Cloudflare TV

Founder Focus

Presented by Jade Wang, Matt Arbesfeld
Originally aired on 

Ilk is coming to the rescue of worried parents who need to find better/safer childcare solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic by creating childcare pods with certified teachers. This episode is a spotlight on its founding story.


Transcript (Beta)

And we're live. Alright, cool. Hi, I'm Jade and I run Cloudflare's startup program.

Welcome to another episode of Founder Focus where we shine the spotlight on stories of startup founders all over the world.

Today, we have Matt Arbesfeld, one of the founders of LogRocket.

Thank you for coming on our show. Thanks for having me, Jade.

Glad to be on. And for our audience members, if you have questions at any time, check out the email address down below.

There's also a phone number.

So if you have questions for Matt Arbesfeld, just write in your questions and we will talk about them at the end of the episode.

So very briefly, can you give us an overview of what LogRocket does?

Yeah, so LogRocket's a front-end monitoring product.

So we basically sit on a website application and capture sessions of what users do to help you better understand where they're struggling, if they run into errors, triage those errors more quickly.

So can you explain to our audience a bit about how that works?

Like how do you record the sessions? Yeah, that's a good question.

So we basically instrument the DOM of the page and then capture all the changes that happen to the DOM.

And then we send those to our server and then essentially recreate what the user was seeing when they ran into a problem.

So is there something that's stripped down to the client to do the recording?

Exactly. So generally, folks will integrate our NPM package and that will start to capture that DOM.

And then we have a dashboard, essentially, we can go and play back.

And then on the backend, we're runching a bunch of interesting analysis to detect where are users frustrated, what are issues that are impacting them, and then basically proactively surface those issues to customers.

So who are the folks who usually make the decision to purchase LogRocket?

Is it like a UI tester or QA people, or is it front-end developers? Yeah, so it tends to be usually front-end developers or managers in the organization who are running products.

But we also see some interest in product management, sometimes even support folks.

Anyone who really is building front-end applications or user-facing applications usually will find us through our blog and then reach out or start a trial with us.

So I'm curious, how far along are you on your startup adventure?

How long have you guys been around?

Yeah, we started, I guess, about five years ago. So it feels like it was just by anyone who started coming and say it goes really quickly.

So it feels like it just was yesterday.

But so we've probably been in the market about three, three and a half years.

We now have nearly 2,000 customers and that's growing quickly.

And so we're really excited by the traction and kind of the response from folks.

How did you come up with the idea in the early days? Was it something that you were solving for yourself at first?

Yeah, so really all, it was kind of a combination of a bunch of my previous experiences kind of converging together.

And in particular, the idea came where I was at another startup and I was responsible for the signup flow that users would go through.

And every now and then, maybe a couple of times a week, a user would have some sort of issue and just take a screenshot and send that to my CEO who would forward those issues to me.

And it's the worst feeling when you're that developer who just, you're pulling your hair out, trying to figure out what happened.

And if that happens to one user who's complaining, you imagine the thousands more who are also experiencing.

So there was that.

And then, Jade, we worked together at Meteor, obviously, which was kind of innovating in the front end space.

So it just felt like there was a lot of movement towards kind of front end, building applications, single page apps.

So sort of saw kind of that market shift and also that pain point and combined it together to what was the initial version of BlockRocket.

Thanks. Was the pain point that you were addressing at the time, sometimes it was hard to reproduce the error or the screenshot was kind of unclear how they got to that point?

Exactly. This particular app was a super gnarly Backbone .js application.

So there was tons of state, you're making network requests, and people would be on their mobile phone, so the network would drop.

So there was just so much going on in the front end that you couldn't figure it out.

And then on top of that, these tended to be less technical users.

So they themselves often didn't know what happened, or the screenshot would just be the error message, they couldn't open the JavaScript console.

So yeah, that was really the initial pain point.

As we've progressed throughout the years, a lot of what our focus has been is that, sure, some users will reach out with problems, but then there's so many users who are struggling, who you just don't even know about those problems.

So how can we use all the data we're collecting to actually proactively surface problems to users?

Now, we met a long time ago, back when we were both at Meteor, and I still remember playing Marble Drop, the mobile game that you had made.

Do you have the same set of co-founders?

How did you meet your team? Yeah, my co-founder and I, we actually grew up together.

So we were introduced about a month old, where our parents were friends, and then we really grew up together.

And really, our first business was in the third grade, where we basically identified a pain point that we were having where, I don't know if you remember, there were those kind of flip-up desks in school, where you keep all your stuff in the desk, and we'd have our water bottles on top of the desk, and you want to go to lift it up without the water bottle falling off.

So we would sell essentially duct tape holders for your water bottles that would secure the water bottle as you flipped up the desk, and we'd come in after school and trade it for lunch, ask for lunch in return for installing one of these devices.

