Cloudflare TV

We Are Cloudflare

Presented by Justina Wong, João Tomé
Originally aired on 

Join host João Tomé for conversations with members of the Cloudflare Team!

In this episode, meet Justina Wong, Technical Support Manager at Cloudflare, whose Cloudflare journey spans countries around the world.


Transcript (Beta)

Welcome to We Are Cloudflare everyone. I'm João Tomé. I'm a writer and storyteller of sorts and with me I have Justina Wong, Technical Support Manager here at Cloudflare.

Welcome Justina. Thank you, thank you and hello everyone. I'm Justina. I usually introduce myself as Justina from Hong Kong.

It's relatively small and I just need to promote it and yes and I'm from the support team as well.

I'm currently a part of our EMEA support team based in London.

You have an amazing background and in this series we were trying to find good stories from those who work every day here at Cloudflare from Asia to Americas to of course Europe.

So far we didn't do any type of interview from people outside the planet Earth so at least officially.

So we're bound to the planet Earth but for sure you have a very expanded experience from different offices actually at Cloudflare.

So can you in a sense give us a little bit of background of where you started in terms of Cloudflare and where you're at right now.

You spend a lot of a different amount of time in different offices, right?

Indeed, actually. So I started in Cloudflare around four and a half years ago.

I was hired out of the London office when we only have support team in London.

We don't have EMEA yet so early stage and after around a year time I moved to Singapore.

Actually my background is what we have in our Singapore office.

If you can see this is our pantry area where you can oversee the financial district of Singapore which is pretty neat because we are situated on the 35th floor.

So lovely view and you can see the sea as well. You can see a tiny bit of it here.

So I stayed in Singapore for around a year and then I started moving to Lisbon but that happened during pandemic so it took quite a while before I could actually move myself from Singapore physically until we get to Lisbon where we opened the office two years ago and I stayed there for 20 years and recently I've relocated back to London where I was started.

So yeah around the world and I'm back here again.

That's kind of amazing and now you're in London, I'm in Lisbon just to give a sense of where we're at right now.

For those who don't know what does a technical support manager do?

Because it's not a very direct position in terms of people understanding what does it does right?

It's supportive but... True, true, true, true.

I think yeah when we are a technical support engineer it's easier to understand because those are the people that we will be talking to if you're a customer on a daily basis.

So whenever anybody talks to our team on the community channel, on tickets, on chats or even they call us on the emergency hotline, it'll be reaching to one of the engineers in my team.

So now that I'm the manager of this team, we do help manage like the day-to -day life of our team.

So it goes from a technical perspective where we work with a different product team or not even product, like we work with the HR team, we work with the recording team, we work with our account team that takes care of our customer to work on the processes or like the workflow on how we should best take care of a customer on a technical perspective and to everything on the communication and on the administrative side of things.

For example, externally how do we want to communicate with the customer or internally how we collaborate with every team right?

I mean even on Cloudflare TV we actually work a lot to share more with people like what exactly is going on in the support team and how we work and like we want to do a bit of marketing for ourselves as well so when people get to know us more and instead of just like talking to us through a ticket, we do have like multiple channels where we talk to everybody on a daily basis for different things.

So it's a very collaborative position in terms of inside the company and externally right?

Yeah definitely.

Which adds to the fun of it because like when you're an engineer, I think a lot of the time you will focus on resolving an issue and when now on my role, I take a step back and look at like how we could be more effective in helping to get to that goal so yeah.

That makes sense but before we go into those types of details, let's know a little bit better who is Justyna Wang?

Where do you grew up and in a sense how did you decide what to study initially?

Can you give us a sense of your background?

Yeah for sure. So long long long long time ago, Justyna was born in Hong Kong.

In the galaxy far far away. Exactly. So I actually I was born and raised in Hong Kong so I spent all my early childhood with my friends there and slowly I moved to Canada to finish my high school and finish my college study.

What age did you move to Canada? That's a big shift. I moved officially when I was in grade 11 so the last two years of high school is when I moved to Canada.

Like 16, 17, right? Yes, around that age. It was a long time ago.

So I did spend quite a big part of my life in Winnipeg and in Toronto where I finished my studies and during that time I also actually get to have an exchange program in Japan as well so I did spend a tiny bit of time in Japan which is equally fun.

I would say I grew up in Hong Kong and Canada for most part of it and if we go to the background of the educational side, if you know about Hong Kong, you will notice that a lot of us will be focusing on the financial world because we are a financial hub.

