One Year in Lisbon
Cloudflare opened its Lisbon office on July 16, 2019 with 12 people. We've grown to 45 people and are keeping going. In this discussion six employees of the Lisbon office (transplants from around the world and local hires) will discuss the office, its growth, the impact of COVID-19 and what the future holds.
Welcome to this special show we put on to celebrate the fact that Cloudflare has been in Lisbon for a year.
We moved here or some of us moved here July 16th of 2019 so it's been just over a year now to establish what was the second engineering technical office in Europe for Cloudflare.
So just to recap Cloudflare in Europe we have quite a big office in London which is our headquarters for EMEA Europe,Middle East and Africa and there's a big engineering group there and tech support and security and SRE and all of the functions of the company and we have a smaller office in Munich and that's really focused on sales and supporting our customers in Germany,Austria and the German speaking part of Switzerland and the third thing in Europe was well here we are in Lisbon and the history of the Lisbon office is that at some point in the past particularly related to Brexit but also just related to our growth we said we really ought to establish another engineering office a technical office and if you look at Cloudflare's core technical offices they are San Francisco headquarters,Austin,Texas,London,Singapore and then now Lisbon and the idea was to have to find at least an attractive location in Europe where we could have lots of people come and join and where there was a local market that was good and so we myself and a few other people looked at 45 cities in Europe so everywhere Europe being quite large everywhere from Iceland on one end to Estonia on the other end and we looked at different requirements for different locations and there were quite a lot of things we looked into so you know the standard of living for our employees one of the things that's key for technical employees particularly is they have quite a lot of mobility and they can choose where they want to live so it better be someone with a high standard of living and we wanted good connectivity to the rest of the world because weirdly a year ago we thought flying places was a good idea and so that was really important and obviously Lisbon airport has good connectivity to the rest of the world and had just introduced the direct flights from Sisco daily so that was great.
A friendly environment for welcoming people both socially in terms of what actually happens in the country but also from the government perspective in terms of immigration, visas, how easy is it to integrate people whether they're from Europe or elsewhere and then the wild card was time zone.
It turned out that so Portugal is in the same time zone as the UK and Ireland and that might seem like a small thing because hey what difference would it make if we went to Barcelona it's only one hour later but actually it really messes things up because the overlap with the US offices moves by an hour and particularly the west coast where you lose another hour and so all of us who have to work the west coast we get critical time in the day between about 3 p.m and say 6 7 p.m when lots of meetings happened so that was another critical thing and so yeah you know Lisbon turned out to be the bet we thought it was going to be a nice place to live people are going to want to move there we can hire locally because there were great technical universities talents locally and so last July I think about 12 was turned up and on this little show I've got a group of people some who turned up at the beginning and some who've been hired since locally and we can talk about the different roles so I'm going to go around in the order in which I can see it on zoom so at the top left is Silvia Flores who moved with me from London.
Silvia introduce yourself. Hi I'm Silvia Flores I'm actually Portuguese I'm the EA for John the CTO and Andy Lockhart the head of EMEA sales and that's it.
You came with us last time that was me so I'm the next one on my zoom so I am John Graham Cumming I'm Cloudflare's CTO I moved here in August of last year so it's not quite a year yet I think we were about 12 12 or 13 people in the chiado in a little office shared space and so you know it's been great and we're going to talk about what's been great and also of course the impact of COVID and how things went over the year because you know my first year in Lisbon was kind of strange right I turn up in August new language to learn new culture to understand everything's going great and then one day in March I say to Silvia I'm going to go home because things are changing looks like you know this pandemic might do something on a pop home check things with my wife and I didn't come back after that and none of us did but one of the people we hired since then so it wasn't one of the original people is Isabel who is to my right on zoom so Isabel why don't you introduce yourself?
Hi everyone I'm Isabel I'm Portuguese I'm part of the recruitment team in EMEA and at the moment I'm helping with recruitment mainly for our Lisbon office.
Fun fact is in fact I joined about three months ago and all my recruitment process was done during the pandemic so I'm one of those cases who never saw the office and did all my recruitment process entirely remotely which of course was a very interesting experience.
All right welcome so you're one of now what is a huge percentage of Cloudflare that's never actually been into a Cloudflare office and has been through a whole virtual process.
If I carry on round I'm going to come to Joana now Joana you I think actually got into the office for a bit and then we and then we kicked you out is that right?
The old office I visited but I moved also already during the pandemic and I also moved from abroad so I leave that in the first person I would say so and I've been supporting now people going through the same so I'm team coordinator for Lisbon I support with some of the local HR and main duties and do all the office management as well.
Where did you move from?
Luxembourg. Luxembourg there we go that was the surprise. But I had to go to Germany to get here so yeah.
Fair enough all right well welcome so you're also a local hire although a local Luxembourg hire which is the whole as to the excitement.
All right next around the circle is Simon. Simon and I have worked together for a really long time I don't care to remember actually how many years I think it's seven or eight years.
