Cloudflare TV

We are Cloudflare

Presented by Chaat Butsunturn, Amin Fawzi, Michael Aylward
Originally aired on 

We are Cloudflare aims to showcase all the people who make up the Cloudflare team from as many offices, teams, levels, and in as many languages as possible.


Transcript (Beta)

It's three o'clock. Hello. This is Chaat Butsunturn. I'm your host of We Are Cloudflare.

And in this show, I'm introducing the world to people behind the scenes, people who make Cloudflare what it is.

And today, my guests are Amin Fawzi. Hey, Amin.

Hey, how's it going? All right. And Michael Aylward. How are you doing, Michael?

Hey, good to see you guys. Great. Great. Well, we all know each other. I typically do these interviews back to back or back to back to back if I have three guests.

But we're all familiar friends, having shared time in the pit. And so it's great to reconnect with you all.

Absolutely. It's been fantastic to chat with you guys.

I miss seeing you guys in the office in the good old days. I know, which is why, you know, in the spirit of being in the old office, I have here, for those who may not recognize it, that's our wall of entropy, all these lava lamps in the main office in San Francisco.

And I'm also wearing an old school Cloudflare t -shirt.

Love it. Right? I never got one of those. I still need to get me one of those.

Yeah. I can't remember where I got it. They had some in the basement back in the day.

And then they started running out of sizes. So they had only like women's sizes of the other one.

I think I can't remember which shirt it was. Well, let's dig in.

Let's get to know you. I already know you, but for the purposes of my guests.

So, I mean, Fauzi, I remember when you came on board, we were buddies. That was your onboarding buddy.

And that was great. That's how we got to know each other.

And your role now is in the partnerships team. Now, there are a number of things of partnerships.

So could you just explain what you do and maybe give some context on how partnerships fits into the Cloudflare sales universe?

Yeah, absolutely.

So there's a couple of different terminologies of partnerships here.

I am more focused on kind of a channel aspect of it. So my job is to build, grow, and recruit strategic partners that are interested in building a business model around Cloudflare and creating some sort of either joint offering or go to market plan to help their customers solve their technical needs.

So my day-to-day looks like meeting with existing partners, building up business strategies, finding ways we can be successful together, as well as recruiting new partners, doing research on industry trends, and just trying to see how we can build this thing and create our partner ecosystem overall.

So do you do the outreach or do they come to you or is it a mix of both?

A little bit of a mix of both.

Yeah, we have a lot of organic inbound inquiry of people that are interested in signing up and being part of our partner ecosystem.

So definitely responding to people reaching out as well as programmatically reaching out to other partners as well, ones that we think would be a good fit or people that are kind of going into new trends or industries that we think is interesting and just kind of basically have a conversation to understand their business model where we fit and see if there's ways for us to collaborate together.

So is there a, I imagine we have a variety of kinds of channels and partnerships.

Is there one that is most common or one that's most promising that has yet to, that we're working on developing?

Great question. Yeah. So I would say our most common partner profile today probably is in the value added reseller type space.

People who are kind of the broker in between and customers that maybe don't have as technical as a team to support Cloudflare.

And then the vendors like us who provide solutions that can be helpful.

So a lot of people live in that space. Going into the future, I'm really excited about Cloudflare for Teams.

I think that's opening up a whole new space and ecosystem that we can play in and just kind of starting to build out the strategies and figure out how we can be successful partners there.

So I'm really excited to see what we can do with that in the future.

Right. And so for those who don't know Cloudflare for Teams, you just give it a one-liner or something like that, an overview?

Sure. Yeah. And I'm not the most technical, so I probably wouldn't describe it as well as some of the engineers on these segments, but Cloudflare for Teams is essentially Cloudflare Zero Trust solution.

So securing individual devices, users, office branches to make sure that their connections and interactions with their internal systems or Internet traffic is really safe and secure.

And my understanding is that Cloudflare for Teams is available for teams of all sizes, from very small offices to tens of thousands even.

