in here.
And I see that every single day. I see that in our recruitment team already grown a lot when I joined.
It was just me in Lisbon. Now we have another recruiter. We have a recruitment coordinator.
We have a sourcer. So I think that the investment in the recruitment teams also in recruiting team also shows how much we want to to grow.
And and right now we we are hiring for for several teams and we have teams that I've been working with with for instance such as the one for for Justina in your team.
We are always looking for for people. It's one of one of those teams where we almost never ended up closing the rec because we are always trying to increase the team.
That's right. And I think I looked the other day. I think we have something like 70 openings in Lisbon right now listed on the careers pages and it's across every team across the company.
So I think Lisbon is turning into a microcosm of the rest of Klausberg.
Yes, I think that we have we have several we have several openings in Lisbon right now for for sure.
And one of the things that I that I see when I'm talking with with some of the hiring managers that I that I work with is that there are always some some priority to to try to find someone in Lisbon.
So it's always a focus for every hiring manager. I know that everyone is focusing on hiring this team.
This does not of course that we are we are growing globally.
But I think it's it's a good place to be right now because all of the teams are trying to increase and to to grow in in Lisbon.
So I don't know exactly how many openings we have right now.
But I would say that we have more than 30. That's for sure.
Fantastic. Fantastic. OK, so we've grown enormously and you will not have seen the recruitment process prior to the pandemic since you joined during it.
But it's obviously gone completely virtual, everything being done with Zoom calls, everything being done electronically and everybody being onboarded.
And so you will have had the experience of joining Cloudflare and as did Celso and as did Veronica.
Perhaps the three of you could talk about what it was like to join a company that was fully virtual.
Well, I can start since I was I was already talking.
Honestly, for me, I think I was I believe that I was the only one here who caught the process changing.
So I when I was in the recruitment process, I started to meet some people in person and then it all changed.
And for me, honestly, I think that. Even though it was crazy times that we were living, I thought that the transition was very smooth, which also shows our ability to to adapt and to to adjust.
And when I was in the recruitment process, not at any moment, I thought, OK, this is strange.
Now things are changing. No, it was all very smooth.
It happens very, very quickly. I was always informed about the process.
I think that it's strange when we are when we were used to do everything in person and now everything is done remotely.
I think that it's that it's strange at first.
But I think that with everyone's efforts and if people try to have some some continuous contacts and follow ups and all of that, I think that things can work really well.
And in terms of the recruitment process, I think that sometimes it can even make things easier in order to coordinate interviews, availabilities, because you don't have to count with the time to to commute to to an office.
You can have if you are working, you can have an interview during lunchtime without having to take an hour from your work or having to have an interview later in the day.
So it's I think it's sometimes it even helps. It's even easier. Veronica, do you want to tell us a bit about your recruitment process, obviously coming from Poland and then moving to Portugal and then tell us about the recruitment, in particular the onboarding.
What was the onboarding like for you? What did it involve?
Well, the recruitment process was surprisingly very smooth. I wasn't sure what to expect because that was my actually my first job interview ever.
So I was really nervous at first, but everyone that I met with during the interview process, everyone was really nice, really friendly.
They kept me updated. And just the feedback that I was receiving after interviews and everything, I just really felt very optimistic and very encouraged to like just pursue this opportunity.
As far as the move itself and because obviously it doesn't involve the move from one country to another during pandemic itself, it's still doable.
I think a lot of people these days, they might be a bit stressed or worried about this as this is moving the country and there are restrictions in place.
But when you're moving for a job, it's it's a bit easier, I think.
And there was always assistance from the Cloudflare side, from the Cloudflare team.
I was in touch with HR, with my managers.
So it really made me feel more secure that I wasn't just moving out there and I didn't know what to do and I didn't know who to turn to.
There was always someone that had my back, like I had that opportunity to contact someone in case I was in trouble.
And as far as onboarding, I was so surprised because I was a bit nervous about joining a very tech company, Internet security coming from zero tech background.
I graduated in Chinese linguistics, which has very little to do with Internet and what we do here.
So and joining online, I knew that I wouldn't have co-workers sitting next to me.
So there was no the opportunity to ask fast questions and integrate into the company would be a bit, I felt, limited.
But the case was the onboarding process, that one week where you meet a lot of different people, you have other new hires with whom you can socialize with, you can talk with them about your experience.
