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Please introduce yourself: My name is Clair and I’m a Senior Program Manager at Vimeo. I work with C-suite, multi-country product leads, and PMO managers to produce meaningful organizational change. I also deliver business critical initiatives at an enterprise scale and my expertise is in digital transformation, process redesign, and revenue optimization. I currently live in Manhattan with my husband, and I’m originally from Korea. You have a diverse background from working in design to consulting, how did you find yourself in tech? When my father got third stage cancer, I was 17 and education was a luxury. It took away my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, and I had to work 2 jobs to be the breadwinner of my home. When I was 19, I submitted a 1200-word article to the Korea Times' Thoughts for Times section. The Korea IT Times Editor in Chief took notice of my work and scouted me as a reporter while I was taking online University classes. I learned from the world’s tech leaders and served as a media partner to over 200 IT companies to promote their products and services online. I promised myself that once my baby sister graduated college, I’d pursue a Master’s program with my own savings, and it took me 10 years to reach that goal. From all the schools I applied to, Parsons School of Design offered me a merit-based scholarship, and I chose to study strategic design and management, allowing me to dive deep into different methods of design thinking and managing creative work. This time in my life came with a few different challenges, as I applied to 320 companies and revised my resume 221 times. However, each time I received a rejection letter, I’d dissect the job description and dedicate myself to self-improvement. New knowledge and certifications led to the project opportunities with Nike, Delonghi, and Toyota’s design and engineering teams. In 2018, PWC gave me an opportunity by the time I gained 6 certifications, including, The Wharton School Financial and Business Modeling, PMP, CSM, and Google Adwords. By the time I completed the Lean Six Sigma course, I was led to the tech industry, Vimeo. How has Google Cloud made an impact on you? Google Cloud has always been my amplifier. In 2022 at Vimeo, the principal engineer of the hosting Ops team designed a new container solution with our Core Services and Video Platform team to cost-effectively store large video files at Vimeo. We selected Google to be our partner for this endeavor when we were using multiple regional storage solutions. Through the Google Cloud STS service, we migrated large legacy video files into a new bucket safely in less than 3 months. The principal engineers of Google partnered with our video platform, core services, and hosting ops teams to assess risks and proactively manage them. The success of this complex project, in partnership with the best teams of both parties, resulted in substantial cost savings. A shout out to Dave Stoner’s team at Google! Additionally, in 2005, I was a reporter at the Korea IT Times. We had a competitive advantage for being the nation’s first English IT specialized online/offline journal. However, the business couldn’t sustain itself with new technological advances. When my paycheck fell behind, I suggested to the CEO to redesign our website to meet Google News requirements. At that time, we had to rebuild the entire website for our English content to syndicate to Google News. We did this for the first time in Korea, and what this meant was an increase in sponsorship by 200% and revenue by six folds. When our media partners exhibited at the international fairs, they could share the article link in the follow up email rather than distributing the paper kits. Google has always been a powerful tool in my life and has been a driving force to help solve critical issues. What does being a leader mean to you?I think sometimes I struggle to define that myself. It used to be about “Am I doing enough for others? Am I dedicating enough time for them?” I thought those were the qualities of a leader. When I think about the term today, I believe it’s rooted in company growth. The challenge here is to be the force of nature as a leader that can empower others to reach their own destiny while also balancing the needs of a team. I think rather than always being the person who relies on facts, guidelines and analysis, I’m learning to embrace my natural feminine identity in the progress of striving for effective communication. When faced with a challenge or obstacle in life, how do you handle it? To be honest, being in the United States has really helped. Failures and obstacles are viewed as a part of the journey rather than a form of shame. However, in the culture I grew up in, mistakes were viewed harshly. As an immigrant from a different country, I struggle with questioning myself and my expectations. When this happens, I turn to music or running. A recent hobby of mine has been writing TV show scripts, and I realized that writing helps me to look into the bad moments of a day from a bird’s eye view. It’s very therapeutic and helps me to understand that whatever is happening is just a part of season one. If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would that be?I would tell myself that when there is a will, there's a path. When I was younger, I always had a will but keeping faith was a challenge. Life felt giant, and everyday felt like I was never excellent enough to become successful, when really, I didn’t have a definition of success. I’d tell myself to create a vision, get credentials, and never stop learning. In my case, every time I was about to give up, someone always found me and led me closer to my ambition, and they took notice of my track record dedicated to continuous improvement. I believe you shouldn’t