Originally aired on March 27 @ 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM EDT
Human-interest segment asking Cloudflare employees what their first Internet experience was and how it informed them joining Cloudflare. Dial-up modems, bulletin boards, punch-cards, Twitch, Twitter and more.
This week's guest: VB Malik, Partner Solutions Architect at Cloudflare
Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to episode 32 of Dial Up Motive. I'm your host Dan Hollinger dialing in from the Bavarian coast. With me today I have VB Malik coming in from I think St. Louis. Awesome. And so on this show if you've never caught it before first of all thank you for dialing in whether you're catching this live or one of our many recordings you know glad to have you here on episode 32. The goal of this show is we chat with Cloudflare employees about some of their earliest Internet experiences you know some of those definitive moments that we all had depending on when we jumped on the Internet that really helped guide us into the careers we have today and particularly here working at Cloudflare where everyone's trying to help build a better Internet and connect our customers and partners to a better Internet. So I've already introduced myself I'm happy to hand it off to VB and would you mind giving a quick intro and you know the work you're doing today at Cloudflare. Absolutely Dan. Hey everyone so my name is VB Malik I am a partner solutions architect within our global partner organization here at Cloudflare. What that means is I work with our customers, enterprise customers, business customers to you know support all the products that Cloudflare sells from application services to Zero Trust services to our developer services and helping our partners scale as our customers and enterprises are moving towards cloud and very distributed architectures. Awesome and how long have you been orange clouded so far? Yeah I've been very new so it's only been a month here and I'm so glad that Dan I get to do this show with you. It's kind of surreal as well getting in front of our own customers as well as our you know colleagues as well here and you know having this session with you. So what I'm afraid of is you're gonna just hand me a list of feature requests for all of our partners and then I'm gonna have to go through them you know live on the air and like no backlog backlog okay we can do that one I want to do that one. Yeah no having heard everything that what you have been doing I'm sure you know we'll find a common ground and work through that so yeah. Awesome well glad to have you here at Cloudflare and glad to have you on the partner team and you know I'm happy to jump right in and start going you know through the nostalgia trip that is our lives on the Internet. You know as you can see from the background behind me this was really the era I grew up in and kind of compact, backyard bell, kind of gateway days, the joystick and the floppy disks and you know CD-ROMs and just kind of the very beginning of 56k modems and the Internet as it is today. You know I see a you know your diagram behind you I can't imagine that's when you started but you know I'd love to learn what what what early era did you jump into the Internet on. Yeah yeah so thanks for bringing this up because you know as I was starting to get ready for the show itself I wanted to you know have this kind of a picture which you know kind of new to me as well you know something that I saw a few years back and I was so astonished and surprised to see what Internet was supposed to be you know as it was you know starting to come about and this is one of the pictures you know from the early days of Internet which you know for me you know I growing up I didn't knew what it was you know supposed to be from the university research days and things like that. So I grew up in 80s and 90s you know I'm an 80s kid overall and for me you know I feel Internet it's kind of a parallel world with me and like most of us you know we are living in the day of Internet now but for most of us it's like a parallel world that came about like a kind of an you know a parallel cousin with us you know who is coming about the same age as us itself. For me when I you know I started to get to know Internet I guess before that even you know for me early 90s it was you know discovering you know computers in general you know computers on you know I still remember the days assemble those computers by you know ourselves you know doing putting up the hard disk and all of those things and where it was much more like a physical relationship overall with the computers and all and by the time I started you know discovering Internet and everything that came along it was by the time a very surreal experience but it was a very frustrating experience because it was too slow you know the Internet was too slow and the kind of the things that we used to do on the Internet were very limited in that sense overall. So yeah. Yeah I don't know if some of our you know younger viewers even realize you know watching you know streaming video at such a quick pace on all of their devices sharing social media instantly you know having ubiquitous connectivity none of that existed you know the way you phrased it I think was really well done of you know this was an alternate world you know you came home from school or you you had it available at campus you dialed in like that was your you accessing this totally separate environment that you know was painfully slow at best you'd get some text you know the more images and like I think this was early flash image days at least for me you know all of that just took time to load and you know that's that's arguably where I got my patience from that has been doing wonders as I raised my kids. I don't know about you if you developed a healthy sense of patience from your your dial-up days. Yeah I mean I think that the kind of things that we have gone through with Internet I think it's a totally different experience that our kids are now living in right now they have iPads and things like