And you meet a lot of people that introduce you step by step, done by the product team, marketing, you meet a bit from every single team here at Cloudflare.
And then I was really impressed with how the training looks like when I was learning and learning everything from zero to being able to support our customers, how the training team organized the training in a way that I could do it online without with instructions that I was learning.
I had training sessions with my instructor and just followed the material that was here organized in a way that was really approachable and manageable for me that I had no previous experience, which I think makes it really special.
Well, what made you think, oh, you know what, I'm going to go work for a tech company in Portugal, right?
You're sitting there and going, yeah, I think that's what I'm going to do. That's a special story.
Tell me about it. It actually all started during the pandemic, which started with Internet starting to thrive when basically all the regular life moved to the Internet and everything we were doing was done virtually.
And I think it raised my awareness of how important the security is, how much of trust you are putting into the companies to protect our data and so on.
So I started learning about it, just reading some courses because there is a lot of free resources online that were just giving an overview of what is important, what are the risks, and that was a huge eye opener, I think.
And I've been here before.
I've been coming to Portugal since 2013. And I've loved the country.
I just fell in love with the country the first time I came here. One day I thought to myself, I remember thinking this, oh, I wish I could live in this country one day when I'm older.
And then, yeah, here I am. So that was the story.
Good. All right. Well, that's great. Celso, you're the other onboarder during the pandemic.
Tell us about that experience. Yeah. So I joined in August last year.
And I must confess that I was a bit skeptical on how it would go because I'm a big fan of the office.
And I think that there are things in the office that online can substitute.
But I was very surprised on how it went. I mean, Veronica and Isabel talked about the onboarding process and the culture, which are a big part of why things go smoothly at Cloudflare, especially the culture.
But I'd say I would add to that the fact that we're completely ready to work remotely.
I mean, we have all the tools in place.
We know a lot about engineering. We automate a big part of the work we need to do on a daily basis.
And that makes things a lot easier for us.
I mean, if there's a company ready to go remote and fully digital, I think Cloudflare is one of those companies.
And I'm going to say the onboarding process again, I think Cloudflare had to adjust.
But I think it did it very well.
I mean, the amount of information, the amount of people willing to help during that first week, not just the first week, I'd say the first months is really something.
And I can only imagine how big of an effort it was to adjust to that.
But I can say from experience that it's working quite well. Brilliant.
Okay, that's great. Now let's just switch to Sam and Justyna who moved to Portugal.
And Veronica, you can chime in here as well. Because if you look at the Cloudflare team in Lisbon, we have lots and lots of Portuguese people.
But we also have quite a lot of people from other places, mostly European, but some like Sam who came from further away and Justyna who came from Singapore.
Tell us a bit about that arriving in Portugal experience and what it was like.
And any three of you, go for it.
Unlike Veronica, I had never seen the place before we moved here. The first time I had ever stepped foot in Portugal, I had all of my belongings and my golden retriever in hand.
So kind of a one way ticket, no going back. And I think what was so fun about it was kind of to the point about life before the pandemic, we built a little community and Justyna can certainly attest to this, where it felt like being on a mission to Mars from the company back home, where all of us had come from these, at least what we perceived them to be massive offices.
The Austin office, several hundred people, London office, Singapore office was large.
And San Francisco, of course, was at the time and probably still is the biggest office.
And there's about 10 of us in that initial cohort. And none of us were on the same teams, which I think might've been a good thing because we were kind of, we avoided little bubbles and circles.
We were forced to kind of build together and bond and think about the Lisbon office as a representation of several different teams.
What Isabel mentioned earlier, where we're hiring for teams across the entire company, we sent teams across the entire company to be part of the initial office.
And I love that that was part of our DNA from the beginning. What were the challenges of moving here?
First and foremost, the food is very dangerous. If you let it, I think I can eat more pastel de nata than anyone in the office.
I hold that record and I'll defend it when we return to the office.
But no, I think what initially was hard was that same kind of feeling of being mission to Mars.
When you're part of a new office and you're building a new office, time zones are different.
You're not necessarily in the room where the meetings are happening and decisions are being made.
You can't tap your colleague on your shoulder. So you have to develop some kind of different strengths.
And some of those include a lot of focus on written material.
Some of that includes thinking about how you communicate and what that means across time zones and across different regions.
But most importantly, I think it also means finding kind of the people who are now your neighbors.
