Interesting Data Gigs # 12: Data Infra Team Lead at Cloudinary

A bootstrapped juggernaut that scaled the biz to $100M in ARR without any outside funding

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Hello Data geeks.

Sorry for the late email to you.

The past 2 weeks have been very complicated for my family and me: my mother needed surgery and it was done 3 days ago (August 29th, 2022).

It was very complicated because we thought that was a simple and quick procedure, but the reality was another. She was in the surgery room for more than 4 hours.

Fortunately, she is recovering well from that surgery, and very soon, she will be smiling and dancing with her grandchildren here in our home.

I wasn’t in the right state of mind in order to write to you, but now I’m in better shape for it.

Today, I will be discussing a very interesting role in one of my favorite companies in the world: Data Infra Team Lead at Cloudinary.

I would love to start here with one of the free tools provided by Cloudinary, and a potential client for the company:, one of the most visited websites in Peru.

What is Cloudinary

Let’s discuss what is Cloudinary and why I’m particularly excited to write about it.

The best description I’ve found about the company was in the post from Itai Lahan (CEO and co-founder of the company) writing about the investment from Blackstone Group, reaching a valuation of $2 Billion USD (more of this later):

Visuals have long held a power beyond words. From the world’s first known photograph, taken nearly 200 years ago, to this past weekend’s Super Bowl ads, visuals have captivated us, inspired us, and connected us. So it’s no wonder that in today’s digital world, visual content is incredibly important for companies to do right.

Creating and delivering these visual experiences quickly at scale is critical to all online businesses, yet it’s not as easy as it looks. Behind every visual interaction is a brand working incredibly hard to ensure the experience is fast and flawless, and often personalized. What was once just really hard is now extremely complex, difficult to get right, too costly to get wrong, and rarely your core know-how.

Cloudinary’s AI-powered approach to media management makes it possible for brands to deliver the engaging, digital experiences they dream about without the operational inefficiencies and headaches.

With more than a million users and nearly 10,000 customers across all industries, including Nintendo, Neiman Marcus, NBC, Tesla, and Uber, it’s not unusual to experience Cloudinary every day.

Our suite of media experience solutions manages more than 60 billion assets—and often more than 100 million assets every day.

It’s an exciting time for our customers and our team to say the least. As we approach our 10th anniversary, we are proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to working with you to help you unleash the full potential of your media. And in many ways, it feels like we’re just getting started.

I highlighted some of the most interesting stats above, but I will continue:

To be fully honest with you: I don’t care about this. I strongly believe that the $100M ARR milestone is more impressive than the $2 billion valuation number.

To understand what actually Cloudinary does in simple terms is this: they have an API for images and video assets that provides a way to serve all these assets, transform them and deliver them to millions of users with the best possible quality.

Just read here what they did for

And it seems that the strategy is paying off: more than 10k businesses ( and 100k developers) including Tesla, Virgin, NBC, Bombas, Nintendo, and many other global brands are relying on Cloudinary’s services to deliver amazing image and video based experiences to their customers.

The business is literally exploding, so it’s a very good time to be part of the Cloudinary crew.

Let’s talk about the position now

Let’s dissect the position to understand how to make an impression there:

The data infrastructure team comprises software and data professionals tackling complex data problems, with billions of data points generated and processed daily.

As a Team Lead, you will own and lead building a team that builds and maintains an applicative layer, its services, infrastructure, and APIs which will be used both by several internal teams and external customer-facing

Yes, you have to be aware that Cloudinary is playing in the Big Data league here:

With over 60 billion assets managed, up to 2000 pieces of content processed by algorithms each second

Read again: 2k pieces of content processed by algorithms each second. That’s a lot of processing.

Now, just imagine for a second that you make this “processing“ more efficient: perhaps the system can increase up to 2500 pieces of content processed, using for example AWS Graviton based instances for it.

This could be a very good test to make here.