We do have a huge stock market in Hong Kong so a lot of people from the same background as I do will end up doing finance, accounting, economics and things like that and so I did join them and I did my economics study as well but to make my life a bit better so I throw in international development study as well which I enjoy a lot.

It's a little different from what we're used to in Hong Kong so I did both of them.

So nothing technical, nothing computer science.

How did your work life begin?

So you had that economic study, financial study, did you do that initially?

Initially I was really hoping that I would get a job in the international development field so I did try to work on a lot of applications with different NGOs and different charity work space type of role.

It did not work out as much as I wanted to be so I ended up actually going back to Hong Kong to start my first job which is a flight attendant.

So I did get to see the world a little bit more before I start coming back into the office space to start my other job as a high school teacher in Japan so I was teaching English.

So you were flight attendant for how much time?

Yes I was a flight attendant for three years so I spent my first three years.

And mostly in Asia or it was like international flights? We're all international because Hong Kong is a very small city so anything outside would be international already.

We were very lucky our airline do have a lot of short haul and long haul flight as well so I did get to see a lot of Europe, I did get to see the States and Australia and New Zealand a bit as well.

You entered directly to my category here at the company of those who had very interesting jobs before they went to more technical jobs here at Butler for sure.

We had also a clinical psychologist that then now is an engineer so we have different backgrounds so I love that I really love that.

In what sense do you think those experiences and you just mentioned you were also a teacher those two types of experiences impacted even your way your today's job because I think what we do impacts now what we do in this moment in time so there are lessons for sure.

Definitely I think the job that I had before like every job you have always have a transferable skills that you could use in your future job.

For a flight attendant a lot of people already know like it's a lot of customer phasing, a lot of customer focus type of role which is very relatable to support because other than the technical side we also need to cater to the customers need and sometimes they might not be very technical so like we have to use a lot of the customer service skills to help and to talk with the customer to communicate a solution that will work best for them.

Be patient and explain it well. Exactly and another thing is like you would try to foresee what is coming up like from the customer side like after you explain this to them is it clear enough or is it already empowering them to help themselves right so like these are the things that you will pick up like if you work with a customer for a long time you will notice that if they raise the hand in the flight probably bring a glass of water already and you could save yourself walking down the aisle again so I think one of the interesting thing that I see from my life back then is we do focus a lot on like first aiding so you you're up in the sky so there's limited resources of what you could do and the same time when we are having an incident let's say like within the network space there's not much you could do but you have to stay calm and you have to stay vigilant and start collecting details of what happened and what you could do next so I see first aid and incident management of what we're doing today is very similar to one another and that's interesting yeah so for example as a first aider you have to stay in this vicinity and you have to try to do the best you can before the paramedics arrive and you leave it to the good hands so here is the same like in support we do everything we can when we wait for engineers to arrive and we leave it to the good hands of like okay what exactly do we need to debug next and then we need to take a step back to continue to work on what we can so yeah that's interesting and in terms of high school teacher it was in Japan right that specific job did you enjoyed it I loved it I think that would that that would be my favorite job before I joined Cloudflare I think being a high school teacher in Japan is a bit different from my own background because I did my high school in Hong Kong I did in Canada but in Japan it's a totally different spectrum the students do a lot of things for themselves they take ownership of a lot of things that is going on and they are very creative in finding ways to move things forward so as a teacher like you you might have already got like a set standard answer that I said okay if you answer a b and c you're gonna get a pass mark but a lot of them is actually going above and beyond and giving you a lot more than you could imagine so I really enjoy seeing how they grow and seeing what they have to share with me so and you did that for how long I only did it for one semester unfortunately because it was during the time of the earthquake in Japan so I had to evacuate so after the evacuation I stayed in Hong Kong for a little bit before I get back to the job market so oh yeah that was probably a scary moment right earthquake at that magnitude there but it's very different culture you had you had contact with different cultures even in different continents what highlights do you think you can give us for those who don't know for example Lisbon or London or Canada or Japan or Hong Kong or Singapore what highlights do you think are more did resonate more with you I think every every one of them is very different I would give you a tiny secret like before I moved to Japan or before I moved to Singapore I always think hey I'm from Hong Kong I know because I'm Asian this is my culture like we got similar food we got similar festival we got similar habit but in reality it's very different so you kind of just need to let yourself have an open mind and stop thinking oh that's the same no no no it's not the same like let's just learn from the locals and see what they have to say I really don't have one that I would focus on like I think every experience is just very unique and different on their own so if anybody who's moving to a new country just keep an open mind and make some local friends and yeah and going from office of office even at Clover actually first let's hear your story of how you entered Clover how did you start to have more interested in technology in that technique more technical side can you give us an insight on that yeah so before Cloudflare it was actually my first technical support job and I work with a media monitoring company where we have our in-house tool that we are crawling online content from different space for example newspaper channel blogs magazine and any anywhere you could find online content of news and interesting information and one of the things that I always run into is like there is this Cloudflare that is blocking me all the time so basically my day-to-day job is like to find a creative way to test different threshold to test like how do I send a request in order to overcome the block and of course next day it will come back block me again so like it is a struggle with this this unknown Cloudflare name back then to me so after a while it really gets to me that I really need to find out who it is what it is and and now I'm here on the other side so it feels like I used to be the person who's overcoming firewall rules and now I'm on the other side helping our user to set up the firewall rules so yeah a very fun transition I would say but yeah for sure and you've seen the growth of different offices Singapore, Lisbon from the get-go and also London what highlight do you think are interesting in those roads of office?