And Celso mentioned Radar. Radar was a project that a lot of the people in the Lisbon office worked on together, whether or not they were part of the Radar team, because that was who we had next to us and that was who we could collaborate with immediately.
So I think those same challenges about showing up here, showing up here with a large dog and not speaking a lot of the local language is its own set of challenges.
But the challenges of being part of this new office and getting to build things together actually became some of its strengths.
All right. Tell me about Veronica, Justina, what was your moving to Portugal experience like?
My move was very, very, very long because I first moved here and then I was told that I have to actually run part of my visa process back to Singapore.
And all happened when the outbreak happened. So I went back to Singapore.
I was supposed to be there for two weeks and two weeks turned out to be I think nine weeks at the end, which I actually have fun being in Singapore for longer.
So I actually get to eat more food as opposed to what Sam said. It was it was actually good for me because I don't have anything else to bring with me.
I have two suitcases really.
And this is a very happy life that I could just move around very easily.
For the record, I actually started in London with Koffler and then we moved to Singapore and I'm here with the Lightning team, which is a I don't know, it was it was really easy and fun for me.
There's a little bit of delay because all the embassies were closed during the time and no one knows what is happening.
I think as long as you just go with the flow, it just worked out somehow.
What I like about this is you, Sam and Veronica are like three pioneers in a way.
Sam has never even seen Portugal before and decides I'll move there and just turn up with my family, my dog, everything, all my stuff.
You decide, yeah, pandemic, why not?
Let's do it. You know, it can't be that hard if I have to fly around the world.
And Veronica is like, I always wanted to live in I'll go do that. So the three of you got some special some special DNA, I think.
So Veronica, tell us about your move part.
How was how was the move? So you arrive in Portugal, like the Portuguese experience.
So I think the move part, it was kind of crazy in a way because I got an interview with Koffler when I was here on holidays.
And I don't know, I was not sure I would honestly be offered the job.
And I was really surprised.
So the very end to the moment I was got my offer, I was like, I still can't believe this is happening.
So what happened was, I remember I was in the trailer in the middle of nowhere near the south of Portugal.
And when I got my offer and I was like, oh, no, that means I have to fly back to Poland and pack all my things and, you know, fly back before the lockdown hits again, because this was still before it was before the really strict lockdown when the flights were banned.
So I knew I had to rush. So I basically left all the things that I had here.
I just left them here, flew back to flew back to Poland. In two weeks time, I packed everything that I had.
I wrapped up my affairs there in Poland and flew here with no apartment to stay at.
I was staying in an Airbnb and trying to get my paperwork sorted, which was more troublesome than I thought, because as what Justyna mentioned, it was the places were closed.
They were not working as smoothly as before.
So it got it took a bit of time to get the papers sorted. And I remember I was really stressed about that because I thought, well, what if I don't get my papers?
But Caltwin was really understanding about it. I remember I was I was a bit like losing my head about it, stressing out.
But they were like, no, this is fine.
If you don't get your papers, you just start a month later. And in the end, that's how it started.
But I was lucky enough that I've been here before.
And I also knew some Portuguese friends I knew from here. So I can understand Portuguese a bit enough to like get by, which is I feel like it's a bit of cheating because I should properly learn.
And it's something I'm working on currently.
But I had I had a lot of help from everyone, people at Klausler, my friends here.
And this is how it's how I'm still here and still really excited about the things that I do and people that I work with.
I wouldn't change my decision, honestly.
So have you noticed this? So if you're if you understand Portuguese and you start speaking, have you noticed that if you say like four words in Portuguese, the Portuguese person in front of you goes, oh, they clearly speak fluent Portuguese.
Therefore, I can speak out a thousand words per minute using all sorts of idioms.
And it'll be fine. Yeah. I understand everything I just said.
And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, my God, my God.
It's like, yes, it's amazing. There's no like, oh, he's clearly a foreigner. I probably should like, you know, there is no middle ground, no middle ground.
It's like zero or a thousand miles per hour, which is I appreciate the compliment that they think we can do it after those four words, but we can slowly hide.
I went to get the covid vaccine and the nurse said to me, look at my name and said, do you want to speak in English or in Portuguese?
And I said, I'm going to speak in English because I thought this is a vaccine.
I want to get this right. Right. My wife went and she said Portuguese.
And she said it was a terrible mistake because he was asking all these health questions and high speed Portuguese.