He was one of the very very first employees in London when we were five or six people and then he decided you know what Lisbon looks quite nice I think I'll go there.
Simon tell us a bit about yourself. Yeah so I'm Simon I am the technical support manager for EMEA so that actually encompasses the teams in our London office our Munich office and now in Lisbon so I moved here to help start the Lisbon team and the Lisbon office with Cloudflare in October so yeah very excited to be here.
Great so Simon and I moved from London as did Sylvia.
Joanna moved from Luxembourg back home basically. Isabel was already here but and now in the corner Sam Ray didn't move any of those locations.
Sam where did you come from?
I came from Austin Texas. Good morning everyone my name is Sam I'm part of the product management team at Cloudflare and here with me is the not newest member of the Lisbon office but the newest member of the Cloudflare team but the newest member to arrive in the Lisbon office Chung Ting.
I arrived here a year ago and I think we probably bookend the Lisbon office pretty well at least Lisbon office so far because I arrived a week too early as I found out when I went into the shared space and said hi I'm from Cloudflare and they said we thought y'all were next week and we were and here with me is Chung Ting who's been traveling for 30 hours to now join the Lisbon office.
I'll let you introduce yourself. Hey folks I'm Chung Ting.
I just landed an hour ago flew from Taipei and then to Hong Kong, London and finally I'm in Lisbon now.
I started tomorrow will be my third year here at Cloudflare.
I started in the Austin office as a systems engineer on Argo Tunnel team.
Then Ray and Sam both moved here so I decided to join their footsteps and immediately after I got off the airport I was welcomed by them which is great and already falling in love with the city.
And now you're on Cloudflare TV. Now this is your debut and you can do more of this.
Welcome, welcome. I hope you manage to keep the jet lag away for the next 45 minutes or so.
All right so that gives you a sense of the team but Joanna tell us since you're team coordinating what's the size of the team in Lisbon?
What are people doing here right now? So yes when I joined in April I think we were just before I joined there were 17 people.
Ever since we hired we doubled.
We hired 17 or 18 and we have already some more confirmed.
I don't know if I can say but they are confirmed so it's around 11. I think we have maybe something like 45 people confirmed or something like that for the office and our target for the end of the year is something like 80.
We do have an office.
When I say the office it's not just Zoom. We actually have an office. We do have an office.
It's a co-working space. It's almost ready for a limited reopening but yes if there's something that is certain these days is that everything is uncertain so it's very difficult to plan things and we already had some attempts to have these limited reopenings and yeah we don't have a date yet.
It's a really wonderful location. Do you want to just tell people what limited reopening means?
Yeah so what we're doing is globally not just here is that we are preparing the office and opening on a limited basis just for people who are experiencing some challenges.
There are different sort of challenges working from home so these people will be given the opportunity to go into the office.
In parallel we are supporting and providing conditions for employees to work from home as well, facilitating some ergonomic items and some furniture as well so we continue supporting as much as we can even though it's on a fully remotely environment now.
Great and Cloudflare globally has announced we're not going to reopen our offices for their sort of full occupancy until next year so we're going to continue like this.
We're going to continue hiring people who have never been in the office. Isabel what are we looking for right now?
Who are we looking for right now? Well right now actually we are looking for a bit of everything.
We actually we keep with very ambitious recruitment goals which is which is very good.
Honestly I can say I can even say that I feel blessed.
I know that this is a strong word but I joined a new company during a pandemic.
While I was joining Cloudflare I was seeing lots of companies struggling, lots of friends struggling in their own companies, companies laying off people, amazing people from all types of backgrounds losing their jobs and I'm here at Cloudflare and things it's like nothing is happening on that side so everything is it's keep going well so I really feel very blessed on that.
We remain with very ambitious goals and we want to hire a lot in Portugal so we currently have a bit of all types of roles from finance to legal to IT roles of course.
We are a tech company so I think that it's a bit of everything basically and I think that if you go if anyone wants to go to our careers website and just look you see that there are a lot of things that we are currently looking for for several teams.
So yes I think that things are going really well so far.
We have new challenges in hiring as all companies but I think that Cloudflare is really doing very well with all of that to be honest.
Yeah and it's like as you say it's that there's people team, finance, machine learning, tech technical support, engineering, product management and we have the full suite basically.
I think the only team that isn't hiring here is probably the sales team.
Yes, yes. I know what's interesting is that you know when I talked to the other leaders in Cloudflare is that I think especially from the US office there wasn't necessarily an understanding of what Lisbon or Portugal really meant until we got here and we started to hire people and now we're starting to see oh wait a minute I could find that type of person in the Lisbon office, I can find this type of person.
I think it's really helping to fuel our growth as there's a lot of different roles that are being opened up.
All right I'm going to switch to Sylvia. Sylvia you lived in London for a long time then when I said I was moving to Portugal you actually said to me and I remember it really clearly you said well I'm coming too.
