A Bigger Future for Facebook Seattle

By Ari Steinberg

Just a couple of years ago, the entire Facebook engineering team was in one building in Palo Alto, California. Everyone was within a 30 second walk of each other. But in early 2010, we got to a point where we knew we needed to look beyond Silicon Valley to keep building Facebook and ship everything we wanted to ship.

Seattle, with its deep pool of engineering talent just a short hop away from the Bay Area, was the logical choice. We started the operation as an experiment with a couple of big concerns: Would we still be able to move fast and keep shipping at the same rate? Could we find enough of the right people to join?

A couple of us flew up to Seattle to get started. Two of us soon became ten, then twenty, and last year, we more than quadrupled in size. Now, as more than ninety engineers join me in celebrating our brand new office space, I’m confident in saying the experiment was a huge success.

It hasn’t been easy. This office is here because of the endless resolve and hard work of more people than I can even name. But primarily, Facebook Seattle has succeeded because of the area’s incredible engineering talent and culture of innovation.

In the last year alone, engineers here built and shipped major products like Video Calling and Desktop Messenger. The team works on more than 25 different projects, from the iOS app, to Facebook Platform, to site security and spam prevention, to some of the core pieces of the site’s infrastructure.

Seattle isn’t all that different from our new offices in Menlo Park. We hold hackathons every couple of months. New hires still participate in Bootcamp, a six-week training program that is a deep dive on our code base and culture. After Bootcamp, engineers in Seattle can join an existing team or start their own.

People aren’t restricted in what they can work on from Seattle, so many people choose to work on projects that are divided between California and Seattle. But we also have lots of homegrown projects that are entirely based in Seattle. Either way, people’s ability to make an impact at this company is almost limitless.

Our new building feels like it represents Facebook as well. Everyone sits out in the open with their team – usually just four or five people. There’s delicious food, snack stations, free laundry and four months of parental leave. But there are also a couple of things that are uniquely Seattle: Every Wednesday, we eat lunch together at a local restaurant, and in March, we all headed up to Steven’s Pass for a ski trip. Windows wrap around the entire floor, offering panoramic views of the city, Lake Union, the Space Needle, Puget Sound and the Olympic and Cascade Mountains.

The View

I’m proud of our accomplishments over the past year and a half, though I think we’re only getting started. I’m blown away by the people we’ve found here, and we want to find more.


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