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.


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