Just talk about the experience of being a Portuguese person who's been away for a long time and Joanna probably has had this experience too and then come back to Portugal and you know what was it like going from London to Lisbon?
Well I lived in London for eight years and I still absolutely adore London and the whole culture and everything about it is just wonderful.
The musicals, everything is just so so nice but obviously I was born here and even though in London you have all sorts of foods it's not like Portuguese food.
You know like in here you can have a three course meal just for lunch and it's quite nice food and pastries.
I remember actually days before going to Portugal I had a dream about pastries in Portugal.
I was like oh my god I can finally have pastries and bolas. I was literally dreaming and I woke up so happy.
I was like I can have that every day now.
I was just over the moon and I was excited. I was excited not just you know to come back to my family and to my country but I was excited to show all of you all the amazing things we have here.
The fact that you can get really nice coffee with espressos, the food and seafood.
It's amazing. Bacalhau it's amazing you know that you can have fish in such a accessible way and obviously the weather you know.
Everyone says oh it's always raining in England. It's not that much right?
Like it's not that an exaggeration of it's always raining. No it's a terrible weather.
It's always foggy that's for sure. It's always grey I think is the thing.
It's often that like sky that's just very grey and it might rain it might not but it'll always just be a bit disappointing.
I was really surprised in movies like James Bond where do they get those shots you know like super sunny.
I'm like how many times did they need to shot this for the good weather because I have no idea.
But in here the fact that it's sunny all the time and you can go to the beach and you can do all these things it's just so wonderful because it's 20 minutes away and it feels like really a vacation country so it's amazing.
You do do some work right though because you're my assistant right so if you say it's a vacation company you do actually do stuff.
Yeah but I do my work in the sun. It's so much better.
Me too actually. I've been since we got locked down that's why I live in an apartment which has a balcony and I have spent so many hours on that balcony.
Partly so that my wife doesn't go insane listening to me on Zoom calls all day but also just to be outside and the weather has been you know absolutely beautiful.
So yeah the weather is anyone who moved from London will definitely definitely have felt that.
I bet Joanna did you have the same experience moving from Luxembourg. Luxembourg isn't known for its incredible weather is it?
No it's also very grey and the only good thing about that is that you really experience the four seasons there whereas here it's always it's a bit like tropical weather.
But I think I fully agree with Sylvia to be honest.
It's family, weather, good food, balcony yes so and the sea for me that was I think one of the things I missed the most as well.
The sea, the beach and I was in Central Europe so the closest beach was at six hours drive so yeah.
We have the sea in England as well you know. Aha and you please don't get me started.
Simon I'm going to ask you the same question I asked Sylvia really but you had a different experience which is being you know British and having moved here what was what was your London to Lisbon transfer like?
Well so physically I drove here which is interesting so we decided that we ought to bring our car here I have a car in London and a car is like basically the most useless thing you can have in London and such a waste of time and we thought oh if we're going to come to Lisbon it would be really amazing to be able to explore more of Portugal.
So we literally packed up everything we own into my tiny little Peugeot 207 and also gave a lot of stuff away and just drove here and we drove through France and Spain and into Portugal.
So my journey was actually really fun we took like a week off to do it and stopped off lots of places along the way and it's my whole time there has been amazing we've been able to travel the country a lot because we have a car which is great and for me the weather is yeah the weather is ridiculous here it's absolutely ridiculous.
It's ridiculous. Yeah it's ridiculous I'm bored of sun it's so boring every day it's so sunny and beautiful oh look there's no clouds I mean come on guys let's let's have an anxiety.
You were complaining about the rain not long ago I remember that.
We did have a mammoth thunderstorm this week right like enormous in the middle of the night.
But a typical thing about British people is complaining about weather it doesn't matter if it's good or bad it's just a subject.
It's a terrible stereotype Sylvia. It's not we just saw this right now it's like you're in the lift with someone you don't know the first thing is like terrible weather.
Yes exactly but there's a simple explanation for that British people don't know what to say to each other when they meet and they have this common ground which is to mention the weather as an icebreaker and because the weather is always a bit bad it's the perfect way to you can literally talk to anybody I mean you could talk to the queen by saying it's a beautiful day today man She has a very large hat on though so sometimes she doesn't know.
Yes but she doesn't know it's true I don't know what the equivalent what's the equivalent in Portugal how do you open a conversation with somebody in Portugal.
We also start with the weather normally I would say.
What do you say oh it's sunny again. No but anyway as British people I'll definitely we talk about everything we such talkers like just give her any subject we will talk about it openly there's no ice breaking we're not like yeah I think that in Portugal everyone tries to find like it's like you are trying to to find a common subject to keep talk people like to talk so they try if the first topic is not doing they'll try another one although I think that the most popular topic in Portugal is food but and football unfortunately yeah yeah people should talk more about the coffee as well because the coffee here is so good I mean it's just any random cafe will give you an espresso it's just really really good all right I'm gonna I'm gonna switch on to Sam.