But we clearly said you want to speak Portuguese.
So here we go. So there are some situations where I'm just like, I really need this to be correct.
I'm going to switch to a language I really do understand.
Otherwise, it'll be, you know, an entire poem by Luiz de Carvalho.
All right, so that's Portuguese. And Sam, I'm going to take you up on that past age eating competition there, because, you know, the one that moved to Portugal that was bad was that I went from having normal cholesterol to high cholesterol.
And I was like, how could that happen? Like, what have I changed in my diet?
I was like, oh, the past I used a knacker. That's what it is. So somebody told me that if I drank coffee with them, it had no effect on your health.
That's a lie.
No matter how good Portuguese coffee is. How can that be a lie? I'm sorry.
It was a trap. It was a trick. We were having such a good time with the early Lisbon office that, if I recall, there's probably three out of five days a week pastel de nata were around.
So you show up and you're like, I had breakfast at home, but I should have breakfast here.
Second breakfast. And you get hungry around lunch.
You're like, oh, there's still a whole bunch of pastel de nata there.
Maybe that's for lunch. And then your blood is just egg tart. And then not just any, right?
We got finicky about where we were getting them from. We were in a big area.
It was like, anyway, it's very dangerous. We were spoiled. All right.
So great. So you've joined. Now, let's go to the Portuguese folks, because one of the things we've done is obviously we recruited a lot of people locally.
And we're recruiting across departments.
And I think one of the things that Cloudflare in Europe has two offices that are what I would think of as full stack offices.
They have a bit of everything.
So we have an office in Paris and Munich and in Brussels.
And those are very focused on specific things. So Munich and Paris on sales within those worlds or those languages.
Brussels on the EU. But London and Lisbon are everything.
So we've got engineering and product management and HR and tech support and finance and all these things here.
I'm interested in it was probably obvious to you, Portuguese folks, we were going to be able to hire all those people.
And what are we not hiring? Who are we missing? Because I wanted this to be the biggest office in Cloudflare because I'm an egomaniac.
And so who should we be hiring next?
No? All right. Well, if you don't know, we're going to hire as many people as we can.
This is going to be a very, very important office. But the other the other question I think is interesting is we've had quite a few Portuguese people who've moved back to Portugal for the job here.
And that's obviously an important aspect as well.
And I can't remember. Do you remember, Isabel, what the statistic is?
It's something like one in 15 percent of our staff are Portuguese returners, something like that.
Honestly, I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think it's something like that.
I think it's we we actually have been successful in bringing back some some people.
And one thing that I find very interesting when looking at our team in Lisbon and from my own experience is not that common, is that we we have lots of people moving to Portugal, people moving back.
So Portuguese people were now returning to to to Portugal.
And in this case, and also people were never in Portugal and were moving here.
And honestly, I know that we have very diverse teams.
And for us, this is already part of the normal. So even for me as a recruiter, it's just like, OK, let's just hire this person from that is moving from Poland or this person that is moving from Greece.
And for me, it's like another day.
And it's it's normal. But when I stop and think about it and compare with my previous experience as a recruiter and when looking at other companies, of course, that happens everywhere, but not as much as here.
I think it's great that we are being able to to attract that that many people.
So from with different backgrounds, from different countries, with different experience.
And I think that's why we have so many diversity within the company worldwide.
Now, one team that has a lot of diversity on it is Justine's.
Justine, tell us about the support team here in Lisbon, because there's many nationalities, many languages.
What is the team here doing? Well, our team is to support everybody, actually, not just our user, but also our internal stakeholders.
So it's actually a really fun team that you get to touch on every product of Cloudflare and you get to talk to everybody of Cloudflare if you want to.
And as Veronica said, she is actually hired as our Chinese speaker for Lisbon.
So we would naturally think that people with a background like myself would speak Asian language.
So we're all here. But we also have amazing talent from Europe that speaks Asian languages as well.
And so our team, I think we probably cover most of the European language that we can and we will continue to expand our spectrum into every other Asian language that we could find.
And if you know anybody who could speak Japanese, Korean, or anything you could think of, please send them our way.
There we go. And presumably, we're also doing support in French and Spanish and Portuguese and German and all the other languages.
Yes. And we also want to make sure we provide 24-7 support in a specific language.
So we are hiring people from everywhere who speak everything.