A hundred percent. Yeah. That's one of the things I love about Cloudflare, honestly, is we have something available for literally anybody on the globe, whether you're a one-person shop running a WordPress blog around caps or a Fortune 100 organization with hundreds of thousands of employees, there is a place for you in Cloudflare, which is cool.

Right. Yeah. So partners and channels, that's a growing segment.

I mean, I deal mostly with the mid-market channel, but we also have a field group and those are more direct sales versus partnerships where we can have, I guess, more exponential growth or just fingers that reach out beyond what our own internal capabilities are.

Absolutely. Yeah. And it's great. You have to build relationships with other companies too that are in similar fields, similar trends that we see and really are excited about cybersecurity performance reliability in general.

So it's awesome to be able to build those relationships and kind of build strategies and go to market together.

Now, Michael, you work in the infrastructure team, but there's also kind of a partner-like angle to what you do, I understand.

Is that right? Definitely. Yeah, there definitely is. Although different than the kind that Amin works with.

Right. Yeah. This is another really interesting thing.

So the infrastructure team, I had as one of my guests earlier, William Robredo, who helps build out the infrastructure.

So what is it that you do within the infrastructure team?

So the infrastructure team is pretty structured into a bunch of different segments of sort of general network-wide global planning of what we need or what we anticipate forecast to need.

And then that's called capacity planning.

And then in no particular order, there's also some folks who sort of take that as an input, but also take some other sort of internal forecasts as inputs and say, okay, what can we, what other say capacity or interconnections can we get now?

What's available to us and what do we need and what are the commercial terms that we can get them on?

And then there's some other folks, William Robredo's team actually takes like already contracted new, basically network expansion opportunities and executes them.

So they figure out sort of like the operational and like implementation details of how much power, how much space, where do you put it?

What equipment do we need? They configure it, they send it and they remotely assist the onsite techs to actually install it and get it up and running.

That's what William's team does. So his team actually deals with like boxes and switches and the actual like physical infrastructure.

Yeah, exactly.

But part of our infrastructure is through colos and through working with existing infrastructure.

Is that a way to put it or what's your day-to-day? What are you actually working on there?

Yeah, so the infrastructure team is pretty big. It wasn't when you started, right?

I mean, it's definitely- It's so crazy. When I started, I guess it was a little bit more than two years ago.

Immediately before that, I was working with you guys, with both of you.

Actually, I can't remember if Amin was still on the sales team for this sales specifically, or if he started doing partners at that point.

I mean, do you remember like back in 2018? So I started off on the direct sales team and then about three months in transitioned over to the partners team.

It was still kind of a hybrid sales partners role. That's right. Okay.

So you were already, I forgot about that. I think so, yeah. Wow. So anyways, yeah.

We were still in the same physical space though. I mean, it's not like, yeah, I mean, we were still working within the arm's reach, so to speak.

Yeah, yeah. That's right.

Back in the day. Oh my God. That was fun. Yeah. I think that when I joined the infrastructure team then, I guess it was like July or August of 2018, I think there must've been maybe something like 15 people or so.

And now there's like more than 50.

It's super, it's kind of weird how fast it's grown. But so my team, my broader team, there's now, there were four people when I joined and now there's 11.

And that team's job is to do basically contracting. So it's to go out and find our partners and vendors who will help us better interconnected and get better connectivity and sort of edge delivery all around the world.

I work in a pretty particular part of that on something called the edge partners program.

And that is, it's a pretty specific part of our ecosystem where we, Akamai actually kind of created this thing and then it turned out that this idea of embedding their own delivery infrastructure into the end delivery networks of Internet service providers all around the world.

So those are companies like Comcast or Verizon or AT&T, except in every country that has the Internet.

And so they realized that this was a pretty economical and pretty highly performative model.

Facebook followed suit, Google followed suit, Netflix followed suit.

They each contribute a very, very large fraction of the bytes that traverse the Internet.

We are actually fairly close in terms of bytes behind those top four.