Sam you came a long way to get here. Austin to here what's that been like being there the American you're us you're us all Americans.
Austin isn't really Texas though you know.
It's not I had never lived more than five miles from where I was born until August 11th last year and I'd never seen Portugal before early before August 11th I was over at the home of a member of the Austin team who looked at me and said hey you want to move to Lisbon I kind of just said sure and then it became a dare almost here we are a year later and I so in Sylvia talking about how she's kind of helped shepherd us lost ducklings on our arrival here because I so vividly remember I brought my wife and our dog who came three days after I arrived my plan was to land into Lisbon figure out a country I'd never seen before it was certainly more than five miles from Seton hospital where I was born which was my entire world and I remember landing and going to what I thought was a grocery store which in America would what I found felt like a 7 -eleven basically it was a mini-macabre very tiny little convenience store and I remember walking in and thinking oh no like this is if this is like all the all the grocery stores this is there's like one type of dog food there's it's really it was just a place where you would buy snacks but my like jet lagged what to do about it and I remember going into the Lisbon office when they finally let me after getting arriving too early and looking at Sylvia and being like I need some help where to buy food and I also need to know how to buy a hair straightener yeah and uh why do you need a hair straightener what's 45 two important things and Sylvia pulls up google maps and and also finds a way to translate hair straightener into Portuguese and says you need to go here this is a real supermarket called continent this is Wharton where you can buy electronics you're gonna be fine and that's that's when we became friends so it's been uh I it's been a lovely and wonderful experience it's been very different in the last few months because I was able to somewhat often go home to visit which is of course not an option right now but it's uh it's an okay place as far as places outside of five miles go but I remember because you arrived early and that was not the plan at all it was not because you know I I start really freaking out because I remember I was at Disneyland and I was in the queues to go to the roller coasters and I was on the phone calling the offices and this and that to make sure I have everything organized because someone arrived early you know like oh we need a desk we need this and we need that and I was like okay I'll call you in like 20 minutes I'll go to a roller coaster and then I'll go on the phone again like it's all right Sam's Sam's first difficult Portuguese purchase was hair straightners mine was a plunger to unblock I remember that I was like where the hell do I buy a plunger I think you said to me we could try Pinkerdose and I went to Pinkerdose in the section where they were they didn't have one but eventually I was like okay I have to go into some random hardware store and the one that was near to us and I went into it and I'd figured out the word which is what I think it's a desentupidor I go and ask for this thing and what was amazing was the people in the shop didn't seem to want to have customers at all they're just kind of like behind the counter it was like this is what I want eventually somebody was like yeah here you go have this have this thing what else did anybody else have any fascinating first difficult things they had to buy in Portugal I think for me I think my experience is a little bit like Sam's but like I wasn't I didn't have the jet lag excuse like just going to a supermarket here and you kind of just innately expect to be able to get things that you think are essential so as a British person fresh milk fresh milk is an essential thing if you drink tea with milk which lots of British people do we think of UHT milk as kind of a bit weird for me anyway it reminds me of rationing and world war ii and like when I think of when I think of long life milk that's what I think of but but long life milk is like really really popular here and fresh milk is not that popular so finding it is really hard and I remember just saying to my partner just like what do they drink like what what's going on what are they doing and uh it's you can actually find it in lots and lots of places but I think when those little things mount up when you move to a new country you kind of just like completely perplexed and confused about like whether everything you do back home is completely crazy and the more I think about it I think it is kind of crazy how much how much fresh milk and dairy we consume is very different and the other thing that's different here is how um in the UK a lot of ingredients from all over the world and all over Europe are insanely cheap now that I look back and like you go to Tesco's in the UK you buy ingredients from all over the place and what that means is probably that someone is getting a really bad deal some farmer or someone is getting a really really bad deal in Portugal like native ingredients things that are grown here are pretty cheap and very very affordable but if you try and shop just like you do in the UK I'm gonna go and get some mozzarella I'm gonna go and buy this and that like it gets very very expensive and to me that makes more sense now like you should be paying a lot less for things that are grown here and if you're going to import something from somewhere else it's going to cost you a bunch of money and that took a while to kind of adjust like our shopping costs went up hugely because we was just shopping like we lived in the UK yeah also the other thing is that there's other stuff grows here than just turnips right so there's you can buy lots of good stuff in the UK I mean what actually grows in the soil of the UK is not much potatoes turnips even potatoes are great here yeah I thought potatoes are good in the UK and here they're always very very tasty so but that's the thing in the UK as well like even though even though yeah it is cheaper like the mozzarella here or something it actually comes from Italy in in the UK I'm not complaining because I actually really liked you know Sainsbury's Marks and Spencer's you know like Tesco but you have the actual supermarket brands and then if you taste it it doesn't taste as good right like Tesco mozzarella Sainsbury's or you know a Tesco tomatoes it's so there's almost no flavor in them right like in here you have a tomato salad and you really taste the tomato it's very different one thing I've really really noticed is very different here is eggs I'd like to know what the deal is with eggs because eggs here are really really good but they just they just taste really good and so I'm horrified to