So yeah, it's fun. It's actually also, sorry, it's also very dangerous when it comes to times like Euro Cup or World Cup like right now because we all have our different little teams that we support.
So you have to support the right team before you talk to us.
So you mean you have to support sporting? Is that what you mean?
I'm trying to figure out what you mean by support the right team there.
I don't know. I don't know if it's sporting or it's dangerous. So I'll leave it to the Portuguese.
It's sporting, very clear. No question about it. It's easy to figure out.
Okay, there you go. I was going to say England, but okay, fine. That's if you like losing over the long term, you can support England.
So that's fine.
All right. So let's switch gears. Sam and Celso, you both mentioned in the beginning that you are managing people who are not in Portugal, right?
So you have teams that are in different places.
So let's talk about that because one of the features of Cloudflare is also we have these offices, but originally we were physically in them.
We have teams locally. Celso, you have a lot of people locally here.
Sam, you too have people locally here doing development work, but you also have cross time zone teams.
So let's talk about the exciting world of cross time zone teams managed from Lisbon.
I know which one of you wants to go first, but what are the joys and challenges of that?
I did a miserable job of it for several months.
I'll be Cloudflare TV confessional here. And I think because I tried to treat it like I'm working in an office, I tried to take all the patterns of behavior that I had not in a distributed workforce and brought it into managing and working with people who are remote.
And where it really clicked for me, one of the first kind of joys of it, and this all led up to something that was launched last week by a really incredible team that's primarily based here in Lisbon.
We'll talk about that in a second.
But I was working on an announcement post with someone in the San Francisco office.
And what we realized was we were much better off rather than trying to overlap really early in their day and really late in my day doing follow the sun blog posts tinkering.
And so one of us would write it and then go to bed and the other would wake up and edit it and make changes.
And we found kind of these little ways in an async model to work together really productively.
And as the teams have grown, it's become harder because we've got more and more time zones, more and more locations.
And also I think it would be very difficult. I know folks on this call can speak to this to join a team where you've never met someone in person.
But I think we as an organization have really grown up around that and in the last year and a half and improved how we onboard people, how we help train them, how we work together across time zone, across borders.
And just last week, I think was maybe my favorite story about it.
There's a product in Cloudflare called Cloudflare Tunnel.
You deploy this if you want to connect your infrastructure, your origins, whether they are HTTP origins serving your public facing websites or machines that you're reaching over SSH, RDP destinations.
But if you want to connect your infrastructure to Cloudflare's infrastructure without opening up a bunch of holes in your own firewall, Cloudflare Tunnel does that for you.
And it's also now the backbone for our Zero Trust networking platform, where if you want to add security rules about who's able to reach the resources that you're connecting into Cloudflare, whether or not they're HTTP, you can do that.
And that was built by a team that was based here in Portugal, but working with a team that's based in Austin.
The Cloudflare Tunnel team has, if we, and I'd be honored if they would count me as part of it, but if we get to count me, there's several of us here in Lisbon.
Two are from Portugal originally. One moved here from Taiwan. One was in, who was from the Austin office.
Another from the Austin office came here as well.
There's a member who's still back in the Austin office and someone who moved here to Portugal from Singapore.
So this is a really global team that all grouped together here in Portugal, but working with friends back in Austin to deliver this feature.
And I think because of everything the organization has learned about working remotely, but also building new strengths here in the Lisbon office, just last week, we were able to announce that feature and put it in customers' hands.
And it's entirely the product of both the Lisbon office and building these teams here that are, like it's been talked about on this call, full stack teams, and kind of putting a lot of, assembling a lot of really, really wonderful people to work on these problems together here in And also making sure that we're not on an island, like that mission to Mars that we were on at the beginning, that we're still finding ways to collaborate with our friends back in Texas.
So that's been fun for me. Celso, what about you? Yeah, I agree that, you know, working with teams on different times can be challenging.
I mean, Austin is more easy because it's only five hours difference and you can still spend part of the day working with the team directly.
San Francisco is more difficult because we're talking about eight hours difference.
I think the key to success is to learn how to work asynchronously and that requires you to be slightly more organized.
Again, the fact that Cloudflare does a pretty good job on making sure that we have the tools to work and collaborate together remotely helps a lot.
I also think that this raises the fact that we are so careful when we talk to candidates, not only to talk about the technical skills or the hard skills people need for their roles, but also how do they work together, how do they work with their stakeholders and their teams and how autonomous they can be.