Those are the biggest four in terms of the volume of bytes traversing the Internet.

That's an incredible scale.

I mean, if you are saying Cloudflare in the same sentence as Netflix, that's a lot of traffic.

It is. I mean, we are not on the same scale as they are.

They probably account for between 20 and 30% of the bytes traversing the global Internet.

We account for much less than that, likely a tenth of that. But our traffic isn't the same.

The value of their traffic to the network providers is purely volumetric.

Our value is there are going to be some of the ISPs or some of the network's customers who are willing to pay more per byte for our traffic because it's more business sensitive or reliability sensitive than they are willing to pay for that extra bit of Netflix streaming.

It's the same sort of logic, but slightly augmented for our use case.

Yeah, I got you.

I'm going to rewind the so just to give people a lens on the kind of people we are and where we came from.

So, pre -Cloudflare, and I know for each of us has been like more than a couple of years now, which makes us like old school vets.

We're the old guard.

Time flies. Crazy. Time flies. Yeah. Right. So, I mean, before pre -Cloudflare, what was Amin up to?

Sure. Absolutely. Yeah. So, prior to Cloudflare, I was doing a lot of kind of marketing, consulting, and branding type things.

I went to school for entrepreneurship and was really interested in kind of starting my own company and or figuring out how to make companies successful.

So, I was working for a couple of marketing companies, doing positioning, branding, logos, things like that, and really kind of got interested in the cybersecurity space.

I started off pretty young as an internship when I was 17 in a company called eVault, which is a subsidiary of Seagate.

And that really kind of got me to fall in love with tech and actually found out about Cloudflare when I was younger.

I was a really competitive gamer.

And part of the landscape of gaming were other gamers DDoS each other when people were winning.

They tried to take them offline. So, I actually had been a target or recipient of being DDoS in the past and used to use this gaming platform.

And Cloudflare's logo used to pop up back in the day.

And I never really knew what it was. And then kind of part of that, I wanted to switch over to sales.

I'd always been on the marketing side, helping people take products to market.

And I was like, you know, it'd be really cool to be on the side of actually helping people deliver this and providing value to customers.

And so, Cloudflare popped up.

They had an opportunity. I already knew where they were.

I thought what they did was really cool. And it kind of hit home with me because I'd experienced in that path and directly seen the pain point that it addresses.

And here we are almost three years later. Wow. Wow. Yeah, yeah. Right. That's interesting.

It is always interesting to explore, like, how did people get to Cloudflare?

What was their path here? And yours was, it sounds like an organic one of personal interest and opportunity, right?

So, yeah, I think you find a good fit here.

What about you, Michael? What were you doing before Cloudflare?

It's funny. I was working in the energy and climate policy world for almost 10 years, I guess for maybe about eight years before I joined Cloudflare.

I joined a little bit more than three and a half years ago.

I guess it'll be four years in February.

And before that, I was doing energy and climate stuff, mostly on the policy, like, sort of government side.

I worked for the Obama campaign in 2008 and moved to D.C.

among, like, 5,000 other, you know, sort of political rookies who were inspired by him and tried to sort of...

You worked on the policymaking side of things?

Or what was your... That was my, yeah, that's what I did, ultimately. It was a really, it was a tough world to break into, but that's what I did.

I, you know, came to D.C., didn't have any idea how the world works, got, like, an internship when I got there.

I got a second internship and, you know, sort of eventually got to work in the government a little bit and then continued doing that, actually, in the industry, in the energy industry, which is what brought me out to San Francisco.

I worked for PG&E for a couple of years, also on energy and climate policy.

So that's a change, then. Super change, yeah. Where did, how did you connect the dots to Cloudflare?

It was so random. You know, after the 2016 election, I had also taken about four or five months, actually almost six months, I guess, off of my job at the time to work full-time on the Clinton campaign.

I did, like, three things in that time on the campaign, and I was planning, I was now planning to move back to D.C., but, you know, in the energy and environmental world, California is an amazing place for it.