figure out what's happening in the UK that has caused eggs to not have much flavor so yeah I don't know what type of chickens they have in the UK well okay yeah all right well there you go that's food so obviously food and the weather vital vital subjects and I'm going to flip back to Sam though because you came you came a long way and you know after the initial shock uh you know of what where are all the things I want to have and what has been the sort of the big pleasant surprises the when I think about how I spend my time here compared to how I spend my time back in Austin um one of the things I love about the time zone in particular is that uh it's forced me to actually spend my mornings in something of a reflective and focused way and that's really opened up something that has changed a lot since work from home but I've started to really love where all of the one-on-ones I have with people now I do out in the city of Lisbon and because the weather is always perfect you can do that you can have an outdoor cafe for your one-on-one and Lisbon's kind of become this movable feast of uh one-on-ones in the mornings when again because of the time zone you have the time to actually have a deep conversation with someone but because it's Lisbon it's in one of the most beautiful places in the world with incredible weather and you're actually getting to enjoy the city I also I don't I guess I never really thought about just how much growing up in a place like Austin in Texas it's big news when you meet people from other states most people especially in a place like Texas you kind of stick around and here in the last two days alone I have gotten to enjoy lunch with someone from Germany got a coffee with someone from the UK we had green juice with someone from Italy I welcomed someone from Taiwan by way of the US or US by way of Taiwan it's just feels like a place where there's there's all these kind of people from all over the world and the Portuguese people neighbors the co-workers teammates have been so welcoming just to make it that type of environment where you feel like you're and it just still feels magical to me walking from one one-on-one with someone from Portugal talking about both work and being in Lisbon and how Lisbon's changed over the years to walking to get lunch with someone from Armenia who's we're also talking about our experience as being kind of new to a completely different country that's also been very welcoming to us so those those little walks between one-on-ones that I really have started to love because this is just a totally new experience for me to get to be in a different place meeting people from all over and people from Lisbon and wider Portugal and that's been just terribly enjoyable.
I think one thing that's really struck me is that you know the first few months you get used to look you know a place you're living and understanding more about the culture and also basic things like where you can get plungers from and fresh milk and all these kind of things right and then you get sort of deeper in you get to know people and it becomes you know it becomes a deeper understanding of the place and I've lived in a few different countries and I actually think it takes a good year at least to start to feel like yeah okay I really kind of understand how this goes and then probably two years before you feel like yeah I live here in a deep sense but this year went haywire because of Covid right so right in the middle of this adjustment period we suddenly were all sent home and I was saying to my wife that I'm so glad I got stuck here and not stuck in the UK because I feel like the Portuguese government and particularly the Portuguese people and I think you know maybe Joanna and Silvia and Isabel can talk about this they just sort of got on with it it was like oh we're gonna have to all work from home and everyone's gonna have to wear masks and you sort of felt like everyone's like okay we'll do that then and the only thing I saw the only sort of disturbing situation I saw at all was the amount that people bought right at the beginning of the lockdown I went and I was in this long line outside Pinguidos and there was yeah we're all spaced apart everyone was unsure about what was happening I had a big shopping list I swear there were little old ladies coming out with must have 10 kilograms of baklava all sliced up and and I learned more from watching them but I don't know how other people have felt the you know those of you who are Portuguese and those who've moved here that this situation of actually confronting this very difficult situation has been has been for me it's fascinating to watch and contrast with I think what's happening in the UK yeah definitely because like baklava has so much history right and you can cook 63 different dishes with it and you can literally buy the whole cod they cut you down you yeah and then you just save it it's it's it's very easy to to cook with it and and it has a lot of variety so I know I bought I bought lots of baklava as well my grandma we all did it was it was just the obvious thing instead of everyone probably went with tuna cans and tuna beans in the rest of the world we like to cook and we like good food we're not gonna change that just because of some virus we're gonna just make it all at home you know so yeah I think definitely and apart from that like I think a lot of people bought so much like potatoes and things and what my grandmother said is like this is not the first time that Portugal has been in a crisis we are always you know living in this way so I think we're just so used to it you know oh it's because the economy and there's not a lot enough money or it's because of the second world war or it's because this virus now it's there's always something that Portuguese are like okay what's now okay let's just get some cod let's just start ourselves out and we felt like that there was a guy in front of me when I was cleaning up in this thing he had literally baklava toilet paper and superbok that's what you need that was his plan for the next three months this is not a bad plan you're just some rice or potatoes and you'll be you'll be you'll be fine but it's very you watch this sort of reaction I know Simon or Sam how you feel about it but it's just it feels very well organized and communicated every day about what's been going on yeah I think it's been very measured like at least that was my feeling and and I'm I feel similar to other people the other thing that's good about Lisbon is there is outside space in a lot of apartments because the weather's so good and you compare that to London so actually we were saying myself my partner like we're just so lucky to be locked down here I think similar to what you were saying John like having this outside space is has made a massive difference to how I feel about this situation I feel much