Cloudflare TV: Doing it Live, 1,000 Times and Counting

Last week, Cloudflare TV celebrated its first anniversary the only way it knows how: with a broadcast brimming with live programming spanning everything from the keynotes of Cloudflare Connect, to a day-long virtual career fair, to our flagship game show Silicon Valley Squares. When our co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince introduced Cloudflare TV to the […]

Cloudflare TV: Doing it Live, 1,000 Times and Counting

Cloudflare TV: Doing it Live, 1,000 Times and Counting

Last week, Cloudflare TV celebrated its first anniversary the only way it knows how: with a broadcast brimming with live programming spanning everything from the keynotes of Cloudflare Connect, to a day-long virtual career fair, to our flagship game show Silicon Valley Squares.

When our co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince introduced Cloudflare TV to the world last year, he described it as a platform for experimentation. By empowering Cloudflare employees to try whatever they could think up on air — bound only by restraints of common sense — we hoped to unlock aspects of our team’s talent and creativity that otherwise might go untapped in the midst of the pandemic.

The results, as they say, have been extraordinary.

Since launching in June 2020, Cloudflare TV has featured over 1,000 original live episodes covering an incredible array of topics: technical deep dives and tutorials like Hardware at Cloudflare, Leveling up Web Performance with HTTP/3, and Hacker Time. Security expertise from top CISOs and compliance experts. In-depth policy discussions. And of course, updates on Cloudflare’s products with weekly episodes of Latest from Product and Engineering, Estas Semanas en Cloudflare en Español, and launch-day introductions to Magic WAN, Magic Firewall, Cloudflare Pages, and Stream Connect.

We’ve seen a wealth of content that can only be described as inspirational — like Vets at Cloudflare exploring the journeys of military veterans, This is What a Technologist Looks Like showcasing diversity across the industry, and Yes We Can, Cloudflare co-founder, President & COO Michelle Zatlyn’s series debunking the myth that there are no women in tech. Founder Focus has shared the stories of dozens of entrepreneurs, Between Two Clouds delves into the world of customer support, and series like Home Office TV and Cooking With Cloudflare have given an inside look at the personalities (and recipes) that make the Cloudflare community so unique.

All told, Cloudflare TV has featured well over one thousand presenters and their illustrious guests. We’ve been fortunate to welcome the likes of Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom; Cindy Cohn, Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; John Collison, co-founder and President of Stripe; and Jackie Smalls, Chief Programs Officer at Code.org, to name a few.

We’ve also seen amazing contributions from Cloudflare’s Employee Resource Groups — including Latinflare celebrating Cinco De Mayo, Womenflare celebrating Women’s Empowerment Month, Asianflare and Desiflare celebrating APAC Heritage Month, Afroflare celebrating Black History Month (UK & US), Mindflare (supporting mental health awareness), Cloudflare’s sustainability group, Greencloud, and Proudflare, Cloudflare’s LGBTQIA+ group, which is celebrating Pride all month long.

The feedback from fans has been extraordinary. We regularly receive messages from viewers telling us how much they were inspired by a recent guest, or sharing that they leave Cloudflare TV “playing in the background all day.” You can tell they care, because they also let us know that they don’t appreciate when the commercials are louder than the program itself (we’re working on that!)

Perhaps the most meaningful impact of Cloudflare TV has been the way it’s connected the Cloudflare team. Cloudflare is growing quickly, and many team members have never set foot in a Cloudflare office. For anyone who is new to the company, Cloudflare TV has served as a way to get to know their colleagues, and vice versa. Job candidates use it to learn about the teams they aspire to work on. And we all get an excuse to talk to folks beyond the borders of our usual Zoom calls. It is, in a sense, the ultimate virtual water cooler — and the water is spiked with the adrenaline rush of live TV. It’s a potent mix that often leads to declarations of, “that was fun!”

It sure is.

Supporting such a broad array of on-air talent is no small feat, and we have an amazing production team that helps ensure every session goes smoothly (give or take). Many of our Cloudflare TV Producers have roles at Cloudflare that were radically impacted by the pandemic, including our office management and executive admin teams. Few of them had prior TV experience. But that hasn’t kept them from becoming absolutely indispensable.

Before each and every live session — all 1,000+ of them — Cloudflare TV’s producers join our hosts to make sure they have everything they need. They provide crucial technical support, soothe pre-show jitters, and deal with the myriad tiny (and not-so-tiny) emergencies that make live TV so exciting. They are television producers in every sense of the word, and they have helped make this newfangled platform a very human experience, at a time when such things matter.

Also, our engineers are pretty great too. Speaking of which…

Next Season on Cloudflare TV…

Cloudflare TV began as an experiment, and that label still applies. We’re finding creative ways to navigate our own pain points, dogfooding Cloudflare’s newest technologies, and generally trying to take advantage of the fact that this is not well-charted territory. We’ll soon share more technical details on how we run a TV station 24/7, and some of the tools we’re building along the way. Here’s an appetizer.

Our product roadmap includes many of the things you’d expect, like an easier way to find your favorite episodes, and to hear about upcoming new ones. The rainbow bars adorning this blog post will make fewer cameos on the broadcast itself. And just like any good experiment: there will be surprises.

So tune in, geek out — and don’t touch that dial.

Source: Cloudflare