There's so much going on, there's so much progress to be made, there's so much work to be done, but, so I planned on sort of moving back into, onto the industry side, maybe a foundation type of role after the campaign, just sort of was open to seeing what the opportunities were, and the opportunities were almost non-existent after the election.

So nobody really expected, you know, Clinton to lose, and it totally shifted the ground of what was possible or expected in the energy and climate world.

So there were, there were basically, like, a hiring freeze in everything, like, you know, in solar, energy storage, the policy side, the advocacy side, environmental groups, you know, there was a, there were really not very many opportunities, and so, you know, I tried to look around for a couple months and, and then just randomly came across someone I didn't even know that well from, from D.C.

who had joined Cloudflare recently.

I saw him at an Obama alumni gathering that Cloudflare was actually hosting after the election.

At the office. And he was asking me what I was up to, and, and I was like, oh, you know, I'm looking around to do this, and he's like, oh, well, we're hiring a ton of people, you should, you know, look at some of these jobs and let me know if any of them sound interesting.

So I did. Right, right. Yeah, you know, I worked in, I'm reminded of a couple of our intersections in the Venn diagram of life, and one of them is, is I worked in public affairs, but I did tech policy, and back in the day.

So I worked in public affairs, trying to move the needle on, on legislative and permitting policy relating to a lot of telecom or intellectual capital and the like.

And, but part of it, the firm that I worked for, they did a lot in the energy sector, and water resources.

And I do remember that that time, like, like you said, you know, that was a big disruptor when, when you have a climate advocate like, like Clinton, and doesn't, doesn't, doesn't cross the finish line that, that, that, that is a big shift on what's possible.

But the other part of the Venn diagram, I would be, I have to mention, of course, is our, our common roots in Buffalo, New York.

I can't remember how we discovered it.

I don't remember either, but it's amazing. That's so funny. I think, and I think there was only other, like, one other person at the company from Buffalo at that point.

That guy ended up leaving. Is that right? Oh, I didn't know. There's got to be more.

I know there's got to be more of us right now. But, Yeah, because we've hired like 1000 more people.

What are the chances? What are the chances?

Well, go Buffalo, go Bills. Yeah, I'm hoping for a better season this year. So when we started, though, we also did have the infamous fun fact.

And I would say if I had a mutual fun fact with you, it's definitely the common roots in Buffalo.

You guys recall what your fun facts were when you when you came on board?

I do. Mine was really freaking nerdy. Oh, my God. So embarrassing. I was like, I so I think I said something like, I really like I taught game theory in graduate school, which I did when I was when I was in graduate school.

I was a instructor for undergrads to that was part of my like, you know, part of what they paid me.

And I loved it. And I also love math puzzles. And so I said it in a way to like, because just in case like anybody else, like math at a nerdy tech company, I thought it'd be fun to meet them.

But I wasn't sure if it came off like a weird flex.

And I think either Matthew or Michelle, I think it was Matthew was like, Okay, cool.

Yeah. And he was like, it wasn't exactly skeptical, but I was like, I came off a little weird.

How about you? I mean, you remember yours? I remember I keep smiling so much.

My headphones keep falling. You guys. I think it was that as a side hustle, my my family has a wine tasting company.

And so I was always really big in the wine industry.

Like I started off really young. And I remember like, when I turned 21, I was like, still in college.

And my mom made a very specific statement to like, only have you taste good wine.

She's like, don't drink the two butt chuck or the bad wine stuff.

So my fun fact was for fun, I'm really into the wine industry and going tasting and learning more about grapes and soil and where things come from the world.

So I'm kind of a nerd myself. And when it comes to wine and technology, Because when you started, you gave me your business card to the wine business, actually.

And I'm and when we get past this whole COVID stuff, I'm waiting for my invitation to a wine tasting.

Yes, as soon as we can all hang out in person again, we can definitely have you guys over and do a little wine tasting party and just have a good time at each other's company.

Well, that is definitely a super fun fact.

Well, I the the other thing I like to ask my guests is, is, you know, about the office environment.