stop being an eternal student. Continuously seek wisdom through knowledge, and have faith that the perfect award awaits you. How would you like to see organizations celebrate female talent?I was recently very inspired by an event titled “I Am Remarkable.” Culturally, we grow up hearing that modesty is the best virtue. Especially when you are a woman, the better job security is there when we nail the back scene supporter role. It was an emotional event for me to witness because these amazing women celebrated their wins from small to big, and were being vulnerable while also empowering each other. It made me want to create more time and space to participate in these events to nurture my own confidence so that I can be more comfortable in my own skin. The remarkable women were building a strong community by recognizing greatness in others, and I'd love to belong to more communities like this to inspire meaningful changes in the world. What is your favorite aspect of working with other women?Women together are like “stars aligned” in my perception. I once belonged to a certain type of culture where men with a higher title would serve the role of a “hero” of a team. We have great female leaders that joined Vimeo from Google and Amazon for our key product areas. Our presence helped mixed groups at Vimeo to shine brighter together. Sometimes I imagine us looking like a Saggitarius together, other days like an Aquarius––here when the stars are aligned, we constantly ask each other what can be done by the work function or at the leadership level to remove impediments and overcome any limitations for the simple mission: enable the power of video. We bring balanced perceptions, empowerment, and strong will to accomplish our mission together. Who are your role models? Currently, the CEO of Vimeo, Anjali Sud, and CFO Gillian Munson have deeply inspired me. I’ve never seen such strong leaders who empower us with smart management who are also furiously vulnerable with us and display humility. This is the first time in my career where I am working for or with a female C-Suite. Recently, when Anjali spoke in our Town Hall that times like this define who we truly are and how together we can become stronger, I dearly missed my Japanese grandmother. She was devoted and positive throughout all crises, including post-war family loss and rebuilding. She has been a true role model in my heart. For young women going into the tech space, what advice would you give them?First, you need to find and understand your interest, then connect it to tech areas where you could make an impact. I’d recommend researching what you have to accomplish in terms of credentials to get into that market, and I’d also narrow down the search to areas that you’d be interested in learning more about as well. There are many online courses available that will provide you with a glimpse of University professors teaching different topics that will help you strengthen that interest. Once you’ve narrowed it down, take a look at the job descriptions in that field, because it is like a cheat sheet for where you want to go! Dissect the requirements and see which ones you can tackle currently and map out the ones that you can achieve in the future. There are small, tactful hints you can catch in job descriptions that are quite actionable now and will make you feel like you’re working towards your end goal. Dream on! Want to read similar articles? Check out these other interviews with women in Cloud: Women in Cloud: Meet Shobana Shankar
Please introduce yourself! My name is Shobana Shankar and I’ve currently been at Google for 5 years leading the ISV Sales Specialist team. I have been in a few previous roles at Google, such as initiatives related to resellers. However, the current focus right now is on ISVs. There is a lot of growth expected over the next few years for us in this area, which is very exciting! What were some of your hobbies and interests growing up that you think led to your current career path? I have had hobbies and interests all over the map. Growing up, I was highly involved in competitive sports. Track and field as well as volleyball were some of my favorites. I was also working towards joining the Olympics team during high school. Overall, I played a lot of sports for my district and for my state. I never really saw a classroom on a daily basis because all I wanted to do was be out there playing sports. The competitiveness, team dynamics, and the end goal of winning a game is what really drove me towards athletics. After my dad moved to the United States, my passions eventually switched. I found myself becoming involved with dancing. From hip-hop, modern contemporary, and Bollywood, I indulged myself in many different styles of dance.I’ve also always been interested in math and science, which naturally led me to pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer systems engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I was the only female in my class as well, but found myself very excited about the subject. I think teamwork, collaborating, and the idea of winning together are fundamental values that I have carried throughout my personal and professional life. I think of my team and I as one driving force trying to figure out how to succeed together, and my background in sports is what instilled my beliefs about team dynamics. What advice would you give women that are trying to break into this industry?I think any woman who wants to break out into this industry would benefit from finding a mentor. My mentor helped me to navigate difficult situations that I faced and I was able to follow the example of someone that I looked up to. They can also help you navigate the industry and connect you with people who can help you succeed. I also believe that representation is very important. There are now a lot of female