So that was really our first foray into business and building and creating.

And I think in college, that manifested in building games and mobile apps, and then at some point realized business software is a really valuable place, and also had been in business and tech myself, so switched to it.

But throughout the time, I've just been interested in solving people's problems and identifying pain points that we can address.

But yeah, Ben, my co -founder, we worked on projects throughout the years, and it's helped that we have had such a good working relationship since the third grade.

Nice. Can you tell us a little bit about how the company's work culture has changed from the just the two of you to where you are today?

Yeah. Well, we no longer work in our basement, as we once did.

I guess we now do. We've kind of come full circle. But yeah, I think we still retain a lot of the values that Ben and I, when we first started the company, around one of our big things is thinking from first principles, so really understanding what we're trying to solve, what we're tackling a problem, focus.

I think where we really developed is that just broadening the kind of diversity of experiences, as we've moved from just an engineering team to a customer success team, and a sales team, and a marketing team, and knowing people bring different experiences to the table, and making sure to understand their experience and bring that into the fold when we're making decisions.

But I'd say for the most part, we've kept the same core values, really from day one to now.

And with COVID, obviously, things have evolved, but still doing our best to keep the company culture strong.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you look for in the employees that you're interviewing to kind of keep that company culture cohesive?

Yeah. You know, I think a lot of it is asking people, like the why behind their decisions.

And I think it's really interesting to just ask someone about what they did and keep asking, like, why, you know, what you're proud of.

And that's one of the, you know, one of the really important things we look for is really thinking through problems from the ground level.

We look for people with, like, who are very empathetic, and are good listeners, and good, you know, and usually that manifests in asking really good questions, and trying to understand, you know, where we're coming from, and what our goals are as a team.

And then just low ego, you know, I think people who, and this connects to those, but people who, they don't necessarily care, like, who's made the decision, but we just want to arrive at the best possible decision.

And, you know, like, the shared goals are more important than the individuals.

So are you, if you're currently hiring, do you want to make a hiring announcement to our audience?

Yeah, we have a lot of job roles on our website, you know, mostly based in Boston.

So, but yeah, definitely head over to And we're teams about 80 people now, and looking to, you know, more or less double next year.

So a lot of, a lot of exciting growth, and hopefully we'll be back in the office, you know, next year, if all, if all things work, work out in the world.

So speaking of going full circle back into the basement, can you tell us about, like, how you've been holding up in 2020, and any adjustments that you personally had to make, or have, have the company make as a whole?

Yeah, personally, I just read an article about, like, the pet boomer generation.

So my partner and I are proud, proud owners of a Labradoodle puppy, which has been a great quarantine thing to have.

You know, as a company, you know, I'd say really, it's about, like, ramping up our communication.

So in the past, you would just see each other at the water cooler, you know, we'd have lunch together, kind of harking back to our Meteor days was a big part of our culture.

So doing our best to kind of create that via more updates, more knowledge of what other teams are doing.

More kind of, yeah, cross functional sharing has been the biggest thing we've done.

But it's, you know, it's tough, it's not the same, you know, it, it definitely is a more individualistic type day when you're sitting at home, versus when you're in the company, versus in the office, and you have your teammates around you.

Well, how many, out of curiosity, how many employees do you currently have?

Yeah, we're about 80, 80 folks now.

So still, still small. And, you know, it's small enough, probably pre COVID, you'd know everyone and could recognize everyone.

And, and, you know, looking probably next year to about double or close to it.

So I'm still still small, but feels like a strong community.

How are people adjusting to, to working from home? Are a lot of people happy about it versus looking forward for the end to the end of it?

Yeah, it definitely varies. And I think, you know, if you have a lot of distraction at home, it can be super overwhelming, kind of based off of your, your situation at home.

And I think people just miss like, you know, one of the kind of common traits that I saw in all the past companies I've worked at is, it's just a group of good people that you build friendships, just because they're the kind of people you want to spend time with.

So I think it's, it's definitely affects people, you don't have like those friendships, where you just go take a walk after work, or, you know, eat lunch together, you know, go climbing, whatever people like to do, you have a lot less of that.

So I think kind of the same sort of like isolation that's affected people outside of the work environment, definitely.

Obviously, we're seeing that now. I think like, fortunately, there does, there's a light at the end of the tunnel at all this, which I think is helping, like if it was, oh, this is going to be happening indefinitely, I think it would be a lot different.

People would people would feel a lot differently about the whole situation.

Yeah, the the serendipity of casual conversations is definitely something that is hard to recreate in a virtual environment.


I've seen those apps that you're like a virtual character walking around, like a World of Warcraft type type thing.

I haven't tried those, but I'd be curious if those have worked for folks.

Just feels until we have like really good virtual reality, I think it's going to be augmented reality, I guess.

It seems difficult to, to recreate that environment.

