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.
It's 2 30. Hi everyone, this is Chaat. I'm your host of We Are Cloudflare. Thanks for joining today and my guests, Roshni and Shannon.
Hi you guys. How are you doing? Hey Chaat, doing well.
How are you? Good, good. All right. So because we all know each other, I figured for today's segment, I would just open up the form and have all three of us on.
Typically on this show for our regular watchers, I do back to back interviews or back to back to back if I have three guests.
But a little backstory, Roshni is in recruiting and she recruited both me and Shannon actually.
So we'll call this on the Cloudflare.
Thank you very much. Some of the best hires. What's that again?
I said some of the best hires. All right. And Shannon is an account executive on our sales team.
So it'll be interesting to talk to someone in sales also who came from the BDR ward, so moved up the program.
So what I typically like to do is just find out a little bit more about like what are, you know, the idea is like, let's share with people what we do and give them an opportunity to get to know a little bit more about the people behind Cloudflare.
Roshni, I'd like to start with you.
And so I already gave away the punchline, you are a recruiter, but do you want to just let us know in your own words what you do?
And I know that recruiting org is more than one person.
So where's your, where do you fit in all that?
Yeah. So I am a recruiter currently based out of the New York office. Been at Cloudflare for four and a half years, probably a little bit more now.
We're in August.
I keep thinking we're only halfway through the year, but we're more than halfway through the year.
So almost five years. Yeah. And it's been a wild ride. The recruiting team has gone from when I joined, it was five people to today where it's, I think, almost 20 people.
So we've grown so much. You know, now we have recruiters that sit in London and Lisbon and Singapore.
I'm in New York. We have Austin recruiters.
We have people in San Francisco, which is where we all started with recruiting.
The recruiting team was originally based out of SF. So got a big team.
We've got big goals and we love to hire. And we're constantly hiring and you know, we haven't slowed down through everything going on.
And so it keeps us all very busy.
Yeah. It's been remarkable to see Cloudflare's growth continue in this environment and it's across the org.
Is that right? It is across the org. Yeah. Nothing's really slowed down on my end.
You know, I support the legal team. I've been supporting the business development representatives.
I've supported our support team, customer support, technical customer support.
And yeah, it just, it keeps going and we're still hiring.
And special projects is still hiring and other recruiters are hiring for engineering.
We've got all our AE roles, product and marketing, you name it, you know, we're still hiring for everything.
So we're very lucky.
And then before Cloudflare, well, yeah, before Cloudflare, what were you doing?
Were you also doing recruiting and people stuff? Yeah. I was at Apple on the recruiting team at Apple.
So I was a recruiting coordinator. So I did more of like the backend, like scheduling of interviews.
And that's what I started out doing at Cloudflare as well.
But we were just such a small team at the time that, you know, was pushed into projects other outside of just scheduling interviews all day long.
And I loved that side of it. There's so much to do at Cloudflare and I tell candidates that all the time that there's never a boring day and no one will really tell you no.
So if there's something you want to do and something you want to take on, most people are like, yeah, run with it, go for it, do it.
Yeah. And so I love that aspect of it.
Yeah. Yeah. Cloudflare TV was one of those opportunities, right?
That was, that was an interesting opportunity. And I, obviously here I am doing the show, right.
I get to talk to people, which is one of my favorite things to do.
Something I have in common with Shannon. We've had many, many conversations.
How are you doing, Shannon? Doing great. How are you, Chuck? All right.
So you are now an account executive, but how did you get to Cloudflare?
What was your, your journey here? And, and, and then I know that you're in a newer role, although you've been in it for, I don't know, almost a year.
Yeah. Like a year, a little bit more than a year. So I've been at Cloudflare for about three years.
And before this, I was at NerdWallet doing personal finance marketing for about three years as well.
And I think my interest in Internet infrastructure started in college when I was doing some research abroad.
I was in a developing country and it was really hard to actually get connected to the Internet.
So I was curious about like who builds the Internet, who makes it happen, who secures the pipes and all of that.
So I just was doing some research, found Cloudflare and ended up connecting with Roshni.
And here we are a couple of years later. I can't believe you've been here three years.
That's like, I feel like I hired you yesterday and same with you, Chad.
It's wild. What, what country were you in Shannon?
Malawi. So really small country in Africa. Yeah. And so Roshni, when you came to Cloudflare, how, how big were we?
We were still in our old, old office in San Francisco.
I joined NSF. We were in our, yeah, our older office. We were 230 people.
