In the early 2000s, just before Google purchased Android Inc. for an estimated $US50 million, the startup lived in a tiny office in Palo Alto.
Rubin had a few empty rooms in his office, so he offered them up to Perlman since he had provided the seed funding for Android.
But once Android got scooped up by Google, Perlman couldn’t help but notice another startup in the building.
“This scrappy company came in that no one had ever heard of, a bunch of college kids,” Perlman told Business Insider. “And oh God, they just filled up the place.”
The company Perlman referred to was Facebook, long before it blew up into the massive social network it is today. This was likely Facebook’s first office in Pao Alto, which you can check out in detail here.
Perlman was busy developing pCell, the technology that wants to change the way our phones receive wireless signals, Onlive, and a number of other products his incubator Rearden has been a part of.
Perlman said the Facebook employees he spoke with were always very nice, although he sometimes envied their lifestyle.
“They came in late in the morning, they left early in the day,” he said. “And I said, I needed a startup like that! Every lunch was catered.”
Perlman described the Facebook team as “very nice, well-intentioned” people. But there was one amusing anecdote Perlman shared regarding a misunderstanding within the office space. The Facebook team was accustomed to catered food, so they would eat or drink anything they wanted in the office’s communal refridgerator — not realising it may have belonged to someone else.
Perlman’s crew was actually supplying the soda in the fridge, not their caterers. Perlman’s group eventually became frustrated with Facebook drinking all of their soda, so they bought mini refrigerators and kept beverages in their offices instead. They stopped supplying the communal fridge.
“I remember getting a knock on our door,” Perlman recalls.
It was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and another senior Facebook employee.
“And they said, ‘Hey listen, we wanted to talk to you,'” Perlman said. “‘We don’t want you to feel bad or think we think less of you, but everyone’s been saying that you’ve been finishing off all our drinks in the refrigerator.'”
Then Perlman told Zuckerberg that they were actually the ones stocking the fridge.
“They were so embarrassed,” Perlman said. “They had no idea…So anyway, it was corrected and they were super nice about it.”
Perlman said he encountered Zuckerberg here and there, but didn’t talk with him too much. When Perlman met Zuckerberg, he was just like any other employee.
“Mark was there, but he was just one of many people,” he said. “He wasn’t famous.”
Although Facebook is now the largest social network in the world, it seemed just like any other tech company at the time.
“I think a lot of people think these are people that have some kind of glow around them that distinguish them from the rest of the universe,” Perlman said. “No, they were just people who were creating something just like we were. Their future was highly uncertain as was ours.”
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