Now, if you were in a magical Zoom call with a version of yourself from, say, you know, a year ago, or maybe even, maybe even like three years ago, can you tell me about how that conversation would go?

Hmm. Yeah, I feel like I, I would need to. I feel like there's a lot of paradox. Yeah, there's some paradox, I'd have to first read about and understand how time, how the threads of time, maybe I'd have to watch like Looper or something.

Or Primer. Primer, like one of those, I'd have to read up on my time travel knowledge.

And then probably there's like ways to exploit the stock market heavily.

So I'd have to, that would honestly probably be my focus is like, how can I benefit society and personally as much as possible by transferring information?

But no, in all seriousness.

Yeah, I probably, you know, I feel like there's everything you learn. You're like, if I should have done that six months ago, like whenever you make a mistake, especially just the time horizons, it takes a lot of time to learn things.

So I feel like when I look back six months, like how did I not think of doing this back then?

So there's a lot of those cases that I probably would try to convince myself three, four years ago.

Hey, these are the things you're going to run into and don't be silly about it.

But I don't know if I'd actually do anything differently because probably I had people back then telling me and you kind of have to live through the experiences to really have those set in.

So, but yeah. Is this sort of like about learning things firsthand by accidentally doing them the wrong way versus like read a book and learn other people's experiences?

Exactly. I think there's only so much that sort of an external person or thing telling you can help, can create change where I feel like all the most valuable lessons I've learned have come through real experiences or mistakes.

Can we dive into some of those if you don't mind sharing?

Yeah. Um, like early on when we were first, which is probably relevant to some of the folks here, you know, you're starting off trying to come up with ideas and spent a lot of time building things that I didn't know enough about.

So I didn't have conviction to build those and kind of launch them.

So we've kept cycling through idea after idea after idea and not really finding like what will work for people.

And what ended up being the idea that worked is something going back to a previous experience and saying, this is a strong pain point I had.

I believe in it. And then it took a year from then to actually have that come to life and be a real thing.

But without that conviction, by having the personal pain point, we would have never arrived at that conclusion.

So if I could go back, I would say, you know, as much as you can try to find an actual pain point that you yourself believe in and can convince yourself to the deepest part of that idea that it's going to work because it just takes too long.

Like all the easy ideas that would take a month or two to build are basically solved.

So you have to, we had to invest the year to build it to actually see it.

And we wouldn't have invested the year without the strong conviction.

So I think it was, it's important. You know, I would tell myself like you need to have, having experience of pain is going to be a lot higher chance of success.

That's one. And then, you know, I'd say more recently, more on kind of the go-to-market side have been learning a lot about kind of developing sales teams and sort of, you know, how to go think about go-to-market strategy.

So definitely a lot of lessons there.

Can you share some of those lessons? Yeah, I think the biggest lesson is like, it's always better to start an initiative sooner because you can learn, you learn so much about it and it takes time for all these initiatives to pan out.

Like for example, starting a sales team, I had wished we had started a year sooner because we would have built, you know, the 12 months of data to help inform decisions before we scale.

So like always, I think it's better to start if you have ideas of things that you think can help the business.

The earlier you can start it, you'll have more time to kind of iterate to find the right, the right fit for that initiative and then you can grow it because it's very hard to grow something until you have that kind of product market fit for that initiative and that just takes time.

So I'd say like every initiative we have, I always wish we had started six to nine months sooner because we would have, you know, been faster at doing it.

Were there anything that you wish you hadn't done? I mean, on the flip side, it could be like, you know, I tried four things and two of them worked, right?

And it's not that, you know, now I know that those other two things didn't work and so that's information that I now have.

Yeah, I think that a lot of them probably come more to people of like, I think for the most part, your gut on someone after two to three interactions, like you're right about it.

So like trusting your gut when it comes to people and not always you're right, but I found like 89% of the time, your first and second and third impression are going to be representative of like the long-term relationship.

So you're trusting that more, I'd say is big.

But in terms of, yeah, I think like you said, like, you know, definitely, obviously we've done plenty of things that have failed.

And I think what's worked out for a lot of those is that we've kept the time horizons short on those where, you know, we encourage failure here because if you failed and it took two, three weeks to prove it failed, that's a great outcome because you've learned and can take that learning into the next thing.

So I wouldn't, I don't think we've had any like one, two-year initiatives that have failed because those would be, those are really costly and we try to avoid those as much as possible.

Do you ever, so all advice is rooted in personal experience over generalized.

For the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, what, like what piece of advice have you received that turned out to not drive with reality versus a piece of advice that, like the best piece of advice that you've gotten?

Hmm. Yeah.

Best and worst advice. The best and worst advice. I'd say probably the, I feel like the best advice has been more tactical, you know, versus generalized where have a specific problem and I'll go to, I'll go to a team that has like solved the problem clearly and so I think like knowing what you're trying to solve when you're asking for advice has been super helpful and then once we've implemented those ideas, they usually work out.