And I think it's great that we take so much attention to those details because then this makes a whole difference in a situation like this, not only because of the pandemic, but because you're working with teams in different time zones across the world.
That's an interesting point you bring up there.
Just before this, I was doing a final call on a candidate and they mentioned that it was interesting how much of the recruitment process had been not about their technical ability, but about how they would work with others and that experience.
And I think that's significant.
I think the other thing that we look for in people, and I think Veronica is a great example of this, is she didn't come from a background with all that technology, but it's like what can you do and what is your path going to be like, what is your trajectory going to be like.
So we're trying to look for people who are going to get into a job and then learn about it and grow within that situation.
I think that has actually been helpful in the pandemic because you've got people who are naturally not assumed to know everything and therefore you start talking to them more, they start asking you more questions and it builds those connections and the people get in to learn the job.
All right, so this all sounds great and Cloudflare sounds amazing, but let's talk about has anything been bad during this pandemic?
I mean, it's been fine, right? Everything's been, you know, it sounds like it's absolutely marvelous, but there must have been some things that didn't go so well.
So who can think of a thing that didn't go so well?
I miss having lunches with the team.
Yeah, yeah, me too. I miss the casual conversations with random people.
So I don't think I've ever met Veronica in person, I don't think we've ever seen each other in person, and that I just find weird.
When I left London, the team in London said to me, we're really going to miss you and I was like, what did I ever do?
Like, what did I do? Because London is about 350 people and I mostly knew people, but I didn't know them all very, very well.
And somebody said to me, you used to walk around the office and talk to random people.
And that made us feel like we were part of a team and, you know, you're a leader and all that kind of stuff.
And I didn't even realize I was doing it. I was just, you know, I probably just didn't want to work or something.
I was just walking around talking to people.
But that random conversations kind of thing is really, really the big thing that I miss.
And I think it's really, it's really become difficult.
The other one is that you, Sam, you mentioned the asynchronous working with the, you know, writing something asynchronously.
I think we've done an okay job with that.
But there's more we could do. There's a lot of times people like, we need to get on a Zoom call to have this conversation, right?
Maybe, maybe that could be an email.
Right? So I think that's a thing that we could have improved as we've gone along.
Go ahead, Isabel.
Yes, I was, I was thinking that is something that's, I believe it's almost everyone is experienced that right now.
But with everyone working remotely, I think that people started to feel that you need to talk about things.
And sometimes you ended up having a meeting that could be an email or a ping on chat.
Because I don't know, since people are not face to face anymore, I think that sometimes it's just the first thought is, this has to be a conversation, because it would be something that if we were at the office, I would just stand up and go, hey, just want to share this with you.
And now we are replacing that with Zoom.
So I think that the next step is to maybe understand that it's not everything needs to be a Zoom call, we can replace some meetings with emails or pings or something like that.
And on another hand, maybe have some moments just for some more, just some informal chats.
Actually, in my team, we did that with some of the folks here in Portugal, we just block a time every Monday 15 minutes, just to say hi to everyone just to make sure are you there and help us to have that type of connection.
One of the things that I really, really appreciated about being in Portugal is that the Internet works really well here.
And, you know, in London, the Internet was expensive and slow.
And I had many colleagues in the UK, when the pandemic hit, like, well, I have this problem, could I go into the office because my Internet at home is so terrible.
And here it's like, whoa, it's so fast, you know, and not really very expensive.
That's been amazing. And amazingly helpful for us during the pandemic, given the amount of stuff that people were doing, you know, they probably had kids at home, online schooling, and they had their work going on and all this kind of stuff happening.
So that's been an amazing piece of infrastructure that's that's been put in place.
So thanks, Portugal for having great Internet saved us a lot of a lot of effort.
All right, well, so we've got about 15, 13 minutes left to talk about things.
What haven't we talked about?
We look back over the last year, it's more than a year now we've been in the office.
What else is missing? What else have we missed out for the audience?
I think that's, at least on on my side, I think that it's it's important to, to remember that we we actually we have a lot to learn with remote work and all of this, but I think that we learned a lot.
And in my in my case, in the eyes where this is not, this is not selling, this is just my my my personal experience.
Since the one that I joined Cloudflare, I see that one thing is that everyone is ready to help each other.
Everyone is working towards a common goal. I don't see I don't see like competition between people.