that you know all the time with them for us it was a very different experience altogether because you know for us it was a kind of a novel concept overall on how we looked at these kind of things you know for us for at least for me you know I can say that when Internet started itself you know I grew up in India you know I grew up in India and I lived 22 years of my life in India and in India itself you know Internet we've believed it's for the richest of the countries out there you know it's not maybe for for the countries you know who do not have that means like I still remember if I look back like Internet came in India in like late 90s or so you know starting getting into the which for India itself it was very expensive to even get Internet overall you know and then even if you can get Internet you know we can never get Internet at our homes or so you know we used to go to these you know cyber cafes and you know these fancy places to actually access the Internet you know and for us Internet was nothing but a big encyclopedia overall where we can access this information and you know okay instead of me looking at an encyclopedia book or something I need to now go you know all these things that we look at on that reservations you know these come very later in our lives you know on how we looked at it was just a form of either entertainment going to yahoo or rediff or mail you know doing going into these chat rooms to just communicate with people they were so fascinating for us you know to take a look at oh can you talk to these people across the globe in a chat room somewhere and that was like how can this be possible but there was a lot of reservation I believe as well at that time where we thought it's just a fad you know this will go away you know this is you know this is something that will not sustain for the longest time not like not only for us I think for the longest time you know a lot of people had this concern even like in the late 90s or so by the time I believe you know after dot com and a lot of proliferation of you know the websites of online shopping and things you know starting to come about there was still some kind of sense that we could make out of it okay this is where it's going this is where it can go the the kind of you know things but in the early Internet days it was it was too much of and at that time it was more about I believe connectivity itself it was never in that days it was about oh this thing can be breached as well this thing can be hacked as well you know I mean there were people I'm sure criminals and hackers and whenever the new technology comes they always had this you know they are always at the forefront of the technology you know of all these people but for us at that time it was just merely about connectivity and less about security in that sense oh yeah I mean it was the wild west back then like security was was an afterthought and you know compared to just how many people can we get connected who can we connect to you know which is one of the reasons Cloudflare is even in business is because we're trying to make sure that you know it's not an afterthought anymore and you know I'm curious you mentioned Internet cafes was was that a key part of your your social life growing up like were there elements of like yep we're gonna go to the Internet cafe and hang out on the Internet or you know see who's on the chat rooms what did that look like for you yeah it was it was just certainly like that you know one obviously you know parents were concerned by why we were you know in the cyber cafes in these chat rooms and whatnot and then for us it was like a way to you know express ourselves you know be you know in these chat rooms you know talk to some people make pen friends at that time you know we were sending like I remember some of my relatives who were outside my cousins and all in London or wherever you know I was sending e -greetings to them and things like that that we used to do you know all those kind of things so but I think my relationship I started you know feeling when I was like in my high school or so and uh you know my interest towards you know computers I was doing html coding you know I was doing you know starting to put up web pages around and things like that and I was like okay this thing you know seems cool and you know when you're doing all these things you feel like oh I'm the kid overall right and uh you know I remember I still remember you know I took up a subject which was all about you know I was really into into more into the formal software side of the house but more into the hardware world overall and I took up a subject which was into you know resistors and transistors and capacitors and I just fascinated me you know how these things work and somebody asked me hey do you want to be in the software side or hardware side I would say I'm a hardware guy you know I want to be so that itself you know I you know I started poking around with resistors and capacitors and all these things and I said maybe I want to become an electronics guy you know and things like that I never you know in our dream we knew that everything is gonna become you know this you know software we're gonna rule the world and you know I just took up a subject in in my in my engineering I went into my engineering uh and I took electronics and communication engineering and there itself you know with this whole um you know shifted me towards you know communications telecommunications your wi -fi all these technologies which you know which which ultimately you know became the better part of you know the broadband services the cable modems and you know later on the the 2gs and 3gs and 4gs of the world later on and one thing I always enjoy especially about those early days you know you were able to very easily take apart you know a website and say great here's the html here's the css you know this was free css back then um you could easily go into your your computer tower and be like yeah I need more ram I need a new modem like that was so accessible that in some ways we've we've lost that as