Facebook (Meta) Headquarters Tour: My Experience

Facebook (Meta) Headquarters Tour: My Experience

Recently, I had the happy experience of a Facebook HQ tour! Such an interesting day!   I have benefited greatly from FB–both on the commercial side as an author, but also from the wonderful connections I’ve made with FB friends all over the country. And the world!  It was exciting to get an insider’s look from an end user’s perspective.

They use the term “hacker” a lot, but they mean it in a different way than we think of it. I think of “hacker” as criminal activity . . . but they use it to mean “customizing.” They even hold “hack-a-thons” to try and build a better workspace or create something new.

As you drive into Hacker Way, you see these rather traditional-looking buildings. Once inside . . . it’s anything but. Very college campus-like.

Once you’re signed in and given a badge,and sign a pledge to reveal secrets (seriously!) . . . you can go anywhere. The interior of the buildings is designed like a quad.

Bridges between buildings are painted “golden-gate” orange . . . for obvious reasons.

A little warming station . . . which we need in California lately.

Stores line the quad–this one is the bike shop. Bikes were everywhere, available for employees to zoom around the quad. They had free telephone stores, stores to help fix your computer, even vending machines with computer parts (batteries, cords, new keyboards).

Company store–filled with FB apparel and items. Bet a lot of stockings are stuffed with FB branded things each Christmas!

This bike is in front of a “garage door.” Behind it is a conference room, designed for employee brainstorming. Lots of those around the quad.

Believe it or not, they have foxes on campus. Real ones! This is a wooden one, but the real McCoys are sneaking around the campus. There’s a specially designated fox-habitat area, and the campus was certified for wild-life. Oh, so Facebook-like.

Video arcade for employees to hang out. I would have epilepsy if I spent much time in there.

Next to the video arcade is one of MANY fast-food restaurants. Burgers, pizzas, burritos, sushi, sweet shops, coffee shops, vending machines filled with snacks and beverages. All free. Delicious food! My contact said he gained 7-10 pounds when he first started working at FB.

The interior of the buildings were mostly open seating, with small conference rooms named for those born in the 1980-1990’s. (Harry Potter-themed, for example). Very little privacy . . . so here’s a telephone booth for a private call to tell your roommates you’ll be late again. And an interior swing for employees to “chill.” This playground was near the mini-kitchen. More food.

Some impressions: the employees are VERRRRRRRYYYY young. My contact said the average age was 25-30. They all walk in a hurry, and they kind of resemble each other. Tall, lanky (I don’t get that at all . . . not with the free food they provide), and definitely computer-science types.

There’s a sense of egalitarianism–Mark Z works at a desk like everyone else, has a conference room with glass walls that looks out on the quad–can be seen by all. There aren’t labels like “senior” analyst or programmer. Everyone is on equal footing, which is part of the openly creative atmosphere.

Really interesting stuff going on there! And they sure seem to be hiring. As I waited in the lobby, I saw dozens of nervous-looking young people with messenger bags slung over their shoulders, waiting to be called in.

Loved being a part of the FB experience . . . if only for a day!

10 things to know about Facebook headquarters

  1. The back side of the famous 1 Hacker Way Facebook sign board at the entrance has a flipped over signage of Sun Microsystems. It reminds everyone the importance of constant innovation to survive Silicon Valley. Once a powerhouse, todays Facebook generation might not have even heard the name Sun Microsystems. Thus, the
  2. The campus is not at all about tall building with people walking around in business attire. It is sort of Facebook’s own disneyland inside. There are cafes and restaurants along with a salon, ice-cream parlour, bank along with colourful office buildings amidst a lot of greenery. Shuttle and bicycles are the primary means of transport.
  3. Right from the address, the word hacker is found almost everywhere -- Hacker Square or Hacker Company -- hack seems like the favourite word going with the thinking -- "Move fast break something."
  4. Employees at Facebook are used to seeing visitors roaming around their workspaces. Something most technology companies would never dare to do. They are so used to it that they hardly bother even if some outsider stands next to their workspaces. Some might even bump into Mark Zuckerberg himself, who mostly.
  5. The new Facebook building, where Zuckerberg sits, is like a warehouse with lots for art lovers. Employees are encouraged to design something around their workspaces. There are no cabins and cubicles. It is one huge floor, exactly like a warehouse.
  6. Like a vending machine which serves snacks, there is a similar version which provide electronics like earphones, batteries, adapters, cables among other for free to employees. All he or she needs to do is just swipe the ID card and get whatever is required.
  7. Of course, food is on the house. Chocolates and other snacks are available almost at every corner. Also, there are proper restaurants or cafes serving professionally to all visitors as well employees. All one needs to do is simply order. The rest is taken care with precision. And there is an Indian restaurant too for visitors who are not much.
  8. Unlike traditional information desk, large screens are placed to locate the workstation of employees. A visitor or colleague can just do a quick Facebook search to locate the person’s desk. Also, there are shuttles transporting visitors from the old to new building. Employees have access to bicycles only and there is a repair shop too.
  9. There is a roof garden in the new campus. It’s a huge park on top the warehouse-like office. It is one-of-a-kind. People can jog, walk and can even pick a yoga mat to destress.
  10. One needs to walk a lot to see the entire place, a complete tour takes at least two hours with frequent stopovers for food and beverages. The place has everything to make you think of applying for a job there.
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