So I think I was employee like 234. And when I took a tour of one-on-one Townsend, it was still under construction.
They were wrapping up the finishing touches.
Sales had just moved in. They had taken over the top floor because the old office had gotten so packed and people weren't able to take calls without talking over each other.
And so they were like, all right, sales goes first. And so the top floor was ready to go.
I remember the booths were all pristine and new and shiny.
And, and yeah, and the, the, the all hands was still construction zone and it was awesome.
It was, it was like very tiny, very small company feel. But yeah, 234 or five people.
Now we're at 1500 people around. So it's just fascinating to see how fast we've grown and how big we've gotten.
That's yeah. That is, that is interesting.
And do you remember did fun facts were a thing? Is that right? They were a thing.
Yeah. I messed mine up, but they were a thing. Okay. So what, what was yours?
And if you, if you had a redo, what would it be? Um, uh, mine was that growing up I have, um, I've lived on three different continents growing up.
Um, that was like the funnest thing I could think of.
Um, now I think my fun fact would be that working at Cloudflare, I have worked out of three different offices.
Wow. And that's, that's really unique.
And one of the reasons why I was really excited to talk to you, because you've, you've definitely gotten to observe and see many more offices than you even worked in.
So we were probably at the time you started, we're probably just London, Singapore and San Francisco.
Um, so which, um, where did, what offices did you work out of and which offices have you seen?
I was in San Francisco, um, and London was there and growing, but Singapore had just been kicked off.
Um, and then we had just started it. And so I worked in San Francisco for a year and a half, and then I moved to Singapore and I worked in Singapore for a year and a half.
And then two years ago I moved to the New York office.
So now, um, I've seen the New York office, but I have visited plenty of times.
Um, I've seen the London office and I love the London team and I've visited the Austin office and they're amazing there too.
Um, I need to make it over to Portugal.
That would be awesome. Yeah. Right. Um, yeah. So. And Shannon, have you, uh, had, did you get to see any of the offices besides San Francisco?
Um, let's see.
So I've traveled for Cloudflare mostly to go visit clients or go to conferences, but I have been to one other Cloudflare office in Austin and it was right before the pandemic travel restrictions took place.
I was in Austin in January, um, just in the nick of time.
What were you doing? I was there too. We must've just overlapped.
We just missed each other. Yeah. What were you doing in Austin?
I wanted to go and meet with the sales team there and work with the newer reps to work on training and whatnot.
It was so fun. It was really cool to like build those relationships right before, um, we all started working from home.
It's, it is interesting, right? The going for, I mean, we have new people starting, right?
And they're, they've never stepped foot in one of our offices, which is kind of a bizarre thought.
Um, Shannon, what was your, your fun fact? I actually just checked on my phone because I couldn't remember and I'm neurotic about note-taking and somehow I still have it written.
So my fun fact was that I helped build a coffee shop in the desert.
Oh, all right. Right. Apply a, apply a cafe. Yep. 40 foot dome.
There you have it. Right. Um, yeah, I've never been to any of the other offices, but like you, Shannon, I had, we had the opportunity to travel together for a couple of conferences, great fun.
And it's definitely one of the things that I miss.
And I, I, because it gave us an opportunity to, to, to have face-to-face conversations with, with people, right.
Which everything, everything's virtual now.
And, um, I think that was one of the ideas behind Cloudflare TV is like, can we put a face and a human experience to what Cloudflare is and who we are?
So, um, hi people that I might see at a conference, but I'm not there.
Neither are you. Nothing will ever be able to replace Cirque de Soleil in person like you and I have experienced, but we can do what we can to try to make it happen virtually.
Yeah. It, it, you know, it's, it's interesting when I think about the entertainment industry and like, how are they going to, I mean, live shows, forget about it.
You know what I mean? Broadway, New York, it's so sad. We were actually at a show the weekend before New York shut down and, um, my in-laws are visiting New York and we went and I just remember sitting there like, oh my gosh, like, you know, like someone behind me would cough or, or someone would sneeze.
And I was just like, oh man.
And I, uh, one of our teammates in New York, she knew somebody that worked for the city and said, you know, if anything shuts down, you know, things are getting, going to get real if Broadway shuts down, that'll be the first thing to shut down.
And sure enough, it was. And I, in April, I was, I had tickets to go see Book of Mormon, which I was, I, I'd been waiting for that.
I got them, uh, uh, Christmas time.
I got the tickets, you know, getting ready for, and so April came along and then that got the kibosh.
And I was also supposed to go see Rage Against the Machine at Oracle.