we've moved to tablets as we've moved to these very unified devices that are very powerful you know I'm I'm worried in some ways other than you know for my daughters that I can't just open up like all on my desktop and be like yep let's put in some new ram let's put in a new graphics card but I think that exposure to how easy it was to disassemble and then reassemble something spurred a lot of passion and you know future engineer yourself saying great I'll keep tinkering with this I want to learn more how does this resistor work how does this when you put it all together turn on a screen or connect me to the Internet and I think those are fascinating pieces of history that you know in some cases I have to rebuild or rebuild in a different way you know using the microcomputers that are now available in cheap and you know all the raspberry pies but you know can you tell me more about you know how you continue to use the Internet kind of throughout your university days and particularly your the first job you got out of college yeah so so so initially like I said you know for in in so I grew up in India and in India it's it's generally you know Internet was majorly used for the biggest of the business cases that we had right not business cases or personal use cases okay hey I need to go and download this particular form which is only available online or I need to go and see a certain results of a you know an application that I get and that's only available online so those were the kind of things that we were doing other than the entertainment kind of you know the things that we support we were all doing at that time but I believe for me Internet became much more substantial when I came to us here you know for me to connect back to family you know doing you know even if the Internet was still horrible even at that time you couldn't do a lot of skype video calling like what we are doing right now today but in general like when I came to us in 2010 right and at that time in India still you know we were we were we were having quite decent overall connections but nothing compared to what we have today and over here I feel you know when I saw like in us it's probably leapfrogged you know in terms of what India was doing in general at that time you know the kind of things like I was doing at university looking at online you know courses and things like that you know even at that time it was it was fascinating you know we were doing so much over here on Internet than what we were doing in India and you know here I actually went for my master's and I came for computer networking itself so you know in my four years of university one thing I made sure was something that I wanted to do with my career is going to computer networking going to you know this world of you know communication in general and I came here for my master's and I took a bunch of courses that really you know you know opened up a different meaning for me like I went into the deep nets of packets and frames and protocols to BGPs and you know SSL and everything that we know of in this day and age is something that you know I went deep into those things you know I took up a course I remember still you know our famous professors Kevin Epperson you know class Internet routing protocols and that just opened up so many doors for me in terms of you know what we can do with this but also you know at the same time showed me that what this thing is becoming and what it can become and what we need to do to protect this thing as well in terms of security in terms of so many implications regulations you know how this whole thing is turning out to be so that just you know in the last whatever years and after you know my master's you know I went into the into the you know the the managed hosting company which is all nothing but providing you Internet services to largest of the enterprises out there and that's how whole my you know journey in the last decade itself before I now come to cloud where to now build a better Internet for for for the world out there is it's kind of a like a surreal experience overall yeah yeah it's it's always funny like looking back and try to connect the dots of like you know this this early moment and then you know that's one of the things that spurred this show is you know this early moment of like I fell in love with with x on the Internet or learning about this technology led to me like yeah you know computer science so let's go do that and then diving to like okay well I need a master's or I need to learn more which leads to you know your first job then your second job and ultimately continuing down that that line and you know because you're just continue to be curious and one thing that's you touched on that I think it's always been fascinating is you know understanding that early on people didn't couldn't go to the Internet for information you know you had to go to the book you had to go to the library and like what what is this html thing what is this hardware thing and at some point there was that just sudden transition of like no I can go to a website for this I can go to wikipedia you know right right around the time teachers were like no you can't source wikipedia for any of your your articles or any of your essays even though that was becoming a very good source at the time and so it's you know fascinating to see and practically from your perspective going from a hosting provider and seeing how much the Internet has just grown how much connectivity has just grown um can you can you speak on that or or how that's that's changed absolutely so so I work for the largest service provider here in you know for the for the good eight years or so and you know for for us we we obviously had a lot of customers who were still using Internet di Internet access and everything you know overall but at the same time for the longest time that we know of in in 2000s and you know 2010 to now the previous decade itself where most of the customers still relied upon you know private connectivity because they just couldn't you know be on the Internet you know