Cloudflare TV

We are Cloudflare

Presented by Chaat Butsunturn, Nikole Phillips, Guido Jimenez, Meghan Weinreich
Originally aired on 

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

Original Airdate: June 26, 2020


Transcript (Beta)

I'm live, how about it? All right, hello everyone, this is Chaat Butsunturn, I'm your host of We Are Cloudflare, a segment where we have easy conversations, casual conversations with different people from around our company and different parts of the org.

And the people I interview are typically ones just not front and center, the people behind the scenes.

I have three guests today. And what's really exciting for me, as you all know by now, I'm in the San Francisco office.

I'm talking to people from other offices.

I'm starting with London and then moving into some people from our Austin office.

So my first guest today, Guido Jimenez, welcome. How are you?

Good, thanks for having me. I'm doing well. Good to hear. So you are in our London office.

And although no one's in any office right now, when did London implement like a work from home set up?

I think we started, oh, I'm trying to go back.

Maybe it was early March, I think. Basically the same as like America, same kind of thing.

I think it was like around St. Paddy's Day that things got locked down over here.

So Guido, you're on the engineering team, right? What exactly is your title and your role?

What are you doing at Cloudflare? So I think my official title is network systems engineer.

So I'm in the network engineering team.

So we are about 15 engineers globally in San Francisco, Austin, London, and in Singapore.

I think one of the managers is in Sydney. So yeah, so basically we manage connectivity of, you know, all the servers that provide, you know, services to our customers, down to where we connect to, like the different Internet service providers.

So like all that, making sure that those two can talk to each other is basically our domain.

I'm specifically in the part where we do network automation.

So we have a pretty large network, a large footprint, like 250 plus sites.

And I forgot, like the number changes all the time. And it grows all the time.

So yeah, basically we need to have a lot of automation because otherwise our team would be massive.

So we rely on, you know, a big automation platform to make sure that a lot of the repetitive, predictable things are done by machines instead of having a human do them.

So that's basically where we're at. Is that what, are we creating that or are you piecing together different tools?

Like how much is built versus by?

Yeah, we have a pretty big, a large stack. The tools themselves are a lot of, there's pretty much all of it is some type of open source tool that we get from the outside.

But then we, like a lot of these platforms is like, they enable you to do things, but you need to tell them, like you need to, like, for example, we use a, we rely a lot on a tool called Salt, right?

So basically we tell it, you know, under these circumstances or under these scenarios, then trigger these automated actions to fix, you know, different problems that may be going on in the network.

So it takes care of the heavy lifting, but there's a lot of, you know, of coding and programming we need to do to tell it exactly what we need to do.

And because no two networks all over the world are the same, there's a lot of like customized, you know, kind of like modules and customized code that we need to build to make the tool do exactly what we want according to our, you know, our setup.

So. Now, when you say no two networks are alike, are you referring to no two networks, external networks, or are you talking like even within Cloudflare, the network is varied by?

Yeah, no, actually, it's the first one.

It's like, now it's like all over, kind of like all companies all over the world, actually, like we have a fairly repetitive design in our which actually is what makes, you know, automation be so pervasive, if you had to, like, take into account a lot of kind of like, snow, we'll call it kind of like snowflakes, or like, you know, old setups, that makes automation really hard.

So our, you know, our setup is has a very good design.

And that way, you can you can tell like, how, how our different locations will be, will be set up, they may be bigger or smaller, kind of like what we call like, horizontal scaling.

So they, there may be more or less of something.

Let me try an analogy for Anya. So Southwest Airlines, they fly Boeing 737s.

All of their planes are Boeing 737s, which makes maintenance and and super easy, because they just have one mechanic who will not one mechanic, but you know, they don't have to learn several different types of planes, whereas other airlines have very diverse fleets.

There are pros and cons to that.

But what we're going for is consistency and reliability. Very much. Yes.

I like a company used to work for had a very different approach, because they didn't do as much automation from from the beginning.

So yeah, that was, it made automation hard.

So you know, when we try to do it, it took a bit longer, just because we had to, like, in your code, in your automation, you had, you know, given all the different scenarios and all the different like, if it's this location, then take these decisions or base yourself on these other constraints.

Right. So we, you know, I think cloud has done a pretty good job in making our infrastructure very repetitive and very, very consistent.