And of course concerts are gone, you know, restaurant industry and, uh, and then everyone's gone virtual.
Um, so that, that's, uh, that is crazy.
What do you guys miss about the office or offices in your case, Roshni?
I mean, I don't know which one you miss the most. Hi, I just miss the people.
Um, I've said it before on Cloudflare TV and other sessions, but I just love the people at Cloudflare.
Um, you know, looking around the room and seeing all the people that I've helped hire and bring on board, that's a very fulfilling and gratifying, um, feeling.
And, um, I miss the lunches, like sitting down with people in all hands areas, just running into people that you don't normally see.
Like when I visited SF, I love catching up with everybody going to get coffee or drinks after work.
Um, but yeah, the people, I definitely miss my desk, having, you know, our desk space and our setups, um, something little, but it makes a huge difference.
Right. Um, the snacks, you know, snacks are awesome too. Can't forget the snacks.
You know, my son is the one who missed the snacks the most. I would sneak them off, you know, a cliff bar or like he loved those, um, fruit roll upy things, you know, and, and Swedish fish, you know, any of the sweet stuff.
That was his favorite thing about visiting the office, that and the, uh, the, uh, the club level, you know?
So all the games and all the games and everything. Um, so I think I've been able to connect a lot with people that are directly on my team.
I feel like we still keep the connection alive. I miss the connection with people outside of my direct swim lane, especially people across the organization that are not necessarily on sales.
Um, I found that because we're working remotely and everyone is on the same level playing field.
It's pretty easy to connect with people virtually.
People are really, um, hungry for that connectivity.
So it's easy to get virtual coffees on the calendar. Um, but speaking of coffee, Oh, I was going to say, but how, how do you, like, what I miss is the, the, like, I know the people that I know, right.
But I don't get the opportunity to just run them, see some person I've never seen before.
It's like, Hey, what do you do here?
And, you know, and learn about their role in the org. And so one of the neat things about this show is like, I've been going through ping board, looking at different parts of the org, seeing if I see a somewhat familiar face that I might know from something and saying like, Hey, you know, I'd love to talk to you about what you do and learn more about your org.
And that's been kind of fun. I think that's the way to do it.
Like a lot of people that I have deep respect for have weekly goals to do at least one meeting a week with, um, with some type of person, whether that's like a new internal employee or, um, a venture capitalist or a person that works in nonprofits that you care about things like that.
So I think in your case, like doing Cloudflare TV is the perfect, uh, forum for connecting with brand new people.
And it can be that, you know, Cloudflare has tons of interns that are working with us and, uh, maybe it's reading the intern newsletter and realizing that one of the people worked on a project.
That's I have to read that newsletter.
I haven't read it yet. Great newsletter. Our interns did an amazing job.
We had a huge intern program this summer, right? How big was it? You know, how many, it was around 80 people, I believe.
Um, yeah, we, we kicked it into gear when we heard everybody was losing their internships and we were like, we can't let all this great talent go to waste.
So Cloudflare decided, you know, we were going to up our intern program and we went from, I think it was like 40 something and we doubled it to like 80 something.
Wow. That's incredible. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. The, um, I, I do miss, you know, thinking about the office, I'm curious about like, um, you know, Roshni, I mean, you, you've actually lived and worked in other offices.
What is similar and what is different between offices? What do you think?
Um, similarities are just, I mean, it's the people we hire are very similar.
Um, you know, it's like the, their goals and the way they view work and the way they are so passionate about the things that they do and so involved in their role and their day to day.
Um, it has, I haven't gone to a single office where I've seen people just slacking off or, or not having that drive and passion for Cloudflare or their job.
Um, it only makes me want to work harder. Um, differences I think would be like cultural or, you know, an international office and the food that they're into or, um, or even maybe like the times that they come in and leave the office.
Um, I think San Francisco, I noticed a lot of people, um, you know, would, would come in around nine, 10 AM, leave around like four or 5 PM.
Um, Singapore, it was later. So people would stay later. Um, until like six or 7 PM even.
Um, and it, it varies too. So like New York's a very sales focused office and a lot of the people in the New York office are sales people.
So in sales teams, so they're always out on customer meetings.
So it's a little bit more sparse.
Um, and, and emptier, um, at times, but, um, yeah, I mean, Singapore was also very highly sales focused office when I first was there.
Um, but it, it's nice to add the different functions into the mix because then, you know, you get a lot of your questions answered a lot quicker.
Like it's good to have technically technical people around sales.
