21 December 2012

Interview: Sylvie LaPerrière of Google


‘To be part of the AMS-IX board is my way of giving back to the Internet community.’

Sylvie LaPerrière, Program Manager Network Content Distribution at Google, is the newest Executive Board Member of the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX). On the day she was appointed by the AMS-IX members we interviewed Sylvie and asked her about her new role, the future of the Internet and her work at Google.

The Association has approved your spot in the board of AMS-IX. What are your first words?

‘I’m very excited about this appointment. I think AMS-IX is a wonderful organization and I’m really happy to be part of it.’

You are the first woman ever to be part of the AMS-IX board. How do you feel about that?

‘It’s a happy moment. I do believe and I do hope that I can convince other women to have a career in the Internet industry. There are a lot of them in our community, but not necessarily at the forefront. I’m hoping that women will follow in my lead, and will also contribute to the Internet community.’

Why do you specifically want to be part of the AMS-IX board?

‘AMS-IX is a very important instance of the Internet. The fact that this industry is community based, and thus doesn’t belong to anyone, is extremely powerful, appealing and democratic to me. Meanwhile I also have enough skills and expertise to be able to work at an instance like AMS-IX.’

‘I really believe that as a professional in networking you need to give back to the Internet community, because we get a lot from it. That’s why I also work voluntarily for NANOG.’

What do you think are the most important characteristics of AMS-IX?

‘AMS-IX is leading by example. The organization has good procedures, good marketing and is business friendly. Every network feels welcome at AMS-IX. I think that is a really good model. It is a model that a lot of other exchanges look up to. They all aspire “I like to be AMS-IX when I grow-up.’ This leading position comes with a responsibility as well. As it grows it needs to maintain the scale and make sure that it stays stable, and gives value for money to the members and the customers.’

How do you see the future of the Internet, and what will be the place of AMS-IX in here?

‘I see a very bright future for AMS-IX. The Internet is growing and to continue this growth it needs to remain open. Internet exchanges are a key to its openness. These instances make sure that everybody is able to interconnect in a cost-effective manner. Internet exchanges as AMS-IX therefore will keep on growing.’

You work for almost three years at Google now. What is your job position there?

‘At Google I’m part of the team that does what we call “the edge”, or in other words the interconnection strategy of Google. It’s all about the bits that leave our network and can enter our partner’s network. It is either peering or caching.’

What do you like most about your job?

‘That it changes all the time. It’s not boring. Our ecosystem is changing. There is a lot of pressure on costs and scale. We are producing more and more content that users want, and want fast.’

‘I like knowing that I do make the Internet more prevalent. We now take for granted that the Internet is there and it’s got to be available all the time. I like the fact that I’m helping to build it. Also I like the fact that I’m helping the group of individuals that do operations, helping them to develop best practices and collaborate together. Collaboration is the spirit of the Internet. We all work for different companies, but in the end of the day we interconnect our networks. I think that is a good model for the Internet.’

What do you like to do when you are not working?

‘I like when I take vacations with my husband and three children. All my children play soccer. So I’m a big soccer fan, and I like watching them play. I like to read a lot, and to cook with my husband at our cooking club. Just activities to be social, and really interact on a human basis.’