So yeah, our automation is, I think that's, that's one of the big, you know, one of the things that makes it really easy.


What did you? We're, you know, pre chatting in the green room before and you said you've been in cloud for about a year.

Is that right? Yeah, I think I just checked.

It'll be a week from now. Hey, all right. Congratulations on the anniversary.

What was prior to Cloudflare? Where were you? What were you doing? So I've done, I've worked in several kind of like different environments, but they've been mostly some type of flavor of network engineering.

So right before this, I worked at a pretty large consulting company.

So you know, a very, obviously a very different environment than like such a heavily IT focused technology focused company, Cloudflare.

Before that I worked for an online book retailer turned cloud computing company, which I'll let everybody know.

And then yeah, different. Were you always in London?

No, I just, I moved to London for Cloudflare. So I'm originally from Costa Rica, but I've been on this side of the Atlantic for almost seven years now.

So yeah, seven years ago, I moved to Dublin, Ireland for a couple of years.

Then my wife and I, we moved to Prague in the Czech Republic. So yeah, so it's been pretty much seven since I've been living here on this side.

So what was, I always like to ask this question.

What was your fun fact? My fun, it's funny cause like my fun fact is that I get a mind blank when I'm asked for a fun fact.

Which is, it may sound like, you know, I think I actually remember seeing that.


Cause like it was, it was like, I remember like you get the questionnaire to fill out just before you join.

And it was like, oh, tell us one fact for yourself. And I literally like sat in front of my computer for like four minutes.

Like I must have a fun fact, but I don't know.

I can't think of any. And so I tried to fill a couple and there was not like, there was over the character limit or something.

So I, that's why I said, like, I, I, I draw a blank when I'm asked for a fun fact and you know, just to fill out something.

It's like, it's hard, but a lot of people do that.

So you've been in the London office for a year now, but you could almost call it nine months cause the last three have been, you know, home office.

But what do you miss about being in the London office?

So I, I, I really liked being able to just have, you know, kind of like the casual encounters with, with, with, with people.

It's one of the things that obviously you don't, you don't kind of like take for granted because you're not going to expect to be in this type of situation beforehand.

So I didn't really think much about them just, you know, going for lunch and just bringing something from, from outside and sitting down and just have some random person who I hadn't spoken to before just in front of me and just strike up a quick conversation, five minutes.

That's kind of like what, what, what, what I miss.

Like, I obviously, like, I love being here with my wife a lot. We, we get along perfectly, but it's you know, you just like all these people that I have to interact with, I'm missing that kind of like human connection, like very subtle, just quick human connection a little bit.

So yeah, it's, it's consistent. I don't think it's, you know, unique to the London office, right?

So one of your London colleagues, actually, Megan is joining us for the, as my next guest.

Hi Megan, how are you?

Hey Chad, hey Guido, how are you? Hello. You're both in the London office and, and Megan, we met in the San Francisco office.

Let me introduce you to Megan Weinreich.

Hi, how are you? Hi everyone. Hi Chad. Thanks for having me. Absolutely.

My pleasure. And it's, it's super fun to have this opportunity to reconnect because, you know, between the time zones and, you know, you having moved offices, I don't get to see you much anymore, but I, I wanted to, before I get into what you're doing, because I was talking to Guido about, about London.

I want to ask you, like, what, what are your observations on like the differences or the similarities between the London and the San Francisco offices in terms of like your Cloudflare employee experience?

Oh man, that's, that's a good question. I mean, I think the offices are different, but I feel like, you know, they have their kind of unique sort of buzz, right?

I think just it's, it's nice to go into the office and kind of see all your colleagues and just kind of have that sort of camaraderie.

And that's, you know, definitely experienced that when I was in the San Francisco office and miss it, but had that in London as well.

So I definitely think the London office is a bit smaller, so it can be kind of like a bit quieter, like less kind of like teams overall.

So San Francisco is kind of a little bit bigger and more spread out as we kind of, you know, expanded into different buildings and such.

But yeah, I just think that, that buzz of just having everyone around you is a commonality.

Now, prior to this whole COVID thing, every new employee at Cloudflare starts in San Francisco.

Guido, do you remember your San Francisco experience when you first got here?

Definitely. Yeah. I liked it. It's very unique.