So one of the things or in my own statistics I have noticed every time I move or every time I started in the office by the time I move away it would have grown at least double the size so it has been quite consistent at least on the minimum of it so like every every time when I go to a new office like oh okay it's smaller we have less people so let's get to know everybody and by the end of it it is very hard to learn every names by then which is great which means that we are actually growing in a lot of the market and we are hiring a lot of different individuals which make it a lot of fun to be in different space so yeah makes sense makes sense I was also curious to because there was a pandemic you were at the company before you were at the company after did how did you see the the shifts because it's a different type of reality really right yeah I would say before pandemic it it is a lot of I mean because we are mainly office space company so you rarely see people work from home back in the days you always see people and there's a lot of little fun things going on throughout the day so in in London office we do have a a group of people that really like biking to work so you will see them talking about bikes all the time and you will see them all arriving to the office around like the same time in the morning and we also have a group of them that really like coffee for example so like on top of like the technical exchange that you might do for your own role there's a lot of different things going on within the office as well like people who like coffee will talk to each other people who like wine will share wine and we have like little fun hobbyist group that are always like getting together and like just talking about life in general so that is something that we uh couldn't exactly translate during pandemic because everything becomes virtual like even if we send everybody a bottle of wine to taste it together it's not the same as like being in the pantry together to share the food and drinks so um now that we are going hybrid and let me share here some some images you just uh sent about this was pre-pandemic right it was birthday week for Paul Flaher pre-pandemic in the London office right exactly so we do have a little outdoor space uh so we're just like mobilizing everybody to be out there to take a birthday picture together so and we do have a lot of people so we do have like four different kicks going on which is amazing so it was a good party there yeah and like every everybody is like really uh trying hard to put together like everything that is needed for it's just a picture like people are moving balloons moving tables so it was a very fun time um pre-pandemic and we want to do more so we start having more events in the office now and hopefully we could have even more of that in the in the coming days yeah makes sense uh i was also curious to understand a little bit of your uh your your path through the company and in what way did your job change uh since you started like four and a half years ago right yeah so when when i first joined i was the technical support engineer talking to our customer i wasn't very technical back then so every day is a very steep learning curve to understand okay what what what is the end like what how do i make uh Internet faster like what can people do to like do their parts so every everything is super new uh that is something that is still consistent today there's still a lot of things to learn uh but at least the learning curve is seemingly uh slightly more gentle on me so and and back then it was more on the customer facing i'm the actual person who's talking to your customer and now i am more on the role that is helping to make it a smooth process for both the engineers and the customer so it's uh it's a lot of um i think mindset changed to thinking of me as an individual to do my job to how i could get the job done for my team so like listening to their feedback to see what are the action items that it could be translated to is is an important part now so yeah uh and since it's already four and a half years do you have a favorite moment uh since you joined the company or a favorite moment in specific office because so many different experiences in four years in different offices favorite moment there's too many of them where do i start i think uh what you were showing in a picture just now uh is one of the happy moment from the london office because like that's a lot of celebration i guess maybe i'm very into celebrating so like in singapore as well um what you're seeing is our new office so when we move to the new office we actually hired uh the dragon dance into the office so they were like doing the dance around the whole office which is which is super interesting uh it was really fun and we do invite a lot of people uh that are friends of Cloudflare and we invite some of our customers as well to come celebrate with us when we open the office so it was a it was a big moment right like a big day and i think probably you you might have missed out on a lisbon picnic i remember that was the day that you were joining yeah it was actually a few days after uh before i joined it was with matthew right yeah i mean yeah for a few days i saw the pictures though yeah i think i think that was that was one of the highlight for um lisbon as well because we just reopened the city started coming back together and we tried to get everybody when matthew was in town so yeah it still a few fun time for us yeah for sure and in terms of products you work with different teams with the customers do you see a favorite product pop by sometimes you think well this is really making a difference okay i think you might be trapping me uh to make some conversation with the engineering