I don't see anyone trying to pass over someone.
If if I saw, I think it would be a bad thing instantly. But everyone is really helpful.
It's like all working to a common towards a common goal. And there is a mutual respect.
I saw that there are there were two points in my experience at Cloudflare where that common respect by your co-workers was were clear.
One is on my case as a recruiter, I work with hiring managers in several time zones because, OK, I'm hiring mostly for for Portugal, but I have hiring managers hiring in Portugal, but they are based in San Francisco or Austin or even or even Sydney.
So it's a bit around the globe. And there is always a respect with time zones.
So people always try to find a compromise. I never had anyone asking me to have a meeting at 7 p.m.
We always try to find a compromise so that people can have a good work life balance, which leads me to the second point where I honestly where I experienced it myself, which is regarding my personal life right now.
So for those of you who don't know, I was I was recently a mother and considering all all this flexibility that Cloudflare gave us, I had the opportunity to divide the parental leave with with my husband.
And that way I came a bit earlier and it allow us to be both at home right now, as I know, as I have the flexibility to have, OK, every now and then, let me just make a quick stop to check on on my baby.
And everyone is aware of that.
And and it gives us that flexibility. So on my side, that's my experience.
Now, I think are you the first or second Lisbon Cloudflare baby?
I'm trying to remember now. It might be the second. Right. I think that's I think that I'm the first on.
You're the winner. You're the winner. OK, well, very good.
More Lisbon Cloudflare babies produced. That's fantastic. All right. Good.
I'm glad. But the hearing else want to talk about their experience that. We did have one audience question that what are we what are you or most proud of from the Lisbon office so far?
I think I kind of gave away my answer to this with the team coming together, the engineering team, this majority based here in Lisbon and shipping that feature last week.
But anybody else have something that are true to Lisbon office or the pandemic as well that people are most proud of out of the Lisbon office?
I think it will be the diversity of the office, the diversity of the team, not just the people that we sent in the beginning, but what we're continue to grow like we are continue to accept everybody from everywhere.
So I think I've never helped process so many different visa from different part of the world, as many as I did in the last few months.
And yeah, I could almost help people in the visa and immigration process now.
I totally agree with that. I think it's really fun to see people from so many different backgrounds and parts of the world working in Lisbon.
And we spent a lot of time discussing Portuguese culture, the Jacaranda trees in Lisbon.
And that's really fun to say the least.
Yes, I completely agree with that. And I have a confession to make.
I only learned that those trees are called Jacarandas in Lisbon and by someone who is not Portuguese.
I believe it was from Simon, if I'm not mistaken.
So I'm just like, OK, it has to come someone from not a non-Portuguese person to teach me how those trees are called.
I'm going to take you to the supermarket sometime, Isabel, and show you this thing it's quite popular.
I think that's one day I will take to the office.
It's like fried bacalhau.
It's just amazing. It sounds great. Let's go. Another cholesterol spike.
Knowing Sam for a year now, I think there is a competition between pastel de nata and bacalhau.
I don't know which one he would choose. I really showed up and immersed myself in the food.
I went back to Texas and attempted to eat barbecue and was like, there's no fish in this.
Veronica or John, what about y'all?
Any most proud moments out of the Lisbon office so far?
Well, I'll give you mine. There are two things. I totally agree on the diversity thing.
Part of the reason is that as a company, we're convinced that diverse teams are more powerful, do better work, end up with better outcomes, make more interesting places to work.
But personally, I have a personal reason for it, which is that when I was hired at Cloudfly, I was the only person in London.
And the first person I hired was another guy who kind of looks like me.
And we went a really long way without thinking about diversity.
And there is a photograph of the London office, which I have basically banned.
It's all of us like, hey, here we are in London.
And there's 50 white guys. There's one woman. And I'm so ashamed of that photograph that when I moved to Lisbon, I was like, not only does the company believe this to be the right thing to do, but I am never going to make that mistake again.
We're going to get diversity from the beginning. And I think we've done a pretty good job.
It's hard work. It requires real effort. But it makes a huge difference in the long term.
That's one thing. But the other one is that I thought that Lisbon had the potential to be a place where we could do real product development of Cloudfly.
It's not like an outpost doing some weird thing over here and like, oh yeah, there's the Portuguese office to do some stuff.
It's like core to what we do.
And that has certainly been the case. Sam, you gave an example.
