Cloudflare TV

We are Cloudflare

Presented by Chaat Butsunturn, David Ngo, Connor Peshek
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.


Transcript (Beta)

Well, it's 2.30. This is Chaat Butsunturn. I'm your host of We Are Cloudflare. I've got a couple of guests today.

My first one, David Ngo. How are you doing, David? Good.

How are you? All right. David is with the Trusted Safety team, right? Correct.

Right. And I met David in part because we're both fans of pho, which is probably one of the things I really miss about the office.

But you're in Trusted Safety, and I also worked with you when we had a customer calling in and saying like, there's someone spoofing us on your site.

So could you just provide like, what do you do at Cloudflare?

What is Trusted Safety? What's your role? So Trusted Safety, I guess the best way to say it is, you know, building the trust for our customers to use our platform or network.

You know, as you build that trust, you know, people tend to use us more and more.

And, you know, at the same time, we provide that safety to make sure like, all right, people are using it.

They're not being, you know, you're saying spoofed.

They're not running to like phishing malware.

But overall, you know, part of my job is just like network hygiene. Making sure that all the bad actors are handled.

At the same time, you know, you do a lot of educating, you deal a lot with law enforcement.

You know, there's people will be like, hey, we're gonna serve you a subpoena, or like we're asking for specific data, but they don't fully understand what Cloudflare does.

And, you know, it's an educational part.

We're like, hey, you know, reverse proxy. This is what we do.

This is the type of information we have. And other than that, like other typical day-to-days, you know, dealing out with reports.

People could be coming in and saying like, hey, you know, there's a picture of me on this specific site.

What are the next steps to remove it? So, yeah, I remember from when I worked on sales on inbound, I would field calls and sometimes inquiries where people thought that we were a hosting company, which we're not.

And for those not in the know about what a reverse proxy is or what the difference between a host is, could you provide us a high-level explanation of that?

Or shall I take a stab? How about you take a stab and then maybe I'll try to see.

There you go. Okay. Well, a host, as most people would understand, is where your website would exist.

And that's where, whereas with Cloudflare, even if you took Cloudflare out of the picture, your website's still going to be on the host.

So when people ask us, like, hey, you know, this website's on Cloudflare.

Can you take it down? I mean, hey, you could kick them off of Cloudflare or whatever, and they're still going to be out in the interwebs.

So what a reverse proxy is, is we're basically saving a copy.

That's one of the common use cases for Cloudflare is a CDN, right? And so because we're saving a copy of it, people are thinking that we're actually hosting it because they see Cloudflare's name servers.

And so they think, oh, it must be on Cloudflare.

How'd I do? That is a great job. I mean, like, you nailed it to a T. I mean, there's no way you can describe it better than that.

Because you get questions like people are saying, and I imagine this is where law enforcement comes in.

Like, they get a subpoena. It's like, oh, you have this website on Cloudflare.

So what do you tell them? You know, it's basically, you try to break it down to a non-technical perspective, right?

You see it as like, all right, what is the reverse proxy that you're seeing?

The best way I typically try to describe from a non-technical perspective is like, all right, they understand caching.

If they don't understand caching, you kind of like, kind of lower or not saying use less technical terms, but basically just trying to state that, hey, we cache a lot of images, files or whatsoever.

The reason why you're seeing, you know, our IP for these reasons, and then try to help them better understand, you know, how our network or how our product works.

Right, right. So then how do you close the loop on that?

You just point them in the right direction and say like, yeah, you know, we're just saving the copy, but if you want the original, you got to go that way.

Typically in that circumstance, we guide them to the host.

We're like, hey, if you're looking for, you know, say, for example, they'll reach out to us.

So like, hey, we need information, we don't have this information.

Then we'll point them to the host and like, hey, this is the host that you should be talking to.

And typically there's no pushback behind that, the reach out to the host.

And then, you know, I'd say 99, 99% of the time, the hosts are pretty compliant with their requests.

What about when people submit abuse reports? Like they, they submit a ticket on the abuse on, on our website and they say, on the Cloudflare website to submit an abuse ticket.

Is that something that your team deals with also? Yeah, it's a part, I mean, majority of our team also deals with that.

I think to give better context about trust and safety, it's kind of like a gray area for us because like, say, for example, if somebody submits a abuse report, it's like, hey, I don't like this site, you know, please take it down.

Or like, hey, this is a phishing site, but their definition of phishing is different from ours.

I think that's more difficult when it comes to trust and safety in general, is that like drawing that line and defining it because my definition of phishing could be different than yours, Chad.

