Friends in tech: Tony Perez

Founder

Tony Perez

Company

NOC.org

Industry

Networking Services

Time in this Industry

11+ Years

Origin Story

Oh gosh, where to even begin.. the most relevant to this industry probably starts around 2009. Prior to that I was in tech, but I was a Defense contractor working on government projects and systems. 

It was in 2009 that I was first instructed to WordPress, and where I started my first startup in the space. It was a boutique WordPress agency. That lasted about a year before we decided to close shop and double down on a new project – Sucuri (2011). 

Sucuri was a website security platform for micro-businesses. We helped fix hacked websites, and we worked to keep them from getting hacked again. That was at the core of what we were trying to do. It was founded by Daniel, and he invited Dre and me to join him to get it off the ground. It was a super rad experience, and truth be told our first real go at starting, operating, something of this scale. In 2017, Daniel and I made the decision to sell the company to GoDaddy. That was a whole different kind of experience. 

Between 2017 and 2020 I was the GM for GoDaddy’s security product group, which put me at the upper echelons of the GoDaddy apparatus, responsible for a very large business unit, focused on all security products. Including our Certificate Authority (CA), and the Sucuri portfolio. 

Around the same time, Daniel and I started another fun project – CleanBrowsing. It is a content filtering service that leverages DNS resolvers to help an administrator control what can and can’t be seen on their network. We started this as a free service in 2018, completely separate from what we were doing at GoDaddy. In 2020 we decided I should devote more attention to the project, so I left GoDaddy to focus on the project. I’ve come to realize I am not a big company guy. 

Today, CleanBrowsing is doing about 3 billion requests a day, with 50 something points of presence around the world. It’s helping millions of devices, and thousands of users control what happens on their network. We built it as a solution for ourselves, both Daniel and I have three kids, and we didn’t like what OpenDNS was offering. So we built an alternative. 

To help build CleanBrowsing, we came into the same challenges we had when we were building Sucuri around building large, global, networks. Like before, we started building our solutions to help us scale CleanBrowsing, and NOC was born. In 2021, we released NOC.org to the world. 

NOC.org is a networking platform, it offers administrators a suite of services to help manage their digital assets like websites and servers. The key services are an Authoritative DNS, Content Delivery Network (CDN), Performance Monitoring platform, and some security. Over the next 12 months, we’ll continue to add services we rely on to manage our own fleet of assets in the hopes that it makes another administrator’s life that much simpler. It’s effective, skips the BS, and very affordable

How has COVID had an effect?

At CleanBrowsing, a big audience for us was schools. COVID saw a lot of schools shut down, so that really slowed things down. Same applies to organizations with public space – think Airports, Coffee houses, Libraries..

A Typical Day

In addition to my tech work, I have a ranchette in Texas. This means I am up around 7 am / 7:30 am to feed. When you think about it, it’s not that early. I then go to my office and get to business. 

Running, building, two businesses at the same time, especially during a pandemic, is not exactly something I would recommend to others. 

Most mornings are spent reading the latest news from the evening, articles I have set aside, and working with customers. Simultaneously, I am checking my networks and servers for issues. Depending on how the customer engagements go will usually dictate my afternoons. But the afternoons I spend working on projects, whether that’s writing content, researching, or playing on the networks to see what might be interesting. There is a good amount of time in there where Daniel and I spend it talking, thinking, and testing new ideas. 

Around 4:30 pm / 5 pm every day I go out to spend time with the horses. 

I have a small herd of horses, 7 head, and of cows, 7 heifers (female cows that haven’t had babies yet). For about 2/3 hours each day, I spend working the horses, this tends to happen at least 5 days a week. Somewhere in the week, I’ll throw in some time on the peloton, it’s been my replacement to BJJ.

Current Workspace

I have a barn built on the property, and next to that barn I had an office built. That’s kind of where I live these days. Keeps the wife and kids happy, and me sane. 

I have one very basic stand-up desk I have had for about 7 years, with dual 27″ screens attached to a desktop I built. That’s it. Nothing fancy.

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