I miss being able to just kind of turn around, tap someone on the shoulder and say, Hey, you know, can you help me out with this and have a, a random conversation or not so random, actually a very directed conversation where I can, but, um, yeah, it is amazing how technology has been able to facilitate things between like, you know, your Google chats and, and, uh, you know, email and, or, or, or zoom calls, you know?
Um, the, I know that, uh, Shannon, I'll feel this on the West coast being in sales.
I think we're in earlier than most people because by the time I get in at nine, it's noon in the East coast.
Right. And like, I gotta get people early on that. So, I mean, that's one of the, the, the pros and cons about working from home is that I can start earlier.
Um, but, uh, I do miss my commute, which sounds weird. I didn't have a bad commute.
It was only like, you know, a 10 minute walk to bar and then 20 minutes on bar and 10 minute, you know, scooter ride on the other side or whatever.
And, and, um, that was kind of like my time to just, you know, I'd have an hour between when I woke up and when I had to like really be on at the office.
And now it's kind of like a crawl out of bed and like, you know, get that coffee and try to have at it.
But then I find like, I miss that, that kind of personal space buffer.
It's that break in your day, you know, it's that, and like that interaction with the environment around you and the people around you, um, that I think I miss.
And then I, I feel like because we're working from home too, we just tend to just, I feel like we schedule way many more meetings, just like back to back to back.
And by the time I'm done with the day, I'm like, Oh my God, where did my day go?
I don't get up to like, go have that coffee down the block. You know, I don't, I don't have that break or that change in my day things up.
And so it all just like kind of rolls into one.
And I find myself accepting more meetings and just like bad habits, not making time for lunch, not putting that block in.
I know I've been, I haven't been good about that either.
I just, you just kind of get on a roll.
And for that, um, Shannon, so you're, you're an account executive, right.
And, um, uh, I know that, you know, the, the sales organization is, is, is large and, and growing and there are many components to it.
So, but you're the first AE that I've actually talked to on the show.
So what, what do you do? What's your, how would you describe that?
So the account executive is kind of a glorified project manager.
Um, the thing that I love about this role, I really love, um, psychology and like neuroscience.
I love knowing what motivates people to make decisions.
And, um, I love working with people to solve problems. So like clever is providing Internet security.
We're securing sites and applications from cyber attacks.
We're speeding them up. So everyone needs Cloudflare and everyone has something like Cloudflare in place or a competitor, or they don't have anything yet.
And they've got like some, some, uh, risk mitigation that they need to take care of.
So there's always a big need and it's just a fun time to go, um, hunting, just going on LinkedIn, finding personal connections, figuring out a way to relate to people and spark conversations.
And then once we get the conversation going, it's just a relationship that you're working through.
So, um, on any given day, I'm sending LinkedIn messages, signal messages, text messages, phone calls, emails, like Twitter messages, just all of the different media that are available.
That's where I am living.
And, um, I think it's important to recognize that like during a global pandemic, there is still a lot of opportunity because people still need to secure their applications, right?
Yeah, exactly. I found that some people, their, their priorities shift and you just got to find them at the right time.
Like obviously, especially early in COVID, there was a lot of things that got initiatives got pushed, but what we'd soon find is that there's some initiatives that you just can't push, especially when it comes to security.
And, you know, I know that with some companies like, like DoorDash, for example, you know, the whole pandemic environment made their, they're like an essential service.
Right. And, um, we help them enable that, which is, I think is a remarkable, uh, pandemic story there.
If, you know, um, now you also are, you talk about your external communications, but you mix with the AE role, your project managing a number of internal stakeholders.
Who do they include? Oh my gosh, every team. So, um, we interface on the accounting executive team.
We interface with product and engineering, um, in order to like bring customer questions and product feedback forward.
So, Hey, this customer needs to do X, Y, Z use case. Can we do it? If not, where is that on the product roadmap?
Um, so there's a lot of conversations with the technical teams.
Um, there are conversations and there's, there's a deep partnership with the solutions engineering team.
So while, um, account executives like me are doing project management and business communications with customers, um, the solutions engineer is working through the technical details of the implementation.
So I work closely with solutions engineers and, um, and also other business functions like legal and finance.
Um, anytime we're doing pricing negotiations, we're interfacing with a lot of internal teams to figure out if, um, if certain deal dynamics make sense from a margins perspective, um, just to make sure that the business is still solvent, um, and that we're doing things that are good for the customer and for Cloudflare.