more positive and comfortable because there's there is space and I can go out and get fresh air there's also all these wonderful viewpoints that you can go to and visit and I think there's a lot less of that when I think about what it would be like in London to be locked down so I definitely feel super lucky I can't claim to have planned it that way but I also think yeah the way the government has handled things here is has been quite clear and also quite aggressive in a good way I mean like they locked things down very quickly they were very decisive and also when they lifted restrictions in the last month or so there's been different kind of outbreaks of cases and they've been adapting so they haven't been afraid to change or reverse things whereas I feel in other countries maybe there's a lot of dithering and indecision I think what I would say is Portugal has been very decisive and that's that's really y'all y 'all also have people who care about each other yeah you tell a bunch of Texans to stay inside and they treat it like a dare like yeah I'm gonna see they're like teenagers like all whereas here you tell you know the folks in the area like hey staying inside is good for everybody and people nod they're like okay like it might be boring but this is what's best for the people around me and not just the people I love but the people who live down the street from me the people who live in the neighborhood next to me or the neighborhood after that and that to me has been so baffling in the best way because it's Texas things are not that great right now and so much of it is just because there's the something of a farce of rugged individualism sometimes translates into this idea that well I don't care about anyone but me so I'm gonna go to the bowling alley but but there's a difference there you know it's not just because it's Austin or it's because it's Portugal it's because for example in Lisbon in Portugal there's a lot of old people you know there is a huge the percentage of you know the people over 60 is higher than in Austin you know in Austin there's so many young people there you know it's a university city there's so many youngsters there that are too immature and in here the percentage of older people is actually higher than the percentage of younger because a lot of people actually left the country that's why the whole government is trying to bring people back and because we are aware we are aware that our grandparents are here our parents are here you know the people who really care and are very in danger with the situation everyone is way more careful you know because we know that it will and it can affect severely if we act that way in Austin there's all these kids that went there for university there's all these hipsters and so on it doesn't mean that they are you know crazy they're just immature they are in a place that they don't realize that it's a true reality they think it's crazy and they're young and they want to party and it's just normal for their age right even though it's silly but they are the population it's much younger so that's why they act that way but of course like there's other places in the world like New York or in California that people honestly believe it isn't a thing but that's a completely different subject it's we need to realize as well the you know the ages of each place you know but I also think it's a cultural thing that that we have I don't know if you if you agree with you especially you Sylvia and Joana who are Portuguese but I think that's something that is very cultural is that Portuguese people they tend they are concerned about others they like to please and they really think what others think of us and I think that the clear example that you have of that even before a pandemic and all of that is just try to be a foreign people in a city and go to a coffee and ask for directions you will have like 12 people ready to help you so it's something very cultural and we we tend to respect rules also so so all right so when I before we moved here I went around and I asked everybody who I was meeting what is going to surprise me about Portugal what is different about Portugal that I'm not going to expect I tried to get people to sort of talk about what they thought the the sort of differences that from their perspective so I'm going to ask all of you is like what has been the surprise or what we how would you answer that question so I'm going to start Isabel Isabel what you're going to surprise someone moving to Portugal I think that it's the the variety of things that you can see nearby just focusing on Lisbon you can be in the center of the city and you can find an old city with a few monuments then you can go to Sindra and you can find it's like a fairy fairy tale place like so with all the green and everything and then you go to and then you go to a beach so and it's it's all in the same it's it's all nearby so you can find several several very different places to visit that you feel like you are in different countries almost without living the same place yeah what about a bad thing or a surprising negative thing right I know that I know that asking Portuguese person to criticize Portugal is that's one of the things I've learned is like this is a very very patriotic group of people is a thing that isn't perfect let's put it out I hate the post here it takes so long the post the post office where you can get anything delivered in this country and then the fact is like oh yeah uh you will receive a delivery from 8 a.m to midnight so so what time we don't know you just need to stay at home and wait and sometimes they don't even come and you're like oh my god all right I agree the postal service is interesting because I thought Royal Mail was terrible in the UK and I now need to apologize to Royal Mail because it actually turns out it's completely amazing and and the CTT is a little bit let's just say it's variable in its service sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not okay so that's we've got one slight problem Joanna what about what would you tell people is good and bad what are the sort of surprises they're going to encounter coming to coming to Portugal yeah I think the good I think it was perfectly summarized by Isabel it's just have everything around very accessible and again the weather I would say the bad is a bit in line with what Sylvia said the bureaucracies in general the administration in general is just so inefficient and yeah I would say these are the two things yeah yeah I must say that getting water connected to our apartment with IPAO was very interesting they're one of the it's old school it's very old school the way they do things you know can you fax us this thing or even better could you come with you know everything in triplicate as well that was that was a big surprise to me is like I'm so used to signing things