I mean, obviously, that's where we all met and where we used to, to, to connect.

Where are you guys actually located?

Right now? Are you guys? Are you local? Are you guys travel? Or are you working remotely?

Yeah, I mean, didn't you say you went to go visit family or friends somewhere back east?

Yeah, I visited some family in Memphis. I was in San Diego for a while.

And then back and forth from Berkeley right now really kind of looking forward to get back to the office.

So I mean, working from home is great. It's really nice.

And I have to commute an hour and a half each day to go nine miles across the Bay Bridge.

But that that in person interaction, I've seen you guys, you know, the coffee pods and just grabbing some lunchtime tea, learning about the networking team or what you're working on chat is a definitely missed that and looking forward to getting back in the office.

Yeah. And the the the office environment, like getting actually back into the physical office, that might be a while, you know, I so I love to try to figure out if there's a way to socially distant reconnect.

This is pretty cool. I'm pretty stoked by this. Where are you? I'm having a great time.

That's great. I know it's going so fast. I'm like, Oh my god, what I got to get it all in.

Where are we reaching yet here? Got a stack of books?

It looks like it's gonna fall on you there. Yeah, that's so funny. That's what my boss said when he saw it.

Oh, nervous, actually. It's Don't worry, it's actually just a cool bookshelf.

But that's like vertical. So it has like, only like, four or five books are stacked on each separate.

Okay. Okay, I was gonna say it looks very precarious.

Your apartment? Are you traveling? Yeah, no, no, I'm just on in my apartment on the corner of Dolores Park at the the sort of iconic upper corner where everybody comes and takes a picture because it's an amazing view.

I know exactly what you're talking about.

Yeah, the view of downtown from like, the church street corner.

Yeah, church and 20th. Yeah, it's an amazing place. It's, it's kind of a funny place to spend the pandemic because, well, it's it's an amazing apartment.

It's not very big. And my partner and I share it. So we definitely like, you know, have learned to co occupy 460 foot square foot she's on a call in the other room.

So I imagine that one of the things you miss about the office is space.

Yeah, generally, exactly. I do love that. But I, you know, I, I guess I really got to go outside more because now that when I say that when I tell people I live across from this park, I don't go into it that much.

Well, you know, one of the things I miss is like, back in the day in the pit, you might recall we had that that basketball hoop.

I love that. So well, I got one for my son, right?

Did you? Yeah. Who uses it? Right? Of course, yeah. Right. So but what I did, you can't see it.

But behind me, there's a door. I'm in a in a studio garage here and on the outside door that I put the the that that basketball hoop.

And for those that know, it's like a nerve hoop, right?

And we used to have them in the office that we hung on the drywall or the dry erase board to just when you just had to just stretch your legs and just get a little bit of a distraction.

Didn't have quite time for ping pong or foosball.

We would just go throw some hoops. And I'm able to do that now outside when I want to stretch my legs.

So but I do miss it's great to do that with my son.

I miss those random interactions like roof deck cornhole.

You know, so good. If I remember correctly, Michael used to destroy me on the basketball hoop and I'm not a very good loser.

And yeah, every week, I think we would do like best of five and you just think five in a row.

And I'd be like, you know what, you got me this time.

So definitely get back to the office. I'm gonna try to redeem myself and beat you a couple of times in a row.

We need to Oh, man, I was just thinking I was trying to remember.

I don't think I played with anyone as much as you guys.

The left hand shots and one over the over the pipes. That was a good time.

Well, that was a nice high ceilings. You could really get some arc.

And oh, do you remember when we had the not the nerf ball with the heart of a rubber ball?

Yeah, it was located. We somehow for whatever reason was right by Annie's desk.

I remember it would bounce and it would hit like, you know, sorry, my bad.

People were good sport about it.

So what about any cool projects that you guys are working on or stoked to be working on these days?

Ah, let's see here. I work right now outside.

Yeah, well, actually, we can go either either way. We got about four minutes left.