So as long as we're being consistent across the team and fully understanding, you know, what is expected from each other, like what's the definition of phishing or malware, we could be typically are pretty consistent all around.

Right. So are there teams that you work with closely within Cloudflare and some more closely than others?

I would say closely would, that's a good question. I mean, like, one I think of is support, support, you know, like there's a lot of tickets that we kind of like push back and forth.

So we're like, hey, somebody reached out to support, support, like, this is not a support related issue.

This would be trust and safety, vice versa.

We also deal a lot, work closely with network and security team, like that security, like, all right, this is not a trusted safety related issue.

Maybe we would escalate this to security, vice versa. Network, what we deal with them closely would be just people, not saying abusing the network, but like using high bandwidth.

Somebody like, hey, I'm a free user. And then their bandwidth is, you know, a terabyte per month.

And, you know, it's something that's well in our, you know, service, and then we'll talk to them and figure out like tools or figure out ways to solve this type of situation.

Got it. Right.

So in our green room chat, we're talking about the pre-Cloudflare days. So what did you do before Cloudflare?

What I did before Cloudflare was actually worked at a mobile security company.

It's called Lookout, I think. Oh, yeah. Yeah. They, during that time, I think they were mostly targeting Android users because that's where, you know, phishing and malware were mostly happening.

Well, what I did there was I was actually a senior tech support.

So going from there, from security, understanding how that works.

Yeah, I made the transition jumping over to Cloudflare. I was like, all right.

I wanted to stay in the security type of space. And it all worked out.

Right. Right. So, so you, we had an all team today at the company and talking about the growth of the company.

And you've been here longer than anyone I know.

What was it now? Yeah, it was six years. My six year was two days ago on July 7th.

And how many employees were there when you joined? I mean, from my estimate, you know, this is a rough count.

I think it was around 70 or 80 in the SF office.

I know that we just, we opened the London office in that time. And those are the only two offices.

Oh, so you predated Singapore? Yeah. Wow. Okay. Do you know when Singapore opened?

That is a good question. I would say, because like, I do have two team members on there and we hired them a little bit over two years ago.

Well, I know the Singapore office was around when I joined, which was about three years ago or so.

And, you know, my, my, my class was about, I think I said seven people, you had four and I, when I came on, there were maybe about 400 employees.

So it already had quadrupled in size since when you got there. And now we're like over a thousand employees.

What's that like? I mean, thinking about what the, I mean, could you have seen like, Oh, in five years, we're going to be X or going to be this?

No, I would, I've never seen this coming. I mean, like, I think it's just a great blessing because one, I've never experienced this at all, you know, coming from during that time of startup, right.

Like a really small company.

And now we're almost at 2000 employees. Wow. Yeah. Growth. I'm seeing the change, you know, being part of that process and building out the team.

It's just a great experience.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So did they have back in the day, fun facts?

Yes, it was pretty nerve wracking because, you know, you just get hired on, you know, they got you to stand in all hands, you know, during that time was what it was in a really small area, but it was pretty nerve wracking.

My fun fact was, what was it again?

Oh, yeah. I collect shoes. So I had during that time over 150 sneakers.

Oh my God. So that's 150 pairs. We're not talking about, it's actually 300 sneakers, I guess.

So maybe my shoe collections growing at the same pace as our company.

That's pretty good.

Do you like Jen Taylor's shoe game? Oh yeah. It's just, she's pretty good shoe game.

I'm gonna see her every now and then like it's different kicks all the time and I'm definitely digging it.

That's hilarious. Right. Right.

Yeah. So yeah, the, the fun fact is an interesting tradition. I wonder, I wonder where it started, but I always like to ask people about that because, you know, it's the way they, they catch the question is what's something about you that we wouldn't be able to tell from looking at your resume.

Great. What was yours?

Mine. Oh my. Let's see. Mine was that I'm an avid mountain biker, but I do I probably do most of my mountain biking at night.

Oh, wait. I know. Right. Is that kind of dangerous?

Oh, you know, I've been doing, I've been riding. I couldn't believe I was doing the math.

I've been riding these trails for almost 20 years. And so at this point I know them really well, but the backstory to it is I used to play ultimate Frisbee and we would play ultimate on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we had tournaments on weekends.

And so Wednesday we're like, Hey, what should we do?

And we said, let's ride. And we would go after work. And then now we're all you know, old farts.

And so we stopped playing ultimate. We have kids. So you get to put the kids down.

Your weekends are taken by family stuff and we continue. But on Wednesday nights, you know, I don't even have to think about it.

It's automatic. I get, I know that I'll, I'll show up at trailhead and meet up with, you know, some, some of the guys, we don't know who's going to show up or what route you're going to take.