The role includes:

About you:

There are some good hints here:

  • Cloudinary is a AWS shop, so again: keep in mind the Graviton idea

  • They embrace DevOps (they have to) because you have to be very efficient to generate millions in revenue with less than 600 employees. So the keyword here is: Automation, Automation, Automation.

  • They use (or are planning to use) Spark, Snowflake for DataWarehousing, Airflow for orchestration, AWS Kinesis. So, if you find some resources how to use this combination of tools in a more efficient way, it will be very welcome there.

So, let’s see how some good ideas could be critical to stand out in your job application there.

Let’s discuss two ideas on how to approach this job application (THE REAL MEAT)

Idea # 1: Play with the API and with the free tools

Even when you will be working in a Data focused role, you will be working in a company where it’s not recommended to say:

It’s not my job

Cloudinary has 500+ employees in charge of millions in revenue, so this is not an environment where the quite quitting fenomenon is welcome.

My advice here? Play with their API, use its free tools.

Perhaps you have something inside your network that could be a potential client for Cloudinary. Who knows !!!

Idea # 2: Efficiency is Cloudinary’s bread and butter, so act like it with AWS Graviton

Look inside your tools arsenal how you could do the company’s operations more efficient, especially in the Data Infrastructure front.

For example, in my weekly newsletter dedicated to AWS Graviton, I shared 5 resources of real-world use cases how to embrace this incredible processor for your needs:

  • The first one is this amazing talk from Liz-Fong Jones (a Principal Developer Advocate at Honeycomb and an AWS Hero), where she explained how the company is running their infrastructure on 100% AWS Graviton2 and Graviton3 based instances.

  • The second resource is this incredible post from Jiri Pik (a Cloud Architect for Oquant, Inc and another AWS Community Builder) where he described how EWS Capital embraced AWS Graviton3 for all its infrastructure and what they learned from it.

  • The third one is this amazing sample developed by Syl Taylor (a Specialist Solutions Architect from AWS focused on EC2 Graviton) that provides steps to run a ML model (optimized with SageMaker Neo) on AWS Lambda (arm64) by building and loading a container image. If you want to see more Graviton-focused code on GitHub, use this link

  • The fourth one, is this amazing post from Melody Yang ( a Senior Big Data Solution Architect for Amazon EMR at AWS) where she compared two escenarios for Amazon EMR on EKS using Graviton3 and Graviton2 based infrastrucure, and with the first one, she got a 19% performance improvement over Graviton2 based infrastructure

  • And the fifth one is this incredible workshop code from Marcin Bednarz (a Principal Solutions Architect at AWS) where he helps people to deploy services such as EKS, ECS, RDS, and EMR on Graviton2 instances using AWS CDK for initial deployment

These resources could be a very good starting point for Cloudinary to embrace AWS Graviton based infrastructure.

Idea # 3: Reach out the team

I will let you here possible colleagues that could be very beneficial for you because they are in the Data Analytics side of the business:

Good luck in your application.

🚨 Join the Interesting Data Gigs Talent Network 🚨

It’s the perfect time to be part of The Interesting Data Gigs Talent Network, where you will find amazing Data Analytics jobs from companies like Netflix, Apple, Stripe, Calendly, and many more.

Let’s change the game together: Instead of people applying to companies, companies will pitch to you, so don’t wait any other moment and join today.

Other featured jobs of the Talent Network

Interesting resources of the week

I just wanted to let you know I’m writing a new newsletter focused on AWS Graviton, in order to keep people informed of the last trends, use cases, videos, resources related to this amazing technology from Amazon Web Services.

As one of the new AWS Community Builders, this will be my main contribution to the word spreading of AWS tech.

You can subscribe here:

And the second thing I want to mention is that my good friends of Firebolt are looking for Data Engineers and Datawahouse Engineers to discuss what are some of the biggest problems people have with today's current data stack / infrastructure.

If you are open for a quick chat about, please send a message to Sean Romberg ([email protected])

Final words

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Marcos out.

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