leaders in the tech industry and success stories that are published and discussed, as well as success stories involving women. I think following those stories will inspire others to chase their dreams and eliminate any self-limiting beliefs. Believe in yourself and your passions and it will take you far! How can the tech industry demonstrate that it truly values female talent? I think there have been a lot of good changes that will continue to help. Organizations continuing to highlight female talent and creating an inclusive as well as equitable environment by celebrating the successes of women is making a positive impact. This also goes back to representation and showing women that this can be done and that they have the ability to do it themselves. Outside of that, Google is doing some amazing initiatives as well that involve promoting a culture that empowers female talent. What is your favorite aspect of working at Google Cloud?The people, hands down! The talent here is unmatchable, which leads to a great culture. There is a word we have here at Google, which is “Googleyness.” It’s hard to define at times, and everyone has their own unique perception of it. However, I think it’s a combination of grit and passion as well as doing things the right way. At Google, it is more about how you do it than what you do, which I think fosters a lot of positive energy and promotes collaboration. Could you share an empowering story that highlights being a woman in tech?Jim Anderson built a women’s community within the partner channel in our group that gets together on a monthly or quarterly basis. The group is rooted in sharing each other’s stories and how we’re navigating different environments as women. I shared a story as a part of the kickoff that was about me almost quitting full-time work to take care of my children. After the kickoff, I received so many messages from other women who shared a similar story. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves, and we often tend to hide things that are going on, especially when you’re a mom. There’s so many scenarios that involve work and family that can often be stressful. I think it’s important to remember that there are many other people going through something similar who are trying to juggle 100 responsibilities at the same time. Having a supportive community and talking about it is what truly makes a positive difference. As a woman, how do you balance being career-oriented with other aspects of your life?I wish I had a magical answer for that question. It is not always the easiest, but I think taking it one day at a time is important. Thinking about your overarching goals and having a good support system is also helpful. When I just had my kids, COVID hit very hard, and I went from working in an office everyday to being fully remote with two small children, which was quite difficult. It was the leaders who made the difference during that time. For example, when I wanted to quit, It was the leaders who suggested taking two months to figure out what worked for me in terms of my working style. Within the first month, I was able to determine what would work for me, and it was the support from leadership that provided me with that flexibility. How did you realize Google Cloud was a good fit for you?I’ve always looked at Google as a great company to work for, since the beginning of my career. It’s known for its great talent, and we’ve all had a chance to use their products. Google Cloud reached out to me when I was working at a startup in San Francisco. Someone I worked with at Cisco who was at Google at the time reached out to me about the role. The interview process also reassured my positive perception of Google. The questions that were asked as well as discussing the culture demonstrated that Google truly cares about hiring the right leaders and people. The ground-breaking technology and amazing culture is why I know I’m at the right place. What advice would you give to women in tech who are still early in their career journey?Network! Look at people who are successful in the areas that you might have an interest in. Meet as many people as possible, explore different avenues, and definitely lock in that mentor. Have an open mind when meeting people, especially in tech. Networking can make a huge difference as you progress in your career and are looking for different transitions.
The Google Cloud Tech channel on YouTube published this fun, multi-video “choose your own adventure” experience to explain the different options for scaling your cloud infrastructure. In this Choose Your Own Cloud Adventure, YOU get to make the choices for the engineers at the (fake) new startup, EatAndRun. EatAndRun specializes in pairing runners with the best food options while they’re on-the-go. The company has gained national attention and user traffic is skyrocketing! Bukola’s and Max’s application isn’t ready to handle this massive spike, so they’ve proposed Cloud CDN OR managed instance groups (MIGS) as viable solution candidates. Should they scale up their backend services or speed up the delivery of their assets? The choice is up to you! Which do you choose?Load Balancers and Managed Instance Groups Content Delivery Network and Caching Share your thoughts below on which option you would choose and why.Have experience with this use case? We’d love to hear your story.
In 1999, Urs Hölzle joined Google as one of its first 10 employees and the first vice president of engineering. Twenty-one years later, he serves as the senior vice president for technical infrastructure and oversees the design, installation, and operation of the servers, networks, and data centers that power Google’s services. In sum, he is the person in charge of making all of Google’s wares available to developers around the world via Google Cloud.Watch the whole interview below.