Like not most companies do that, I think. So that was a great thing. It is, it is neat.

I mean, we've been forced to do now, you know, Cloudflare is still growing, still hiring and across offices and everything.

And it used to be where everybody would come to San Francisco.

And now we're having to do remote onboarding, which I imagine that's going to be, got to be odd.

I'll probably try to interview someone that's in one of the newer classes to see what their, what that experience is like, you know.

And Guido, you said you live about 25 minutes outside of, or not outside of, you're in London.

It's a big city, right? But that's your commute.

What line do you take? I take the Southwestern rail. So basically I go into Waterloo, which is one of the, I think it's the busiest train station.

I think a lot of people do.

A lot of people in Southwest London go there. So I'm really lucky.

Like I actually see the train tracks from my apartment. So, which means that I've been looking, but it's fine.

And Megan, where are you exactly in London?

Yeah, I'm Southwest London. So similar sort of commute, just like, you know, 25 minutes to the office on the tube, just straight to Waterloo.

So pretty convenient.

That's one of the things that I think is going to be interesting on the return to work is public transit.

You know, I live in Oakland and I commute via BART into San Francisco.

And, you know, I miss the office. Absolutely. Who misses BART?

Nobody, right? But, or any kind of, you know, crammed public transit situation.

But when we return to work, I might try biking to the ferry and taking that outdoors.

Yeah, I think that'd be cool. It'll be twice as long, but who am I to complain?

You know, I mean, I know there are other people who have much worse commutes.

So Megan, you're on the marketing team. I remember working with you in San Francisco.

So can you share with our audience, what is it that you do? Or I don't know if your role is any different in San Francisco as it is in London.

Yeah. Yeah. Good question. So similar role, I'm based on the marketing team in London, was previously in San Francisco for, I guess, almost three years before coming here to London.

So I sit on the demand generation team. So I'm a campaign manager, which means I'm responsible for running campaigns that generate leads, pipeline, and ultimately revenue for our sales teams.

So that piece of my role has stayed consistent from, you know, San Francisco to London.

But just in my role here, I'm focusing much more on the EMEA market, supporting the Europe sales teams.

So it's a little bit different in that sense. You know, we have obviously different languages and markets that are, you have the nuances of each of those that you kind of have to learn what works and what doesn't in terms of driving, you know, leads and opportunities.

Whereas in the US, it's not quite as nuanced across different regions.

So it's been a fun challenge over the past year.

Right. Now, obviously, you speak English in London, but you're in the EMEA market.

How many languages are we talking about? Any idea? Oh, let's see. I mean, it's at least like 10.

Probably I'm just thinking of like the key ones on the on the sales team.

It's probably I mean, the key markets that we're running campaigns in local language right now are Dock and France.

So German and French localization involved in that.

But of course, we have, you know, Southern European team, you know, Spanish, Italian, Eastern Europe, Russian.

So we've kind of started with German and French.

And we're moving into those those other regions to localize content and campaigns as well.

Is Dock, Deutschland, Austria and Switzerland? Switzerland, yes.

Okay, so why CH Switzerland? What am I missing here? That is the two the two letter country code, for whatever reason for for Switzerland.

It's like an old, like, you know, centuries ago.

Well, somebody obviously does, but my American ignorance there, but always curious to learn.

So now I know that's interesting.

The and similar to when you're in San Francisco, Megan, imagine you're working with similar teams, but are our London or European counterparts.

Is that right? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I'm still working with kind of the, you know, global marketing team, plenty of my colleagues based that I worked with based in San Francisco, I'm still kind of talking to on a daily, weekly basis, as well, but kind of the wider marketing team.

But definitely working more with kind of the local, you know, sales teams, product teams, and all of that, which has been exciting.

Right, right, right. Yeah. So how much of that? You know, do you have to connect with your American colleagues?

Because time times are tricky.

I mean, getting you guys on the calendar, I really appreciate your giving me some of your Friday night.

Oh, yeah, no worries. No, it's a it is it is tough, because you only really have like, you know, a couple of hours overlapping with each other.

But I think, you know, we make it work each kind of, you know, kind of making sure we'll, you know, if they take an early call one day, I'll take a later call the next day and stuff like that.

But we make it work. Certainly. Now, do you guys do you also have any connection with our Singapore colleagues?