So I got a minute or two to explore. I'll start. Yeah. Yeah. Do you guys have any cool projects?

Because I do. My funnest project, honestly, is this right here.

Coughler TV. I've been really excited to to be a part of this, this operation.

And you know, like, when we I used to love going to the conferences and meeting our customers and you know, talking tech or or not tech, you just hanging out and having a drink and getting to know them as people and we don't have that anymore.

And it's been nice to have a forum for connecting with people virtually via via cloud for TV.

So I'm really excited where this to see where this is going and to be involved.

And with We Are Cloudflare, it's been nice to not only reach out to people I know, but even people that I don't just learn more about the company and the different jobs that people do.

So that's what it's been for for me.

One of the cool things. You did a great job, Chad. This is awesome. I'm having a good time.

Yeah, me too. And I'm I didn't even realize this was happening. But I'm glad to hear that it's a regular thing.

Yeah, the hardest thing is to get in coordinating schedules.

You know, I mean, I've been talking to me, I mean, for months, and finally, finally made it happen.

Yeah, gotcha. It took you, Michael.

I had to say I got Michael coming on board. It's so fun.

I would definitely join. I'm always happy to talk to you both. I know, man.

I'm just I'm, I can't wait till by the way, I will say guys, I gotten together hardly with anyone in person.

But I did go on a couple of, you know, it was like, it's very, it's kind of weird and, you know, a little scary.

But I got together on a couple walks outside and it felt, you know, just mask up.

And if you're walking, it just feels a little bit, you know, less risky.

And it's just really nice to get to catch up with people in person.

Totally, totally. I mean, you've probably been more locked down in any of us because you were you traveled to like Nashville or is that where it was national?

Yeah, I'm pretty risk averse to so I outside of going on nature walks like Michael, especially in the East Bay going to like Tilden Park and Wildcat Canyon.

I'm spending a lot of time inside probably could use some more vitamin D for sure.

Especially with these kind of boring walls.

I need a cool background like you. Yeah, I've gotten a little bit outside. I still haven't been to a restaurant.

I got my first haircut actually for the segment yesterday.

I did that outside with the mask glove thing. But definitely hoping for things to slowly get back to normal.

So you can just have that social interaction.

See you guys in person, of course. And I'm a big foodie as well. So I really, I really miss them at the restaurant scene.

I've done a lot of cooking though.

I've gotten, I've gotten much better at cooking. Not as good as a significant other.

She makes me look very bad, but I've been trying a couple of fancy French laundry type recipes and not as good as amazing.

Well, I'm going to give a plug for my other show, which is cooking with Cloudflare.

Is that right? Okay, I didn't know you did that.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's pretty cool. But what I do in that show is I recruit somebody to teach me a dish.

And then we spent an hour.

I got an hour. So it's pretty finite thing to try to crank it out, and so that's been fun.

And I would love to have either of you, both of you on as a guest to teach me, teach me your favorite dish.

That would be kind of fun. Yeah, it's pretty cool.

I just need my hone on my scales a little bit. So I make you actually look good when you cook it.

Otherwise, you're going to taste it. What did I get practice from?

You just need to step your game up. Yeah, I need a little more practice for sure.

Well, listen, boys, I have, I see 40 seconds left here. So I just want to thank you both for joining me today on We Are Cloudflare and giving everyone a lens into different aspects of the Cloudflare experience, what we're like as people and as friends.

This is great. It's been great to reconnect with you both.

Oh, man. It's good to see you guys. Likewise. This is great. Thank you a lot, Chad, for having us on.

And honestly, I miss you guys both. It was fantastic to be able to catch up.

I do too. Well, we'll see if we can maybe figure out some kind of offline or in -person, socially distanced safe thing to do.

That'd be amazing. I got five seconds left. So this is Chad Butz in service. We are Cloudflare.

Thank you for joining. And thank you to my guests, Amin and Michael. Thanks, everybody.

Cheers, guys. Ciao, everyone.

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We Are Cloudflare
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