This article was originally published on September 30, 2020.In 1999, Urs Hölzle joined Google as one of its first 10 employees and the first vice president of engineering. Twenty-one years later, he serves as the senior vice president for technical infrastructure and oversees the design, installation, and operation of the servers, networks, and data centers that power Google’s services. In sum, he is the person in charge of making all of Google’s wares available to developers around the world via Google Cloud.Hölzle is one of few people so intimately familiar with Google’s infrastructure and how it has evolved through the years to become one of the world’s largest computing systems.While his roots are in Switzerland, Hölzle received his Ph.D. from Stanford, where he invented the fundamental techniques that are used in most of today's leading Java compilers. He established himself as a professor of computer science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before joining Google and beginning his most notable work: downloading and indexing the entire world wide web and serving it up as the ubiquitous search engine we know today.Urs HölzleUrs Hölzle: Looking Inward to Plan Forward When Hölzle began his tenure, he and his team were tasked with engineering the computer infrastructure for Google’s search engine on what he’s referred to as “not very much money.” Of that experience, he has said: “That was 18 years of hard work.” But it’s that hard work that led to further innovation.What started off as a focus on an individual server has led to one of the largest networks of servers as well as very efficient data centers. In fact, Hölzle and his team have reduced the energy used by Google data centers to less than 50% of the industry average.Hölzle has commented that he sees Google as any other large company. “We have IT systems. We have security problems. We have compliance problems. We have HR systems…. We look at other companies really as companies that struggle with the same problems that we have struggled with.” It makes sense, then, that because Google has had the same types of problems, it is in a better position to help solve those problems. “All of these things are things that actually any 50,000-person company has, and a subset of those are things that a 1,000-person company has.” In his most current role, Hölzle works to ensure that all those who rely on Google’s servers, networks, and data centers have access, and that Google’s infrastructure can hold all of it up.The Tech Guru Aims for New HeightsMuch of Hölzle’s attention these days is on making Google’s technical infrastructure available to developers around the world through Google Cloud. In 2018, he wrote about the important goal of Internet companies to offer services that can be accessed by hundreds of millions of users--no matter where they are. “Through the years, we’ve worked hard to continually improve how we serve users in all corners of the world,” he wrote at the time. “From an infrastructure perspective, this has meant focusing on how best to route data securely, balance processing loads and storage needs, and prevent data loss, corruption, and outages.”Earlier this year, he wrote another article focused on keeping the Google network infrastructure strong amid COVID-19. He noted, “This may be a time of global uncertainty, but we're working hard to ensure the Google network is there for everyone, business or consumer, day and night.”Hölzle has made no secret about his views on the future of Google Cloud: “For the cloud to take over the world, it needs to make everyone successful.” It’s not just a product but rather an ecosystem where open source creates the standard, he contends. “With open source, you have a way to have a standard because everyone uses the same piece of code… but at the same time, you can evolve and move the ecosystem forward.” The Upcoming Revolution in CloudIn his recent keynote address during Google Next 2020, Hölzle discussed what’s next in enterprise IT. He noted two key things: first, that enterprise innovation can catch up to the rate of consumer innovation, but only if the enterprise adopts an always up-to-date software stack that works across any cloud, as well as on premise and on the edge; and second, that Google Anthos is exactly that. “Anthos is as safe and as clear a choice as back when choosing Linux, because it runs everywhere,” he said during his keynote. “It’s based on open source and communities, and everything will run on top of that.” He added, “The beauty of Anthos is that it doesn’t try to do too much. It standardizes the things that should not be different.”When asked about his thoughts on what is missing from the cloud today, Hölzle suggested, “a lot.” Hölzle believes the cloud is still at its infancy, and there is still much more work to do. For example, he compared the cloud we know today to the first smartphone made available to the masses. “It’s like trying to imagine a phone right now without the app store. I predict in 2025, we’ll really be embarrassed about the cloud of 2020.” “The game changer will be to move away from the idea of having three different clouds we need to pick from,” he added. “Anthos combined with Kubernetes gives you open standards and flexibility. From there, you can mix and match and adopt the things that work best for you.” He added, “That is really what the next big revolution in the cloud will be.”
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