Is there a Megan Weinreich of Singapore?

There is Yeah, Ravi is kind of my counterpart in Singapore.

And now they have a few more people on the team as well, kind of supporting, supporting Ravi and Krishna over there.

So we do kind of, we definitely collaborate with them.

We have like, we meet with them every other week to just talk about, you know, the campaigns are running what we can learn from them and vice versa.

They were kind of the, you know, the the ones that were hit first with COVID.

So we learned a lot from them, in terms of how they reacted with their with their marketing and kind of shift away from in person events, and kind of really having to be creative and think quickly.

So that's been really interesting.

I remember we used to work together on events where we'd have these like, executive dinners and the like.

And any in person type of engagement is seemingly off the table.

We're doing things virtually. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's been it's been quite the quite the shift, but the team is super flexible and talented, and we've kind of made the best of it.

So yeah, learning a lot. Another two questions for you.

One is, I'm curious about like, in that shift in this COVID world now.

How are we doing that?

I mean, is there something you could say at a high level that's like, I imagine that's an exciting and also, you know, terrifying opportunity.

You're just like, it's, you're rebuilding the plane while you're flying.

Yeah, that's that's a great way to put it. Yeah, I mean, really, I mean, you know, our team had a lot of experience running like webinars and kind of a lot of digital campaigns.

Anyway, so it was just kind of, you know, pedal to the metal with, with those and kind of shifting both like budget and resource and effort into kind of doing like more kind of virtual events, webinars.

But also, you know, making sure that, you know, we're trying to keep the quality of the content really high and keep it engaging, because, you know, every other company, all our competitors are doing the same thing, right?

We have to kind of come up with creative ways to kind of stay at the forefront.

So we're learning a lot. We'll continue to keep learning into this this next quarter.

So Oh, before I welcome my next guest, Nicole Phillips, I just want to ask you then Megan, what what's your when did you start at Cloudflare?

You've been there like at least a couple years now, right?

Yeah, a little over three and a half. So I started in October 2016. So it's, it's been a while, it's been a really fun ride to see the company grow so much.

And, you know, see a lot of key milestones and everything. No kidding. I mean, there are probably less than 400 employees at that point.

There were Yeah. Do you remember your fun fact from way back in the day?

I do. Yeah. So my fun fact was that I was an Irish dancer as a kid.

For a few years when I was when I was little, and I danced in a few of the St.

Patrick's Day parades in San Francisco. Fun, fun memories, miss doing that.

That's, that's hilarious. I mean, it's because you know, there's so many people, when you're at Cloudflare longer, you know, not many, there are 300 people that got to see your fun fact, right?

Now it's like a more pressure on the new people.

Very true. Yeah, I don't envy them. Yeah. Well, let me welcome my next guest, Nicole Phillips.

Hi, Nicole. How are you? Hey, how are you?

How's everything going? Very well. I have our London colleagues over here.

Actually, I'm not sure which direction they are. Yeah. They're, they're here.

Or there you go like that. And you're in Austin. So I'm so excited because I haven't talked to anyone in our Austin office yet.

How's the weather? Right now?

It's actually not. It's humid and warm, but not the typical Austin warm. And it's because it's been raining.

So it's not too bad today. It's only like 85. Wow.

Yeah. The concept of rain in July is pretty foreign to me in Northern California.

Okay. Yeah, I would love to have a blast of rain. That would be so nice.

Are you from the Austin area then? No, I actually grew up in the Philadelphia area.

I grew up outside of Philly and then I'm an army wife. So once I met my husband, we were stationed in the Seattle area because at that time, that's when the Iraq war had broke out.

So I was stationed in the Seattle Tacoma area for some time while he did deployments.

Right. Wow. Okay. And you are also an engineer, but different.

What team are you on? What exactly? I am actually on the business intelligence team and I am the data analytics manager.

So like the BI team, we're broken out into three different areas.

We have the big data engineers. We have the analytics area, which is the area I lead and manage.

And then we have the data science area.

Now, even though those are three distinctly different disciplines, we cannot work in silos.

We have to be highly collaborative because we need each other in order to build the overall product.

So our big data engineers, they're the component that ingest the data and make sure the data pipelines are built out in a nice optimal format and structured for both the analytics team and the data science team to be able to consume.