Sometimes a person who's giving the advice doesn't even know why they worked but they, you know, often they do and so like example was like a specific part of our sales process that we were struggling with and I asked, you know, a couple teams of how they were solving it, consolidated that into a solution and we put into place and it had great results.

So I think that's where the best advice has come from.

You know, the poor advice, honestly like I think we're pretty good at avoiding like bad advice because we kind of like put it through our own filter when we're making decisions.

You know, I think there's a ton, there's a ton of bad advice though when it comes to like and maybe one is like there's this big thing like you have to be, you can't make a vitamin or some vitamin or painkiller.

I think there's like oh you have to build a painkiller, you can't build a vitamin and I think that's very difficult for early entrepreneurs to understand because when you present your idea to someone, a lot of people will say it's a vitamin to them and that can dissuade people from pursuing it versus yes, it may be a vitamin to some people but you may not have talked to the person who it's a painkiller for or if you are showing it to enough people, enough people are going to take the initiative to solve it.

So I think it's very costly advice to say you must build a painkiller because people will go and talk to and they'd be treated like a vitamin but really it is a very strong idea that you should and that's where like having your own belief in the idea is so important because that's what gets you through that talking through feedback with people.

So yeah that would probably be like you know obviously you want to build problems that have or you want to build towards problems that are like very impactful for people but I think there's too much of a focus on you need to talk to someone and see this is like a burning pain for them because that's not always going to be the case and you can still build very valuable businesses there.

Let's see, now let's shine a little spotlight on the perspectives of your formative experiences.

When did you first start coding?

Yeah I think it was for AP computer science class in high school.

So my first experiences were around you know most people don't even know this world exists of you essentially are given an algorithmic problem like a sort and something that has no bearing in reality and you it's a competition where you basically have to code the algorithm as quickly and accurately as possible and as fast as possible.

So that was really my first experience was competing in those kind of algorithmic competitions and like AP computer science was my first introduction to getting into those.

So and then you know but before that I had actually tried to code games like in middle school this was probably in the early 2000s and it's probably much easier now to build games but like I remember buying all these books and trying to set up compilers to make games and I actually just failed at it like I couldn't maybe I didn't have the mental capacity in middle school I didn't have the right mentor so I wasn't able to actually like create and pursue that in middle school and it took me until high school to really like have the support from this AP computer science class to be able to to start programming.

Like the setup was initial setup was to Rube Goldbergian.

Exactly you had to you know you had some it was like window everyone was using windows back then and you had some driver failure that you couldn't figure out and you ended up just you know I just ended up giving up I remember and it was only until I really had the support of this AP computer science class that you know felt like I was able to figure it out.

So you know I think it's it's definitely easier now to program and I'm glad to see all these tools out there and I'm sure Cloudflare does a lot here as well to just help people get started with programming but it was like quite difficult in the early 2000s.

Yeah I remember some of this.

So before we so we have four minutes left in segment before we go to the before audience questions anything else you want to share with the audience and do you have a pop culture art recommendation for the audience whether a book movie video game tv show recent favorites yeah I've really gone into like I just discovered this YouTube sort of cooking personality world so it's really good in COVID where you know you'll see some delicious YouTube I think I saw one the other day someone recreated the In-N -Out burger so I'm in Boston and don't have as much access to In-N-Out so my partner and I made these In-N-Out burger clones like fresh made patties homemade buns so that part of my recommendation is check out food YouTube and good quarantine activity for sure yeah that's uh that's actually one of my um that's how I unwind yeah it's relaxing yeah just to watch and you get it's much faster than making an eight hour recipe you can see it in in 3x speed and the results quickly are there any any uh YouTubers you like in particular um I really like uh June's kitchen um he's this dude who lives in Japan and has three cats um he and his uh girlfriend I think wife now uh have three cats and uh one or two of the cats will always be hanging out in his like tiny kitchen while he cooks and smell all the ingredients and there's I think two or three episodes where he hand crafts uh like handcrafts cat food that uh and then he offers canned cat food versus the freshly made you know like sashimi grade tuna that he has cut in and minced into pieces and and of course the cat you know prefers to gourmet stuff well cat probably eats better than me I think he said he only did it for special occasions like the cat's birthday yeah still uh same same for me yeah most most of the day I'm eating cat food essentially cool um well let's see I don't have any questions from the audience so um I guess thank you for coming on our show uh it's been great having you on here thank you Jade yeah great to be on and um obviously anyone can reach out if they have any questions about log rocket or um or food youtubers as well all right thanks for coming on the show and uh and great catching up with you bye Chris So

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Founder Focus
Founder Focus is a “Humans of New York” style spotlight on the human stories behind diverse startup founders, their life experiences and perspectives, the origin stories of their startups, and the path they took to where they are today.
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