online docusign and all this kind of stuff and then it's here it's like we need three copies yeah with actual signatures on them not photocopies like you need to sign them with wet signatures that was that was kind of a they love paper yeah Simon what's been your like biggest surprise biggest I don't know downside or I was gonna say things about the weather and stuff but that shouldn't be a surprise right it's a beautiful place and the weather is absolutely amazing I think the thing that I didn't really appreciate until having lived here for a while it's just how safe it is like how little crime there is relative to other places that I've lived and how that changes your mindset about how you live like there's this cognitive thing in the back of your head when you live in a big city like London or where I grew up you're always worrying about something like am I going to get mugged by this big group of menacing looking guys or when I'm in this pub is someone going to start a fight with me all of those things like those all occupy space in your brain and that just doesn't exist here and that's maybe that's because I don't understand what anyone's saying or doing innately perhaps they're all plotting to start a fight with me I just don't understand it but I think generally it's very safe and when I know we know our neighbors really well and I see how they behave with their children and locking the apartment doors or not as the case may be like I can just tell that it's just a much much safer place and I think that that's really surprising on the positive side on the not so positive side I want to say one other thing actually that's really surprising and will interest the Calvert audience is how fast broadband can be installed the Internet the Internet so I think we went into Vodafone one day and said yeah can we get broadband I was expecting it to be a huge palaver like it is in the UK and take weeks and months and all sorts of stuff they came the next day and they put fiber optic into the apartment and it's I don't know whether it's one gigabit or half I don't know what it is but it's really fast really fast and it came in the next day which is ridiculous compared to the UK I had that experience I went with Sylvia to get Internet for my face and the woman says I'm sorry we can't install it today and I was like what are you talking I was expecting like three weeks and a guy not turn up and you know all this kind of stuff she said that because I asked him too is that like can you do it today it's just like no we can do it tomorrow is that okay I'm like yeah okay fine that's true Internet is very very very good here yeah and I think that's the other point about bureaucracy and stuff I would say some things are not as bureaucratic compared to other countries and that's probably the experience for anyone like some things are very very slow which you don't expect to be and some things are very very fast like so it's kind of for me it evens out when I look at it the thing I would say is driving here driving style here I feel like speeding in the city here is much more of an issue compared to the UK like in the UK we're very quite strict about not that everyone obeys it but there's kind of a common knowledge that like you need to keep your speed down in the city I would say that is not a thing in Lisbon and in Portugal in general driving driving style is much more aggressive so you have to drive a lot more defensively here even the queues you know the queues on the tube like in England everyone is super organized or queues in some place in here everyone is just everywhere I agree with that yeah yeah Simon about the aggressive because I don't find the driving aggressive I actually think in the UK there's a lot of aggression on the roads if you get on a motorway people drive up behind you and flash their lights and all this kind of stuff and we have cameras everywhere in you can't speed because you're going to get pulled you know you're going to get a ticket the thing I've really noticed is I feel like people know the rules of the road and they sort of just kind of forget them and it's not aggressive or it's almost like they're thinking about something else and so you sort of have to be on the watch out for somebody might change lanes and then and not as fast kind of like oh yeah oh yeah you were there and that's the one thing I've noticed it's not quite that same sort of anger I feel like in England it's very angry on the roads so you know you're in my way aggressive is probably the wrong word it's more like people drive quickly here and they expect you to move out of the way like if they're going somewhere yeah out of the way what I think is really interesting is yeah people drive quite quickly they they use their brakes very quickly so they brake very very sharply for red lights and stuff and then when the light turns green it takes them about five seconds to react which I always find fascinating because it's like you were clearly in a hurry but when the lights are green you weren't really ready so like there's a it's just very different to me right there's there's just two things I would like to to point out about uh inventions here which I miss them also a lot one was mbway for payments immediately mbway for the multi-bunker shadow yeah the second thing is via verde so it's uh for the tolls yeah I mean it's it's I still don't have it I'm again it's taking ages to register my car but um but it's these two things are really really good in Portugal I would say yeah I agree I agree that the mbway thing and if you haven't read Sam's blog post explaining to us how mbway works it's very clever because it allows you to pay for something without giving your card number that's it's really really cool and also I've I've used the thing where you can get cash out of a cash machine without your card just because it seems like magic it's like you do something on your phone the cash machine money comes out of it in front of you so that that's kind of cool and the road the infrastructure for the highways with the toll system is really really slick yeah all right I'm going to switch gears we've only got about nine minutes left I want you each to say why people should come and work for Cloudflare we talked a lot about Portugal why should you come work for Cloudflare in Lisbon why is it the best office because it obviously is um you know why should you fly here to give us your pitch Sylvia you're on the top left give us your pitch um I think our team is incredible I honestly think I think uh we because most of us actually are from other countries or even from Portugal we have this connection that it's great right like we are so willing to help people who are not from Portugal and and the people who are not they're so fascinated by it and it's it's so pleasing to see how someone gets so excited when instead of giving a