Ep. 12, Featuring Gary Ballabio from Cloudinary

Season 2 (Episode 12) - XWP Interviewing Cloudinary

We all want a high quality visual experience on our website. Beautiful graphics and animations can be heavy and they’re not engaging if they take too long to load.

Cloudinary provides an optimized digital experience to over 1 million developers tasked with building gorgeous websites quickly. How do they do it? Let’s find out on this episode of The XWP Tonight Show.

Transcript:

Amit

We all want a high quality visual experience on our website. The problem is speed, but page load time and time to create the most beautiful graphics and animations are heavy, can take days to create, and they’re not engaging if they take too long to load. Cloudinary is the solution to all that Cloudinary provides an optimized digital experience to over 1 million developers tasked with building gorgeous websites quickly.

How do they do it? Let’s find out on this episode of The XWP Tonight Show. Good evening and welcome to the XWP Tonight Show. My guest tonight is Gary Ballabio, VP of Technology Partnerships at Cloudinary. Gary, welcome to the show.

Gary

Thank you, Amit, really happy to be here. I’ve always wanted to be on The Tonight Show.

Amit

All right, well, let’s go back to the beginning. Cloudinary started out by three engineers, who were really trying to face a challenge that they needed to solve, what was that particular problem that they were facing?

Gary

Back in 2012, our founders were a group of engineers working at a development agency/design agency. And they were building applications and websites for startups and other companies out of Israel, actually. And they were hitting this recurring problem, where they needed to manipulate assets for all the different types of devices and browsers, which may be visiting the different web pages and mobile applications that they were working on. And they weren’t quite satisfied with the solutions that were available at the time. And so they took the problem into their own hands, and they solved it themselves. And it was a situation where the solution that they came up with really worked so well, they were able to apply it on many other websites and applications that they were building themselves. And they figured you know what, let’s try to spin this out and see if others find it useful as well. And so that’s exactly what they did.

That’s how Cloudinary was born. It was problem-solving for images first, being able to manipulate, crop, resize, make other modifications to the content that then grew to supporting video. And then from there, it grew to supporting Digital Asset Management. And that basically covers our portfolio today. It’s a solution for both web developers, front end developers, as well as marketers and asset managers trying to organize all the media assets that are part of their library.

Amit

I love that, I find it so interesting to see a big organization like Cloudinary that is international and has so many amazing customers, but then to take a step back and hear really how it all began. Now Cloudinary engaged with XWP to take your solution as a plugin to WordPress, what made you choose to focus on WordPress?

Gary

Cloudinary is very complimentary to CMS platforms. And of course, WordPress being the largest CMS platform in the world, it’s a very obvious choice to want to work with WordPress. But it wasn’t just the fact that we were a complimentary service. We also saw a real need and a way that Cloudinary could really add value to the whole ecosystem for work for WordPress, help make the experience that much better and help users outgrow the installed base of WordPress as well. Now with our solution. So that’s why we did it.

We had a WordPress plugin in market for many years, I believe the first one we developed was back in 2013. And we decided to go down a journey of revamping the plugin. And we made that decision in 2018. And right from the get go, we wanted to make sure that we could make our plugin usable to anybody in the WordPress ecosystem, all the way from individual users all the way up to large scale enterprises. Which is why we chose to work with XWP to help us with that journey and utilize their expertise to help us build such a plugin to help us do that.

Amit

And didn’t cloudinary win plugin of the year?

Gary

Thank you for mentioning that. We did win an award for plugin of the year and in 2020. It was a Martec Award for Best WordPress Plugin for the Year. So that’s something that we’re really proud of, especially since we were in market for so long. And especially since we’ve invested so much in trying to make sure that our plugin was a natural extension with WordPress, and it fit in really well with WordPress. So it’s definitely something we’re very proud of.

Amit

Now Cloudinary has an amazing team of developers. Why did you decide to expand externally for the WordPress solution?

Gary

Well, we found in building the integrations that we have, and we have integrations with many different CMS’s, and many different ecommerce platforms. And what we found through our experiences was that there’s a lot of value in working with developers who are real experts in the field, in that ecosystem that we’re trying to build ourselves into. We wanted to take an approach of putting the experience of the end user, the day to day end user of WordPress, putting their experience first, and making sure that the integration was a very natural extension for them.

We didn’t want to just take what Cloudinary built, and just stuffed it into WordPress, because that won’t necessarily work for people. They don’t necessarily want it to work the way we think it should work. We wanted it to work the way an end user of WordPress would want it to work. And so that’s why we decided to work with an agency that had this expertise. And XWP was a company that fit the bill really great for us. And that’s why we chose to work with XWP.

Amit

Now I know XWP and Cloudinary have a lot of further work that they’re planning on for the future. Now, I don’t want to give away any the secrets, what can you let us know about what you’re most excited about for the future of the plugin?

Gary

We’re always looking at different ways that we can uniquely add value or provide unique ways to improve performance for any website out there. Whether that be ways that we can automatically optimize content, or ways that we can just reduce down page sizes, and maybe even make page loading more optimal as well. So there’s a lot of plans that we have, directions that we’re going to with the plugin. We’re really excited about our upcoming launch. So it’s definitely something to keep an eye on as we evolve those changes, and we release them towards the end of this year.

Amit

Thank you so much, Gary. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. And it is such a pleasure and an honor for XWP to be working with Cloudinary. Thank you very much for being on the XWP Tonight Show.

Gary

It was a lot of fun. Thank you for that.

Amit

Thank you everyone. We’ll see you next time.