Faces behind Facebook

A working day in the Facebook India office isn’t just about ideas, codes, designs and tests.
‘Done is better than perfect,’ sounds good? How about unleashing the painter in you on a clean bare wall? And then indulging in some more fun in ‘after-hour’ activity? Sounds too good to be true? This is only a glimpse of how life is at the Facebook office.
You log in everyday and stay connected for hours here. You update and comment, post albums, events, videos and also become a farmer. All this and more on the social networking site — Facebook. How often have you traced old friends and got traced through this networking site. Then there are those who met on this virtual space and also tied the knot. Ever wondered how all this is possible?
While we do all this fun stuff on FB, ever imagined the life of the people who facilitate this? “We are all having fun, we say thank God it’s Monday,” says one of the employees.
After some five levels of security check right from the main entrance at the Raheja Mindspace in Gachibowli, you reach FB India office. Your anger at the front desk assistant’s comment—‘You don’t remember your phone number?’ on not jotting it down on the visitors register, evaporates the moment you step inside. Bright and sans cubicles it looks like everyone at FB is ready to head to a party straight from work.
The first glance at the working area of FB resembles a vibrant lecture room of a business school.Flags of different countries hang on either sides of the room and the walls adorn with memorabilia’s gifted by the visiting members of FB from the other three office. “The Hyderabad office is the fourth in the world and it is only six months old. After setting up office in three places in the West, FB came to India and chose Hyderabad,” says Kirthiga Reddy Director of Online Operations for Facebook, India.
A walk around the office reveals more the eye can meet at the first go. Don’t let posters of movies like Dostana , Umrao Jaan on some doors puzzle you. “These are names of conference rooms. They have been named by the different teams in the office. And the posters add to the look. Everything you see in the office is the outcome of hackathon — brainstorming,” adds Joanna Lee, one of the members of the original Landing Team.
The concept of Hackathon was introduced for the employees to brainstorm and get things on FB which they like, “Video sharing was one such facility. Video sharing was the outcome of a hackathon in another office. It was the engineers’ department idea,” explains Kirthiga.
To get a better idea of how an induction is conducted, we walk into one of the conference rooms. Anyone who enters will first observe the bouquets on each desk, then to the assortment of refreshments lined up including small tins of Pringles and then finally at the colourful bean bags. Once inside the room the walls will attract your attention. Each team inducted into the company makes a poster and contributes to the decoration of the walls. “It is like a memorabilia. A way to connect to each other from day one onwards,” says Kirthiga.
To help new offices get past the teething troubles and to assist them in retaining the culture that runs across the organisation, Facebook sends a selected group of employees from the home office in Palo Alto, California to each of these new locations. Known as the ‘Landing Team’, this group helps to incorporate the Facebook nuances in the new offices as ‘culture carriers’ and helps establish the new offices from ground up.
Finally, the office allows children of employees to paint their walls, “My daughter declared this as the best office because she got an opportunity to draw on the walls which is otherwise a forbidden act,” laughs one of the employees.


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