But when we have lamps, we have, we have lamps and bar lamps.

So that's where I do my most consistent writing. So I went last night actually in Oakland Hills, which is pretty cool.

And yeah, so that was, that was my fun fact.

And at the time I actually had, I had stitches in my head and a broken finger, you know, but that was from day writing.

I was like, Oh man, I should have closed my eyes or something.

I guess it's a myth that's dangerous at night. So I probably more safer.

Yeah. Right. Well, the thing is at night, you're not going to go quite as fast, honestly.

And, and I, you know, the, the, what I like about night riding is that it opens up more trail options to you because there are no hikers, no, you know, you're not going to find horses on at night, you know, you do see some wildlife, but yeah, that's about it.

So what do you miss about the office? I haven't seen you since I know, like, I think the last thing that we had lunch was probably earlier this year, right, right before March.

But what I miss about the office, just the social, I mean, this is the social part, the interaction, the camaraderie.

I mean, you know, like say, for example, you know, you, you know, somebody within your pod, you just turn around and ask them a question, something work related, or just going down in the kitchens, like, oh, I'm gonna get some snacks.

Just to meet people at the office. I think that's one thing I miss the most is just, hey, you know, we're all doing this together.

I mean, working remotely is fine.

But at the same time, you know, it has its pros and cons. Yeah, yeah, I agree.

Like, I do miss the, like, even where our office is by, by Oracle Park, they're not actually a ton of lunch options.

But what I appreciate about, about you and Vaseth is that we would like say, like, hey, let's go to, let's go to Chinatown.

Yeah, yeah. Exactly. So we get dumplings or pho. And that's the kind of stuff that I really miss.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So is there anything that you're really stoked to be working on these days?

Or, I mean, I don't know what those projects would be remotely.

Yeah, so what I'm currently pretty stoked on working on is, it's a long project, but it's basically our repeat infringer policy.

This is my first time actually working with the policy team in creating a new policy, I guess you would say.

It's super cool. You know, like, you have a lot of input into it.

I'm working on it for over a year. And you've seen the process behind it to where, all right, you know, there was, you know, a Google Doc that we all worked on, and coming up with requirements, working on like, you know, how this policy work, you know, all the way to now to where like, we do have, you know, this policy written up and how do we enforce it and so on.

So just seeing that whole lifecycle, you say from an idea to how the policy came out, I think that was a cool experience.

Yeah, I think it's great that you can have and take ownership of projects like that, even at a large company, you know, because it's not like every team is large, right?

So it's like, you have all these teams that as a whole, make Cloudflare.

And that's part of what we're trying to do at We Are Cloudflare is just introduce people to different teams and the people that make it happen.

So, well, David, thanks for joining.

Really appreciate it. Yeah. All right. So I'll just catch you later.

Maybe we'll catch up. All right. All right. I'll talk to you soon.

All right. We'll see you. All right. Well, introducing my next guest, Connor, how you doing?

Good. How you doing? Yeah, good. So Connor, you are in developer. Well, I don't know if it's developer relations, developer evangelist, develop.

What do you do?

That's great question. All of it. So the title really changes from company to company, developer advocate, developer.

I mean, we use developer relations, which is it's odd to say, like, oh, I'm a developer relationist, right?

Or like, I'm a developer relation, or it's a weird term, but developer advocate, developer relations is more common.

There's a couple other titles that are slipping my mind right now.

But mainly the job of all of these different titles come together to be at any point that the company interfaces with developers and try to be there to make that experience really nice.

So. So who are these developers and what's their relationship to Cloudflare?

We're in the universe of things. Could you could you paint that picture a little bit?

Yeah, I guess like what what type of developers are it does Cloudflare work with?

Is that the question? Or is it? Well, when you say developer relations, who are these developers that you're talking to?

Are they internal or the external? Oh, I see. Yeah, definitely. Definitely external is the focus.

So, you know, I mean, it's kind of a big, it's a big space in this in the fact of like, there's a lot of different ways to, to do that, since that since the idea is so broad to just interface of developers for the company, right.

So depending on the, depending on the company, you're at a lot of different teams will focus on things different ways, although there's a lot of things that align together, as in, some companies, developer relations may be under marketing, like it is here, it may be under product, it may be under engineering, there's a lot of different things, but more so to get more to the point of Cloudflare, a lot of a lot of, we've changed a lot.

So before there is a big focus on actually, a lot of like front end developers that were external, because we were helping people with the apps platform and get them to understand our app platform work, do they want to build apps on us, that later switched to more, I'd say more back end focus engineers, when it came to workers, when it came to, hey, you could convert this piece of logic on your website and have it running workers, or you could use workers to enhance your current setup, or things like that.