What my team does in particular is we plug into different business units within Cloudflare to really be able to understand what are your business problems that you're trying to solve?

What use cases do you have? And then we take that information back, synthesize it through data so that they can make data informed and actual decisions.

And we right now are using Tableau as our data visualization tool, but there is a lot that goes on before we surface that data.

Wow, that's a lot. I mean, Cloudflare sees a lot of data.

Are the consumers of your work internal stakeholders or external?

Yes, they are internal stakeholders. So we basically help to support the Cloudflare business, whether it's sales, product, marketing, our infrastructure when doing server capacity planning just across the board.

We plug ourselves in as a partner to these business units.

Yeah, I could see where all of these different business units are looking at their analytics in terms of like planning future capacity, figuring out what areas of product need developing or have a particular promise or draw.

So you're probably working with product teams, marketing teams, infrastructure team.

Wow, that's fascinating. Yeah, well, see, when I started Cloudflare, in a sense, they were trying to make decisions based on data, but they didn't have a formalized way to do that.

So my manager, the head of BI Serisha, she pretty much built out an end-to-end team to be able to build us, I would say, a center of excellence around data so we can have the same source of data in the same format, but different decisions are being made off of it so that there is a best practices that's implemented where we all know what the definitions are, where that data is, because as we continue to grow as an organization, we need to have a centralized center of excellence around data to be able to make those business decisions off of.

Right, right. Yeah. And as I mentioned, Cloudflare has about, I think, 27 million web properties on our network.

We are a global network of 200 pops or more than 200. I'm just going to say 200 to be safe, but I know it's more than that.

We're proxying a lot of traffic, so that must be a pretty full plate you have.

Have you always been in analytics or what were you doing prior to Cloudflare?

So prior to Cloudflare, I was in analytics, but my bachelor's degree is in computer science, so I originally wanted to be a software engineer, but I fell into analytics when my husband and I got stationed in the Seattle area right after having my daughter, my first job after having my daughter, I was on a project at Microsoft, and my goal was to be a software engineer.

Well, while in that role is when I discovered the traditional business intelligence at that time, and then I continued down that path because I really enjoyed it.

Right. How did you first get interested in software engineering?

Well, just as a CS major. Well, okay, so I have to take it even a step back.

So in high school, I was just basically good at math and science. And then there was this thing that was going on where they were like, oh, computers want to take over the world.

No one's going to have a job. You're playing in the hay.

So I was like, oh, what is this? So then I've never been one to try and reinvent the wheel, just enhance what I'm already good at.

So I married math, science, and boom, we had computer science, and that's what happened.

So you're in the Austin office.

Is the BI team that you're working with, are they all Austin or are they global?

Who are you working with? So primarily, most of us are in Austin office.

So I said about 90% of the team is in Austin, but we do have about 10% in our San Francisco office, and we are going to start growing some in the Lisbon office.

Oh, I see. Right, right. Now, for those not in the know, your backdrop is in the San Francisco office.

Yes. I've never been to the Austin one, but I hear it's like right in the heart of...

Everything. The heart of everything. Yeah.

What do you miss most about being in the Austin office? The funny thing is I'm almost 50 years old.

So I think what the young people may enjoy about being downtown, I just want to go to work, come home and just do my suburban life thing.

But one of the things I do miss is the fact of just going up to someone's desk and having a conversation, like whether it's work related, what did you do this weekend, and so on.

Whereas if now we're just constantly looking at the computer screen and hanging out and stuff like that and have to adjust to that life.

We make do, right?

Yeah. Well, with our last... I got probably about a minute left here. So in 30 seconds, fun fact.

So my husband and I got married at the Justice of Peace. We took two trains and a bus from Stuttgart, Germany to Belon, Denmark to get married.


Okay. Now we got stationed over there? Is that... Yeah. My husband was stationed in Germany at the time before he got deployed to Iraq.

So I got married before his deployment and then that was it.

Got it. Well, thank you all for taking time out of your Friday to be with me.

We are Cloudflare. Guido Jimenez, Megan Weinreich, Nicole Phillips, this is Chad Butzinter and signing off for We are Cloudflare.

Enjoy your weekend. Okay. Thank you. Have a good one, everyone. Thanks, all.


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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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