for the things you know one obviously for the performance reason second of all for the security reasons you know and you know for the so they they you know a lot of the service providers itself have built you know private connectivity lines which takes a lot of their traffic either they want to connect all their office locations or whether they want to go on the Internet itself and those has been very legacy way of doing the things now we look at legacy but at that time it was the only way and that is the only way you know most of these enterprises could literally be on the on the network otherwise you know they couldn't even you know one like i said you know on the Internet for performance reasons and then for security reasons so for the longest time most of the office enterprises built upon this vision of having a private networking through the mpls lines that these service providers you know built upon and now when we look at it you know the way our world has shifted um i always say one thing right that if you look at this thing right from the last 25 plus years that you know we have been using Internet there has never been a time which we all took it for granted we took it for granted yes this is the thing you know you know i call this concept overall like you know electricity overall right that this is there okay we live through it and that's fine but now i believe there always in in one lifetime there comes a time and for us it just became the pandemic right that everybody shifted towards understanding what this could become and what this has to be you know and that just totally changed the meaning for not only like private users like us but also for the largest of the enterprises out there they just couldn't do the things that they were doing from last 10 20 years and for them you know how they have been consuming the applications either the sas applications or the public applications or even the private applications that just couldn't you know beer up the load through the private connectivities that they have been doing you know having tromboning the traffic to you know you know your employees your customers your end partners hated what you were doing overall and that's where i felt that a lot of enterprises who were a step ahead they realized this change maybe few years back but now every single enterprise is out there is trying to understand yes we have to you know make ourselves productive yes we have to do all these things but also at the same time if we move from those legacy applications you know mpls private lines towards this new way of doing things through the Internet itself how can we more be more protective how can we be more secure and i believe in the last whatever five seven plus eight years you know what i've been doing in my past companies and what i'm now here pursuing here at Cloudflare is you know helping our enterprise customers to be more safe more more secure in using the Internet itself and those could be either through our Zero Trust services which zero trust is another word of not trusting you know not trusting and not having that implicit trust you know making sure that you know not using those legacies ways of you know tying your infrastructure through ips itself but having more into a kind of an identity-based model approach is transforming them yeah and yeah i think it's it's fascinating you know all of these companies as they were going about they wanted all the benefits of the Internet while still having the ability to control you know traffic access and that worked very well when the Internet was you know younger smaller you still had a contained workforce you know most people were dialing in from the office and so the pandemic then came in and blew most of that up you know movement to the cloud and all these digital transformations blew it up to some degree and so as you mentioned the digital digital natives kind of saw this coming to some degree they're like yeah i already have a global workforce that are mostly dialing into my meetings or in the internal applications but the rest of the world is now starting to see it or really have that lever pulled during the pandemic and what i think i think was fascinating is you know mentioned early that the Internet was always this kind of external world this third world or second world that you connected into but during the pandemic it really started to merge more heavily like that was how you celebrated birthdays that was how my grandchildren talked to their grandparents like there there was that blending of this digital world was now much more front and center and important for how people lived how people worked um you know allowing them to connect to each other when most people have to try to stay at home for you know the health and safety of others and you know what we've seen here at Klappler having kind of a front row seat to to this continued evolution is probably what continued merger and continued simplification in many ways of what the Internet was trying to do and what it needs to be doing in the future absolutely absolutely yeah and i'm you know i'm optimistic about the future about what it is gonna have in terms of what what the Internet can do and at the same time little you know i won't say concerned but little in terms of all the new technologies of ai and machine learning and things you know the greatness that it will bring and the kind of you know the threats it will bring along with us and those are the ones that we at loud player and in general at the global Internet community itself needs to be aware about all those threats from quantum computing to all those things that are coming along with now chat gpt open ai is cyber crypto and whatnot all these things you know will become much more inclusive into our lives you know we have already seen a lot of these things in you know entering into our homes in terms of you know iots and you know whatnot and you know you know how the future is going to look like we we all need to you know come together to make this you know i'll say again you know our Internet world a safer