At the current moment, our focus is mainly on startups, which isn't necessarily, like always engineers that we're talking to.

But we're trying to talk to a lot of companies and show them that they can start from the ground up and use us as an early part of their stack and get a lot of benefits from that.

So these are developers that use Cloudflare then.

Is that right? Yeah, yeah. Some of the developers are building products that on the Cloudflare platform, like what is the, what's the apps world that we were referring to here?

Yeah, it's so sad. It's so sad.

I actually, when I first started learning engineering, I actually interned on what is now our apps platform, helping build apps and things like that.

It's a big part of how I learned to write code.

So it's a little sad for me. It doesn't, it doesn't get as much love as we would like, you know?

Is it kind of like the app store, you know, like on Apple, you know?

That was kind of the idea. Basically, the idea was, if you're on Cloudflare, and you need to enhance your website, so let's say you have a website, and you want to add a modal to it.

So you know, sometimes you go to a web page, the first time you go there screen goes black, it's pop up, sign up for our newsletter.

Like you want to add that, but you don't know how to do that. If you're on Cloudflare, and you can actually still do this, you can go to our apps platform.

It's the little plus icon up in the nav bar. And you can click that and go, Oh, hey, here's this app, I want to add it to my website, you click it, and then you configure a couple things.

I want to show up on this page with this coloring this that, and then just click, you know, save.

And then it's just a part of your website.

And you didn't have to write any code, you don't have to do anything, we can just serve that along with your website for you.

So that was the whole idea behind it.

It's just right now, it's, it doesn't, we both didn't, we didn't get as many developers as we wanted developing on it.

And we also didn't. There's, there's definitely highly requested features, people really wanted to weave in with workers, which is you really want to, it just hasn't happened yet.

So for at the current moment, it kind of has turned into a project that we it looks like we're going to come back to at a later point.

All right. Yeah. So what is the so what's your day to day when we say developer relations, you know, I mean, everyone knows investor relations and public relations and, you know, so developer relations, what do you what do you do?

Right. So at the current moment, I'm really kind of pulled between two big projects.

But the our developer documentation, like that's an important interface with developers.

So I actually just helped do a pretty big rewrite where we had if you go to developers at, you can see, you know, we have that big product grid of Yes, right.

So before all of those were their own separate repo with their own deploy.

And they were written in Hugo, and I was asked to help convert all of them to one repo with one deploy in Gatsby.

So that was a pretty big rewrite to go through to get everything to work.

centralized, because like, when I'm, when I'm, when I'm emailing prospects, you know, I can refer them to a specific developer page like developer dot slash worker, right?

Or just generally to the developers pages, see what else you can do.

It's like a playground, you know, you could go in there and and try us out.

Yeah, just just monkey bar to monkey bar, just check it all out.

Yeah. What did you do before? Before Cloudflare before you came here? And have you always been developer evangelist since you came here?

Since I came here?

Yeah. Before that, I mean, to step a little bit further back, I used to a lot of my jobs are like factory work and pizza delivery.

Really? Yeah, yeah, for a pretty long time.

I love all these stories. I was telling earlier, have you met Mikey and CSM?

Oh, no, no. Before CSM. He was in our CSAP team, customer support team.

Yeah. Before that, he's working at Toyota dealership. Okay. He was driving the cars in the lot parking and it's just like, like, what?

And then I talked to the other guy, he used to work at Whole Foods.

And now he's on our tech support engineer for enterprise customers.

You know, so that's like, we have all kinds of crazy backgrounds.

Yeah, yeah. Sorry, I felt like I cut you off. I was just Oh, no, no, no, I love I'm probably the one that cut you off.

No, no, I was gonna say it's one of the things I really like about Cloudflare is it is a place where I meet so many people that have so many different wacky backgrounds.

And I feel like there's something I brought up before where I didn't feel like there was like a concrete like message that was said to me that like, this is what our culture is, and you have to adhere to it.

But what I almost feel like is like, naturally, just the right people were selected that you meet a lot of like Cloudflare people.

Because that's Yeah.

I do think that, you know, and I'd mentioned this, I think, in a previous episode that, you know, the the bat, the universal values of curiosity and empathy are very apparent, you know, I think we're really good humans.

And we have we have a, you know, a lot of our mission helping to build, you know, we're trying to help people, right.

And, and, and I think there's that, but everyone is also very, very curious and very interested, they ask good questions.

And I think those are the things that we find in common.

