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Category: Journal

My last week at Facebook

It was Sunday, just one more week before I was set to return back to NJ. I don’t remember how Ben told me, but sometime on Saturday Zuck decided that September 22nd was the final date for f8. That meant the prototype registration page than Tim, Ben, Rob and I were playing around with was going live on Thursday. The launch was early on Thursday, so it would have to be in it’s final state by Wednesday. That meant it had to be launched internally by Tuesday mid-day. It was Sunday.

I was going into work.

Everett and talking about something in the second floor window of Turkey.

Earlier in the week I took over the second floor of a conference room named “Turkey.”  The name comes from the group of rooms named after “small countries of which the number of facebook users has surpassed the population”. Turkey was special, because it had a wooden loft built on the inside, accessible by ladder only. It was built by the games team some time ago. I’ve heard a lot of good tales of it’s construction, but that’s not my story to tell.

I pushed a desk, a chair, a whiteboard, my monitor and MacBook over the ledge late night during a hackathon. I forget who helped me push the desk over the ledge; it always seemed like everyone was willing to help out in whatever shenanigans were taking place at Facebook.

I worked out of the loft for the last three or four weeks of my internship, often sleeping over. The ladder upstairs was directly across the room from the doorway, and the design team was actively working out of the bottom floor. I had to bust through meetings to get to the ladder across the room so I could climb it up to my desk.

Sometimes I would wake up to Cox and the entire design team holding an emergency meeting on the bottom floor at 9am.

I spent the next two nights at Facebook working on f8 launch page. I slept at my apartment on Tuesday night for a few hours, and worked with my mentor to get the page live Wednesday. After a late night on Wednesday the page was in a permanent state for the announcement of f8 Thursday morning.

Because I built the page, I had the honors of “flipping the switch” during the launch routine. This meant sitting in a conference room for hours, waiting for the precise time to hit the big red “LAUNCH!” button for the page. I had to be in the room the next day at 9:00am. Tomorrow was also my last working day at Facebook.

I could barely sleep.

I woke up the next day at 7:30 anxiously. I tested the page only to find out that it was not resolving on the internal network. I pinged the engineer I was working with to get the sub-domain working properly, and he assured me it was working externally. I believed him, but I had to test this myself. There was no way I was flipping the switch without knowing for sure that the page worked outside of the company network.

I ran outside with my macbook in my backpack wearing a blanket around my neck like a cape. California has cold mornings and Starbucks was a few minutes away. I hopped on a campus bike and pedaled out down toward California ave. I got to starbucks and whipped out my macbook. I hid the screen with my blanket and tested the page once.

… It loaded! I threw the macbook back in my bag, threw the blanket around my neck again and cruised back to Facebook.

As I biked over some of the speed bumps in the parking lot I saw Ben arrive to work in his car. I made it to the the second building about 5 minutes early for breakfast. I paced back and forth, back and forth until the giant garage style door lifted off of the counter. The normal eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, and extra-crispy bacon were on the menu. However, today there was a bowl of bacon and cheese hash browns. Things were looking up.

As soon as I finished loading my plate I got an email telling me my coffee was ready upstairs. One of the members of the launch team was also at starbucks earlier this morning getting coffee for the team. I frantically searched for the room; scarfing down my breakfast while on the hunt. I finally found the office and sat down to meet the rest of the f8 launch team for the first time.

I was tired. I hadn’t showered in a few days. I flipped the switch. It felt great.

One of the comm-d team, skip, tested video ideas around the office all the time. He asked me one time to “describe my life right now in one sentence” holding a camera passively by his side.

“One hundred miles per hour”

I said. It was true, I was on full blast while in California. The energy is high, everyone is excited. It was awesome to be a part of such a fast paced environment.

A big thanks to the UIE and Comm-d teams at facebook, and cheers to Camelot and the rest of the interns who I hope to see soon.