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On our expedition trip around the world looking for inspiration, trends and different approaches, we passed in the Silicon Valley of course maybe the most influential actor in the world of social media – Facebook.


Hacker Way 1, in the middle of Menlo Park we visited the Facebook campus (including Instagram) to catch a glimpse behind the scenes. Due to steady growth a new building designed by Frank Gehry was opened in 2015. With almost 430,000 square foot it is the largest open office in the world and fits 2,800 of the more than 12,000 employees in total.

 Many of the, for employees mostly free, highlights are well known. Like the variety of restaurants, a small clinic with specialists, a bicycle repair shop, fitness center and numerous opportunities for further hobbies and self-development as well as the entertainment and gaming options. Of course the service for employees includes a shuttle with internet access, bicycles and electric cars. And currently they build a residential complex for employees close by the campus. Due to all that also here the private life will merge more and more with the work, as we were able to observe during our visit to Airbnb.


But what sounds like a Disneyland Resort (incidentally Disney engineers have been involved in the campus development) is certainly not an amusement park. In all encounters with employees and former we heard that the expectation and stress is high. After an elaborate recruiting process with numerous interviews and tests the new employees are hired without job description and first get introduced in a kind of boot camp to the Facebook world. Interesting is that employees pass various departments in this time, and finally should find their position. Namely, by recognizing a need within this learning phase, which they can fix with their specific knowledge. The decisive factor is how everyone individually supports Facebook and affects the company’s goals positively. For though for the public is not always clear and understandable, we can clearly notice that the company is pursuing visions and ensures that all employees do this also. So at all major corridors employees can get computer accessories from a vending machine and there is no need to care about any forms or budgets. Through all this services and entertainment opportunities the working environment should be as efficient as possible to let employees be as effective as possible to continue to grow Facebook. 

A project of this vision is “free basics”. The idea was to provide over all India free access to the basic elements of the Internet, such as Facebook. Due to the net neutrality the Indian government stopped it. But we can still hear from huge plans, such as internet drones or recently said the goal to be the all in one platform. Virtual the Internet in the Internet – the alternative platform for shopping, chatting, studying, reading, playing, etc.


In our tour we also visited the huge roof terrace, which provides a Smoothie bar, sunbeds and whiteboards to switch off, relax or even work there. Despite a sunny day, we have been almost alone and heard that especially Mark Zuckerberg is often seen here on the phone. Again a floor down to the office space we saw over many tables numbers made out of balloons, indicating the seniority. It is striking that we saw especially ones and twos between the ambitious bustle of many programmers, marketers, designers and developers.


We also see a lot of practices, motivations and approaches of Facebook very critical. It is also true that Facebook to questions in this regard is often reticent. But what remains is a company with an impressive history and large visions. No doubt this can be risky. But we should reconsider how we deal with it and indeed strengthen and pursue our own visions. For us the visit was especially inspired to think big. For changes in which we believe you do not need a campus and no gaming room but you have to start to make a difference.


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