Right. Right. Yeah. That's interesting. Uh, Roshni, do you, do you recruit, uh, AE level as well, uh, account executives or are you, I have, yeah, I have in the past.
Um, I did for, uh, you know, for the New York region, for the Philly area, um, definitely have supported the AE org as well.
Um, but it's also love, I just love seeing, um, when BDRs, you know, also get promoted to that AE level or any other level within the org.
Right. Yeah. To see where everyone develops into and the growth paths that are available.
So, so when you're looking at BDRs, are you looking past BDR when you talk to them or are you, are you looking for, you know, no, I mean, we, we want, you know, we want that, we want that skillset that will grow beyond being a BDR.
Um, we build our BDR bench to promote from within.
Um, and, and we want these people, the, we want the hires to kind of, um, gain that knowledge and gain that foundation and understanding of Cloudflare and our products, and then take their talents and skillsets to other teams within the org.
Um, you know, Cloudflare definitely promotes from within and that's what we, what, that's what we look for.
I think there's a lot opportunity at Cloudflare.
Yeah. And there continues to be, um, do you, um, uh, when you're talking to, or when you're looking at, at BDRs, uh, do you, I guess you already answered my question in terms of like, you know, where, where are they going next in terms of like, you know, the growth path and, um, are there, oh yeah.
My, my question was, are, what's the hardest thing about recruiting?
Because there's, there's a lot of interest in Cloudflare, uh, right.
And, uh, on one level, that's gotta be great.
And on another level that I imagine it presents challenges.
So what would you say is the, the, the, the trickiest part about trying to, uh, maintain the, the level of, of talent as well as the, the, the, you know, the culture, the vibe of, of the company?
Well, when you say there's a lot of interest in Cloudflare, um, it's funny because when I first started here and when I first moved to like Singapore, you know, nobody knew that Cloudflare even existed or that Cloudflare was a company and that we were such a prevalent part of the Internet.
Um, I remember in Singapore and I would talk about Cloudflare and people would be like, yo, tell me more.
What, what is this company? You know, we weren't the LinkedIn's, Google's, Facebook's of the world or of Singapore yet.
Um, and I went back to Singapore last October and I, I was at, um, I was getting some drinks with some people, like some professionals and some friends at this bar and someone came up to me and they were like, oh my God, congratulations on the IPO and congratulations on, you know, working at Cloudflare and your office here is so amazing.
And I was shocked that this person knew what Cloudflare was or who we were, like that we even existed and had an office in Singapore.
We used to tell people like, yes, we do have an office in Singapore.
Um, we do hire in Singapore too and we were building teams in Singapore.
So, um, you know, that is just so cool to see.
Um, I remember, I think when I started our applicant tracking system back in the day only had 3000 applications in it total.
Um, and now I think in the last quarter, we got like 27,000 applications or something like that.
Um, and so the interest is definitely grown and, um, you know, working at Apple, I remember when I saw that around 3000 were in the applicant tracking system, I was like, compared to Apple, this is, this is like so crazy.
It's so slow. Um, and now, you know, we're, we're catching up, we're at par, we're getting there.
Um, and, and yeah, and I, the, what is the hardest part about recruiting?
I think it's not being able to hire everybody.
Oh, really? It's tough. It's tough to decline people. It's tough to not be able to hire all the great talent that is out there.
Um, which is why we always say, if it's not a fit today, it may be a fit tomorrow.
So never give up and keep, keep checking our postings, keep checking our careers page.
We will, you know, there's new teams that are always getting built out or starting, um, things that we didn't need like two years ago or five years ago, or today we will need in the next like five to 10 years, even here.
Um, so I think just always keep reapplying and keep, keep in touch with the recruiter that you have been in touch with.
Um, but it's, yeah, I, I, you know, I wish I could hire everybody, but, um, well, if it, I, my clock says two 58, so we probably have like a minute 30.
So in 30 seconds or less, is there anything super cool that either of you are working on that you're totally stoked about?
Work related. Oh, okay. Well, we're not, we probably have like less than 30 seconds.
So I would say the puppy I just got, Oh, there you go. I just got working on it.
I'm glad it's yours though. Um, I've been doing a lot of soul work outside of Cloudflare.
So a lot of writing and meditation, and I just launched a newsletter.
Ah, that's great. Well, my son just started fourth grade in a virtual environment, which is, uh, an interesting experiment here.
Uh, but, uh, that that's kind of my big project for the fall.
Uh, well, I want to thank both of you so much for joining me today on, uh, we are Cloudflare.
Thanks so much.