team all of our product are amazing but my favorite though is definitely uh the firewall product i think uh well i have to thank it because it wasn't before of it blocking me all the time i wouldn't know about Cloudflare and i wouldn't be trying to understand what it is and apply for a job here so thanks firewall team um and uh for user as well i think this is relatively easy to understand of a product so a lot of user even when they're less technical uh there's a lot of power for them to update a firewall rule on the goal like to block a new request and it's very easy to use the user interface is very clear on what to do as the next step we do have a lot of upcoming new product as well i think everybody probably have heard of Zero Trust by now uh it has been a important product especially during pandemic because everybody is moving virtual so that is going to be interesting as well but my vote is going to firewall for now that's a good one uh but yeah it's really pretty much interesting to see the different impact in different people in different types of things they do um in a sense so by now there's a lot more products than when you started so it's growing uh that's interesting to see too um i was curious also to understand a little better uh of um things so four years and a tech company and a tech company like health is a long time and there's some evolution do you see an evolution there in terms of the way the company is regarded in terms of the industry of even in terms of customers you see evolution there yeah um so well like i said every time i move to a new office we do have a double the headcount right and because we have a huge customer base and so that's why we have more headcount so actually there's a huge growth in our customer base as well um i remember when i first joined i did not know what Cloudflare is and when i have to explain to my family and what Cloudflare is it would take a lot of time trying to tell them the basic i share with them some product and tell them like a few things of like what i do on a day-to-day and show them the community and now it um it has grown to a time that sometimes i think like maybe they hear too much from me uh when they see something is like uh some website is down they would actually be going to check our status page first or they do a message we'll be like hey justina like what is going on like is everything okay so um i think this is a this is an interesting change um i don't know if um i could speak for the whole Internet because we do have a lot of uh friends and competitor in the same space that we're all growing especially with a pandemic when everybody is moving online so i think we're all making the the industry better and like everything more secure so yeah what's the main thing about Cloudflare that you think most people don't realize but they should in a sense i don't have an answer to your question um i think i think we're quite transparent and we're known to be very transparent uh it has been the case in the past uh it has still been the case right now so i think that if you talk to anybody from Cloudflare well unless if uh it's a business um business secret that we can't tell you otherwise it's all out there but you can search for it so yeah so learn a lot from that right yeah almost nothing you can't see from the blog and actually you're the one who is writing a lot of the latest blog as well so anything you want to see go check it out in the blog yeah that's a there uh any tips for anyone hoping to join Cloudflare i i would say uh if you want to join Cloudflare be prepared there's a lot to learn um there's a lot of new product there's a lot of new technology there's a lot of new things going on if you're someone who uh want to just learn about one thing and not interested in any other thing in the technology or in this space it would be very tough for you um so stay open-minded even about our technology and i would say uh it was it's very important for you to be someone who always look for solution uh there's always room for improvement there's always like things that we could do better or like they're like different accident that would happen on any given day if you're someone who is willing to look for solution and like you can take it on your own to solve a problem then like please join us and submit your application now exactly and you you have the ability to learn right there's a lot of learning uh and with that you will be more expert than you were on the Internet and those type of things um with that uh won't you agree exactly exactly and and i think there's a lot a lot of like interesting things to learn about and you could translate it back to your own Internet user's life as well it's like how can i make my phone more secure right so yeah for sure uh and one of the things that i think is interesting is the Internet impacts all my grandmother already did does some things uh with the Internet so uh and even if not directly sometimes indirectly so there's really impact for us all in different ways so you learning more about that gives you a good sense there right definitely definitely so we're almost out of time do you have any last advice you want to give for those who are listening to us i mean come talk to us anytime we have a community that is open for all so ask any questions there exactly on twitter discord blog we have have a number of uh places where people can reach out uh thank you so much justina hope you liked it uh our conversation thank you it's a lot of fun you

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We Are Cloudflare
Meet all the people who make up the Cloudflare team from all offices, all teams, all levels, in as many languages as possible.
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