place overall and and with that you know in our last few minutes you know i'd love to learn what are you most excited about for the the future of the Internet either you know what some of the work cloud players doing some of the work that some of the other major Internet or technology providers are doing and what's the most exciting thing for you and particularly what speaks to some of the the work you've been doing or some of the things from your early Internet yeah you know i've always felt Internet itself brings a lot of equitable and diversity across the world overall you know bringing you know people together and i i still feel there are you know on the Internet no one knows no no one knows you're a dog on the Internet you know yeah but at the same time you know we we at you know some of the developed world overall we feel fortunate but there are still many many parts of the world which do not have even access to the Internet out there you know and i feel that bringing that Internet to a lot of people around the world is definitely you know something that i feel will bring more equitable opportunities for people to you know be on the Internet do the kind of things that maybe people only in the developed world can do you know that is something i really you know want in the next coming few years that that becomes much more you know transparent to the people as well other things i believe overall that you know cloud players you know truly and you know before you know joining Cloudflare i always felt a lot of companies have these taglines just for the bare walls itself where you know we are doing this or we are doing that and then when i started you know in the last month itself and even before that with my research you know during the interviews and all i was like okay they say it's making a Internet a better place how how how is exactly that gonna happen all right what exactly is happening and as i started learning about all these things with the kind of you know the innovations that Cloudflare has done towards Internet or the kind of things that it is providing you know even for our the most you know uh organizations across the world itself you know either be those government organizations or the the organizations which cannot speak for themselves you know in those cases what it has done to actually provide those kind of means towards you know making this Internet a safer place is something i i'd love to be a part of an organization which is doing that and be a small part into that yeah so so you found in your time here that we we try to live the mission as much as possible compared to some other companies that you know used to try to not be evil but you know it may be changed or some of the other models that are painted on a wall look good on a a brochure but are not actually lived day in day out by by the company or the employees so it's good to hear that you know we're holding to our sincerity yeah yeah i'm loving it so um in general you know you know i think this is a fascinating topic and we can go for hours and hours on this one but you know just to you know level set overall that you know as you know our famous ceo you know says matthew that Internet was you know what it has become today you know it's it's it was not meant to be you know for this kind of thing and now it has since you know we have been using it daily not only for our personal reasons for our office reasons for corporate reasons and whatnot it's it's our global duty to you know make it you know protective and safer and secure so that we can do whatever we want to do on this on this beautiful place and i i mean i love what you said about just equitability of of the Internet and ultimately the the more people that are able to log in or they're able to join some of these global conversations um the more inputs and perspectives that we have you know are vital to helping us solve some of the biggest problems you know we're facing as as humans on this planet and and this speaks to us building that second place you know that everyone's welcome to to jump into that forum you know and arguably here at Cloudflare we're trying to make that safer and better um provide more accessibility across the globe and you know it's been fascinating to to be a part of and you know glad to have you on board thanks a lot man thanks a lot for doing this all right so with that we're near the end of time i want to thank bb for for jumping in and volunteering to be on Cloudflare tv um for all my viewers thank you for for jumping in as well um we're hoping to continue the dial-up motive series over the next few months and we look forward to catching you next time the about you fashion platform has become the number one fashion platform in europe in the generation y and z it has been tremendously successful because we have built the technology stack from a commerce perspective then decided to also make it available to leading fashion brands such as marco polo tom taylor the founded and many other yeah and that's how scale was born what we see in the market is that the attack vectors are becoming increasingly more scaled distributed and complex as a whole we decided to bring on Cloudflare to ultimately have the best possible security tech stack in place to protect our brands and retailers we use the Cloudflare spot management rate limiting and graph as an extra layer of protection for our customers by tackling the major cyber threats that we see in the market ddos attacks credential stuffing at scalping bots what we see with a scalping bot here is that they are targeting high-end products and then buying them up within a few seconds that leaves the customer dissatisfied they will turn away and purchase somewhere else the product and thereby we have lost a customer generally before it could take maybe up to half an hour for a security engineer to handle ddos attacks now we are seeing that Cloudflare could help us to stop that in an automatic way Cloudflare helps us to bring the site performance to the best and ultimately therefore create even more revenue with our clients