getting a huge pint of beer they get something small and they're like whoa what is this you know it's just so exciting you know being around you know our team I think all of us individually are so great and so different at the same time and uh apart from having you know the head of office being so great as well and supportive strong by the way like I think it's everything even like when we got our first coffee machine it was so exciting you know it's just uh everyone is so friendly um the weather as well I think he helps and the food all of us going and getting food together because you can because it's not just a sandwich like in the rest of the world you can actually get a meal and enjoy and try new things and uh I think it's it's amazing because of that it's uh it's very it's very open and um and we all have a great sense of humor all right I'm going to go the other way around so Joanna you're next you've been in the company a short period so you've seen it as a new person coming in so what is it that makes you think people should come join you yeah so first of all the business is doing great so uh we I think it's it's uh it's good to be in a place where we we know we can grow it has legs to walk as we say in Portuguese uh it has future basically that's what it means um then we are really in a premium location in terms of our offices we're hoping not to move uh that's another thing no I mean because those offices are always in great locations right that's the really the how we really think they've been very central yeah yeah uh and to reinforce the idea that I think Portuguese people are very welcoming and very curious about other nations other cultures other things uh and so besides all the rest we've already mentioned it's really really I mean I'm suspicious because I'm Portuguese but uh it's really really a great place to live a great company so far to be in uh everyone has been fully even during the recruitment process I could already feel that so everyone steps in to do things that they would not probably do in other uh companies just for the sake of being there for each other uh for one another and that's a really good thing about Cloudflare culture that I've experienced so far great all right Simon you're up next well I would say it's the perfect blend of a really enormous company now that's doing really exciting and incredible things and capable of doing those things like when I joined in seven years ago we always wanted to do the things that we're doing now but when you're smaller you kind of can't do them now now we're able to do the things that we really want to do but you're joining a very small intimate team that really know each other well and you're going to go on this enormous journey and see this team as we said like we're about 45 people if we include the people who've accepted not started yet by the end of the year we're going to be at 80 you're going to see this incredible journey and you're going to be part of that and I think that is what is really unique about coming to join Cloudflare in Lisbon it's what Cloudflare is doing and it's also the opportunity to be part of a small team in Cloudflare and shape it for the future all right Sam you're the next victim uh I I love that being part of that journey and I'll try to answer a question that came in from the audience as well that I think speaks to what's so special about Cloudflare Lisbon and that's an opportunity to work with people in other offices all around the world and some of the experts in whatever space or problem area you're investigating they're either next to you here in Lisbon or there's someone from another Cloudflare office that you get to connect to and also the types of engineering work that we're doing here whether it's the security team and the research that they do and the research team and what they look into or products like Argo Tunnel where we're thinking about how do you securely connect your servers to Cloudflare getting to be part of that global Cloudflare vision and working with these other offices but also working on the engineering problems that we're doing here side by side um now more in cafes than in offices that's what's so exciting about being part of Cloudflare Lisbon what do you think yeah go ahead yeah uh when I joined the Austin office is around the size we have in the Lisbon office now it's 30 something people and then two three years from then we in Austin we're like 300 almost 300 so it's just a very exciting phase to be in Lisbon's office and as someone that's been living on visa for past nine years I always have a fear of not being able to return to the U.S.
whenever I had to leave the country and when I came to Lisbon they didn't ask any question it was like 30 seconds and I'm in so yeah I just feel welcome here yeah that's very true that's very true and I what I think is interesting is that this is not a satellite office doing some add-on products or a little bit stuff you've got core stuff here so you know Simon is here running all of European technical support all right it's not just some little little thing here and Sam you're working on a thing we can't talk about but it launches pretty soon as a major thing for Cloudflare you know I mean this is this is a core engineering office because so you you're getting in on something that's small within a big context and doing core work I think that's that's really really exciting too you know I've got literally maybe a minute left Isabel give us your pitch on why people should work for Cloudflare and you're a recruiter so I bet you've got this down pat okay so I'll try to to resume I think it's a very inclusive company and everyone is really concerned in making sure that every single one feels welcome and that they have their own place in the company so it's something that it's clear once you join Cloudflare the other thing is that you have space to to create to do new things you are not put in a box you have the opportunity of do basically whatever you want almost so you have the opportunity to make a difference while Lisbon you are in an amazing company in a big company that has lots of things structured while having the opportunity of building something new of growing a brand new office almost new office absolutely and Cloudflare.com slash careers if you're interested select Lisbon on the drop down and take a look at what's available I'm going to run out of time so just say thank you to everybody thank you Chung Ting for getting off a plane from Taiwan and joining us that's fantastic and welcome I hope I get to meet you in person at some point thank you Sam, Simon, Joana, Isabel, Silvia for being part of this and we'll celebrate I mean we would have celebrated with a party but that's not allowed so we'll celebrate one year in Lisbon now with a special hangout on Cloudflare TV thank you very much everybody, boa tarde, muito obrigado