Selsa is managing teams across the world and is producing the Radar product here.
Those are like core Cloudfly products. And we've seen the rest of the company follow along.
So obviously tech support is very, very important, the support side of things.
But the finance department has a lot of people here and they're not just doing like Portuguese finance, they're doing it around the world.
So that sense that this has become a core part of Cloudfly, I thought it could be, but it has really done it.
And having done it in the pandemic has really been a big achievement.
So I'm really proud of that achievement. I think one thing I'm super proud of about Office Lisbon is the culture here.
When I was interviewing, I was asking people, like I was asking Justyna because she was interviewing me and I was asking, how are the people on the team?
How is everyone? Because just looking at Cloudflare online, like for sources, I was reading up, everything seems like kind of a fairy tale.
Like there is a mission, mission statement.
We're here to build better Internet. And we're trying to lead with empathy.
And I was seeing like the proof of what Cloudflare is doing. There's all those Project Galileo, Project Athenian.
Afterwards, during pandemic, the project first shot.
And then I realized it also translates to how people act. And I remember when I was starting to work here at Cloudflare, I started for the first time in my entire life, I started to live alone.
And it was just me and the work computers.
It was very difficult to find like work-life balance. And I remember just like mentioning it, that I was just starting to really feel trapped because I was at my home, just learning all these new things and it was starting to be overwhelming.
And then people from support, my teammates and people from Cloudflare Lisbon office stepped up and they were saying, look, let's hang out outside.
If you want, we can get on the call. And even if I started to feel a bit alone, I realized I was never really alone.
People are always there and they're very empathetic and they're always willing to help.
And as support, I talk with a lot of different people from a lot of diverse teams.
And I realized that I can always go ask that question and I'm not afraid that I'll be like rejected.
And I think that is amazing.
I'm glad that's been your experience. Sam, do it. Go on, go on. On day one, when we were here, I had no idea what was going on and no idea where to get any supplies or anything else.
And someone I know we all adore, Sylvia, sat down and basically drew a map of Lisbon and said, this is where you can get that.
This is where you can get groceries.
This is, I might've starved without it, but that I think has just been part of this office's DNA from the beginning is this idea that anyone who asks for help, there's probably your biggest problem, whatever problem you used to have, your new problem is that too many people are trying to actively help you.
And that's, I think, something really special about who we are in the Lisbon office.
The first thing I tried to buy in Portugal from that office, like I actually needed beyond like groceries and stuff, was a toilet plunger.
Which is extremely hard word to say in Portuguese.
And I went around trying to ask people to give me desentupidor, desentupidor, all over the place.
And there were various interpretations of what I was saying, what I needed.
Until eventually I pointed at a toilet and someone was like, ah, ah, ah, we want one of these.
So, and Sylvia did help me find my desentupidor, which I now proudly own a Portuguese toilet plunger.
I remember that day.
I was scared to death of you, John, back then. And I remember like, this was like the second day of the Lisbon office and in you walk with a toilet plunger.
And we were all, it was August, there was no air conditioning. And yeah, that was a real time.
I am extremely scary. I hope you're not going to like, I need people to be afraid of me, otherwise, you know, I'll lose all my influence or something.
I'll get my toilet plunger. We've got about a minute to go.
Are there any final thoughts on what it's been like to work at Cloudflare during the pandemic, which is still, still on?
It's been, it's been an amazing ride.
It's, I think that we have, I think that it's been great, but I can't wait to start seeing people face to face.
I agree. I mean, I'm just personally, I'm so happy that I moved to Portugal.
I was the only British person who had never been to the Algarve before I moved here.
And I think I was literally the only person.
And I really didn't know very much about Portugal until I came to, well, they also invited me to come to a conference years and years ago.
And it's been a great experience despite being locked up in an apartment in Lisbon.
And I think it's, you know, I'm so happy the team has grown and I cannot wait to get back into the office to see everybody and, you know, actually meet some of the people I've only ever seen on Zoom as a little rectangle.
So with that being said, thank you very much for spending an hour talking about Cloudflare in Lisbon.
If anyone is listening, who's interested in applying Cloudflare.com slash careers, there's a list of open jobs there.
Please do get in contact.
We have lots of growing to do here and hopefully we'll be in, you know, 150, 200 and keep going.
All right, folks. Thank you very much. Good to see you all. Thank you.
See you soon. you