It’s impossible to visit Facebook’s Palo Alto campus and not run into a bit of Mark Zuckerburg lore. His presence seems everywhere within the 1 million square feet of office space spread over 57 acres of land, and he’s often seen walking around like everyone else during the workday.
Because of that there’s a slight expectation that he’ll stroll around the next corner, or out from the frozen yogurt shop along the Main Street-themed heart of campus.
Working in an environment like this poses unique opportunities, and unusual challenges. Software engineer Andrew Bosworth worked with Zuckerburg for four years when he penned an internal memo called, “Working with Zuck.” Bosworth’s post obviously centres on what to expect from working with the Facebook founder, but it specifically refers how to prepare for some face time with the boss in one of his brainstorming sessions with fellow engineers. A sample line: “He doesn’t care what he said yesterday, even if he was presented with the same product.”
Ongoing group debates and discussions are an integral part of Facebook’s culture and its success, just as much as The Hacker Way, Zuck’s manifesto on the Facebook’s principles, guides its business success.
The hacker culture is found all over campus.
The word is blocked out in sprawling letters on the ground at Hacker Square, outside the building called Hacker Company where Zuck holds these infamous brainstorming group sessions, according to our guide Jackie Rooney. Multiple walkways painted the same colour orange as the Golden Gate Bridge connect the Hacker Company with surrounding structures .
The room where the actual sessions are held is a glass-walled spaced on the building’s corner facing the square. Inside a loose circle of stainless steel and black leather chairs are sprawled about a large flat screen TV and on the windows are three sheets of common printer paper with the words, “PLEASE DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH THE ANIMALS :-)” in bold red and black font, taped to the windows.
Apparently Zuckerburg got to feeling like an exhibit in there as employees and guests strolled by snapping pics on their way to a meeting.
We asked Jackie, our guide, if she ever sees the Facebook CEO on campus. “Yes,” she says. “It’s funny, I actually ran into him one day. Literally. I was looking down at my phone and rushing someplace and I walked right into him.”
The few of us with her all laugh, and she says, “It gets worse. As soon as I saw who it was I said, ‘Oh, shit!””
Rooney says Zuck laughed, made a small nicety and continued on his way. Maybe this is something Bosworth should add to the next memo he posts on working with Zuck.
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