Michelle Zatlyn Co-Founder of Cloudflare ($NET) on Building a Better Internet (EP.176)

I’m excited to have my friend and fellow Canadian, Michelle Zatlyn, on the show. We’re going to talk about the internet today. Podcasts wouldn’t exist without it, and you’d be unable to appreciate the banter between Knut and I. But this just feels like the right time in the right moment to talk about the internet. Michelle is just the right person to talk about it with. She’s the co-founder, President, and COO of Cloudflare – the company that helps the internet work. We discuss security, how things really work on the internet, where Cloudflare is headed, and how the hell you grow even faster during COVID.

You can listen to the podcast here on Spotify or Apple podcast and now all the episodes are on my YouTube channel as well.

You can also listen right here on the blog:

For more details on today’s conversation read on below…

Guest: Michelle Zatlyn

Profile: Co-founder, President, and Chief Operating Officer of Cloudflare (NET)

Where to Find Her: Twitter, LinkedIn

What’s Michelle Panicked About?: The loudest voices seem to get heard the most.

The Takeaway:

We have an enduring respect for the miracle that the internet even exists. The world has shifted from seeing the internet as an irreproachable good, to a source of great danger. We’ve been through what often felt like connecting to the internet only brought cyber attacks, toxic social media, and threats to democracy. The increasing polarization and disdainful discourse present real challenges ahead. But at the same time, the internet itself still remains a miracle. What doesn’t kill the internet makes it stronger. Cloudflare’s mission is simply to build a better internet and keep the miracle intact. Their services make anything connecting online faster, safer, and more reliable.

Over 27 million internet properties use Cloudflare; from developers to small businesses to non-profits to 19 of the Fortune 1000. No matter how big or small your project, you get some digital armor. Think of it as digital bouncer meets personal trainer for any size business. On the Future. The internet is a network of networks, and then there’s the web. Those aren’t the same thing. The web is part of the internet, much like an application running on top of it. The web has evolved from web 1.0, which was basically information sharing, to web 2.0, which saw the rise of social, mobile, and the cloud. It made the web more interactive. We’re moving to web 3.0; it’s not really ‘new’. It’s a subsection that keeps evolving. It’s still early and it’s going to change 25 times, but it’s gaining steam. To reach the full potential, we’ll want to make the web more decentralized. Cryptocurrency and the blockchain are part of it. There’s all these new ideas about what the web will mean in our everyday life. And it’s early. It’s very early. What needs to be done and what problems we’ll actually solve remains to be seen. It’s hard to predict future technology, but somehow we’ll make it cheaper, or better, or faster; or there might be less friction. That’s where we’re going, a whole reincarnation of civilization in a digital way.

Favorite Quotes:

“It’s just kind of a reminder for all of us that life is a collection of experiences. Collecting a lot of them usually ends up being a good strategy.”

“When you think about Cloudflare’s values we have three: we’re transparent, we’re curious, and we’re principled. And we pick those very deliberately.”