And that's why you can just randomly in the office, meet people, you know, even cross cross offices, Austin, London, Seattle, Kirkland, I should say, you know, yeah, we're attracting all the, the, you know, those things that we all value and have in common.

Yeah, we're kind of naturally attracting the, I want to say the morals, but that seems like not maybe the exact word, but you know, the characteristics character.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

What's, um, so wait, when did you? When did you start? I started, I want to say two and a half years ago.

That might be a little inaccurate. It's definitely been over two years, though.

I started. What was your what was your fun fact? My fun fact.

So I kind of had to because I missed I got hired. So at the time back then, when I was hired, developer relations was heavily focused on going to events and talking to people directly.

Right. So I, yeah, I actually I did my first event with Cloudflare before I even worked here.

It was I was just offered to do it.

I tried it out. It was cool. So when I was hired, like, I think I was here for not even a full week and immediately had to go to an event.

So I missed my first beer meeting and didn't get to give a fun back.

Fun fact. I was forced to give two.

The rule is you're compounded every one that you missed. Yeah. So my one at the time was actually I was living in hostels, which I loved.

I mean, I was traveling so much.

I'd only sometimes be in San Francisco for a week and be gone for a month back for a week.

So I was bouncing on hostels, meeting new people. I'm on the phone.

So the first one is that I lived in a hostel. The second one was that I was planning to live in a vehicle in either like renovate out a bus or live in like a motor home, which I did.

I lived in a class B camper van for about three months and then I got a box truck and converted it into an RV inside.

That was fun.

Where did it locate? Yeah. Yeah. So the first vehicle was mostly in San Francisco and I was maybe like a seven minute bike ride from the office.

So when I like into the office, take showers.

Pretty nice. The second vehicle, I bounced between that spot and Oakland.

I basically lived in a DIY trailer park with a bunch of people and that was actually super fun too.

You know what this reminds me of? So for those not in the know, I met Connor at Toastmasters and there, I forget what the question was, but I remember your answer, which was that you like one of your goals or one of the things you wanted to do was just like leave it all behind and live in the wilderness.

I do. Yes, absolutely. So I've been thinking about it more because my son, who's nine, he's like obsessed with getting a Swiss Army knife.

Right. Okay.

So like, and I just think of that as a fun utilitarian, like go out in the wilderness and you can like saw a little branch or whittle a stick down or whatever, you know, so not he's going to go Rambo.

I'd have to survive. Right. You just drop them off in the woods for a week with a hatchet and a Swiss Army knife.

Like Lord of the Rings.

Right. Right. Or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. Fun facts are interesting.

What do you miss about being in the office? Big part of what I miss is just that you got a little bit of a connection.

Like I said before, I really do think there's something really cool about a lot of people that work at Cloudflare and it was really nice to bump into those people and have a short little chat.

You'd end up, a lot of times talking about some crazy, someone being like, Oh, I'm training to be like a marathon biker or like stuff like that.

You know, that's a real conversation I had with someone, which is awesome.

So yeah, you, yeah. I feel like I would just all the time get these crazy little things that were really fun.

And I think that's for sure. The thing I miss the most about the office. Yeah.

Yeah. I know that that is like one of the, you know, I, I still continue to ask that question of everybody, even though it seems like we all have the same answers.

And I wonder if outside of Cloudflare, people would say, if you ask them, like, what do you miss about being in office?

I mean, that's probably it. I mean, like human connection, right?

I mean, here we are in our own little bubbles and, you know, thanks to technology, we have the ability to connect, but it's still, still kind of, there aren't these rooms where you can just kind of like drop in and out.

Like you'd mentioned in our green room conversation, like the idea of discord, where you can just kind of hop in and just seize around and have a chat.

Yeah. And I really wish there was more of that for sure.

So are there any particular projects or initiatives that you're particularly stoked to be working on right now for, for internal in the company?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I actually think the startup one is super cool.

We're really getting to empower a lot of startups to try us out fully, basically get a free year of Cloudflare, try anything you want on it.

We'll turn it on. We'll help you support that product, get it working for, for you.

And it's really cool to work with a lot of these startups and you see cool ideas.

People who want to like revolutionize the way that you think about getting computers instead of buying.

I won't go into too much detail.

It's nice that we could be a part of that. Exactly. If you believe it, that 15 minutes is up.

And I know, right. So we're at the end of my, my episode. I don't even know what episode this is.

I'll have to keep track, but I want to thank you, Connor, for, for dropping in for, we are Cloudflare.

And until next time, this is Chad and Connor signing off.

Have a good one. All right. Take it easy.

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We Are Cloudflare
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