Inside the Walls of Facebook Headquarters, Palo Alto

Posted on
Jul 30, 2012
Posted in: Photos

Rand and I were in Palo Alto for work.

Well, he had work. I had things to eat and photos to take. Which is the closest thing I do to work.

Holy crap. My life rules.

Anyway, I digress. We were in Palo Alto, and we carved out some time to stop by the Facebook offices. We have friends who work there, and we were lucky enough to get a tour from them. Unfortunately, photography is forbidden inside the Facebook offices.

So, naturally, I took some photos.

I know, I know. That sounds bad. But let’s everyone calm down. You know how freakishly rule-abiding I am (mostly), right? I don’t jaywalk. I floss nightly. I wait until after I’ve eaten my meal before gobbling up dessert (okay, that’s only true 60% of the time, but for me, THAT’S RESTRAINT).

However, someone – I AM NOT SAYING WHO – said that it would be okay if I took photos, as long as I didn’t capture any sensitive material. No pictures of computer screens or whiteboards, no photos of people meeting inside conference rooms, no snapshots of documents entitled “Enslaving the World: The Future of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg.” You get the idea. So I went ahead and took photos of FB’s offices. And since there are 25,000 more sensitive pictures of the campus on Flickr, I’d say I’m okay.

So, with that previous paragraph serving as a preemptive strike against any cease-and-desist letters I might soon receive, here are some photos I took of the little-seen playground that is the Facebook offices …


Upon arriving, we saw this sign, which I find rather clever (and also a testament to their branding. How instantly did you recognize the logo?):

You like this.

We visited during one of their infamous Hackathons, as was indicated by the tiles in this courtyard, we have been colored in to say “HACK”.

The inside of the officers were covered in art. Much of it is done by professionals, but some of it was done by folks who work at Facebook (apparently employees are given free range to decorate empty wall space as they see fit. If someone doesn’t like it, it just gets painted over).

I really liked this little guy:

“YAY! Unicorn horns are awesome!”

And this was kind of incredible. It’s the Facebook logo painted on railings, the wall behind, and it extends down to the floor below. I had to find just the right angle where they all matched up perfectly.

The story behind this next piece is a fascinating one:

It was originally painted – along with several other murals – in Facebook’s old offices (and physically removed and put up in its current location). At the time, the artist, David Choe, was given the choice to be paid in cash or stock. Being a bit of a risk-taker, he took stock.

When Facebook went public this past year, Choe’s stock was worth $200 million.

See? Not ALL artists have to starve.

This vertical garden was the brainchild of an employee. It was made with plants in two different shades, and yes, they’re alive (there’s an intricate irrigation system at back). I wish I could have captured all of it, but it was in a hallway, so space was limited. But look closely and you can see most of the Facebook “f” logo:

In addition to the artwork, Facebook’s walls (heh) were covered with a lot of quirky little inspirational phrases. I liked this one, in part because it’s so easily-attainable:

ZOMG. I can totally do this! Though I prefer “Move sluggishly and break things.”

 And here’s another …

Underneath, someone wrote in teeny tiny letters, “Everything.”

This piece, which spanned an entire wall, was interactive. Folks measured their height on the wall, and signed their name and the date next to it. Most everyone fell into a wide horizontal band, but there were a few outliers of  very tall and very short people.

I’m right underneath Erin Gilman.

Walking through the offices, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat small and insignificant. Facebook is huge, in every sense. The offices are massive, the product ubiquitous.  Hell, even my mom has an account. It’s enough to make you wonder precisely what you are doing of note with your life. And just when I started to get overwhelmed by all of it, this happened:

I swear, the wall behind us was blank until he kissed me.

And just like that, the panic and the feelings of inadequacy and lack of accomplishment melted away. After all, he was my “it’s complicated” long before Facebook even existed.


Leave a Comment

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Here it is, folks. The paperback edition of my book is out today. The hardcover came out more than two years ago, so it's wonderful to know that this story of mine still has life and is, gasp, still selling copies. Don't miss the book that Lauren Graham called "the travel companion you'll be happy you brought along" and that some guy on Twitter said was "immature and stupid." It's available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound. #bookstagram #summerreading #bookworms
  • This lady. ❤️❤️❤️ So proud of her.
  • HAPPY LAUNCH DAY!! I really want to curl up in bed with this amazing novel today, but I can't - for an amazing reason. Because I'm going to be at the Lake Forest Park location of Third Place Books tonight, discussing it with the author, my dear friend @andreadunlop. Lady, I'm so proud of you. ❤️ ❤️❤️ #bookstagram #summerreading
  • Baking in an AirBnB is always an adventure. I didn't have a measuring cup for the flour so I eyeballed it, and had to use a wine bottle as a rolling pin to make these handpies. Not my best work, but @demeritt and @randderuiter seemed cool with the results, so I'm going to accept that sometimes good enough is, well, enough. 🥧🍴
  • "I hit the jackpot." That's how I once heard Michael J. Fox describe his marriage years ago, and it stayed with me. I've never found a better way of describing our relationship than that. Bells ring. Lights flash. Coins spill everywhere. Now, where's my complimentary breakfast?
  • Someone sent Rand socks with his face all over them, and he's really bothered by this but I'm gonna rock the hell out of them.
  • I told him to stop looking at the camera.
  • Eating junk food on the ferry with this guy right before dinner is kind of the dream.
  • Does it still count as photobombing when you love it?
  • Some hardcore stuff happening in the studio today. #muglife #ceramics

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.