Observations from My Tour of Facebook


Facebook Tour Sept 4 2014Last week I had the opportunity to take a tour of Facebook (FB) in Menlo Park, CA. The offer to visit the campus was extended to me back in April during the conference I spoke at in Riga, Latvia, where Iris Oriss, Director of Internationalization and Localization for FB, was the keynote speaker. Iris is responsible for managing the deployment of the 65 plus additional languages that FB supports worldwide.

During our two meals together at the conference, Iris and I shared fascinating conversation around the vision she builds and executes on for FB, her family and travels, and her thoughts about Hillary Clinton in 2016. I found 2 of the 3 topics of interest. Anyhow, at the conclusion of the conference, Iris invited me to come tour FB, and my reply was “Hell, yes!”

My key observations from the tour include: 

1-    FB doesn’t have Rules, they have Values: this means that all employees are provided with broad parameters to get the job done, and share the common company mission of “helping people to share and make the world more connected”.

2-    Hacking is a Good Thing: despite my previous connotation of the word (pilfering data), Iris assured me that the Hack-a-thon mentality is designed to embrace creativity in pushing innovation, and not just following a set of rules for coding (see #1)

3-    Iris has a Global Window to the World: her travel schedule makes me look like a homebody, and her position requires that she understands how to connect 7 billion people through 65 languages that her team manages. She will be published in a MIT publication in the next month; I will send it to you if you wish.

Facebook Handstand Sept 4 2014

4-    My upper body strength improved in Menlo Park (see picture #2): must have been the amazing quality and range of food served on campus.

5-    It Takes a Village: and that is what FB has in Menlo Park, a beautiful campus that is well appointed but not overdone. A place that enables 7,000 employees to thrive and create connections worldwide

6-    FB Cares:  about their employees, the environment and everything on this planet. The Facilities team gently re-located a mother and litter of baby foxes who took the campus as home. And have a look at Internet.org to see the dedication that Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders have to sharing technology with all people.

Many thanks to Iris for the great experience – one I will not forget.