By Morgan Johnson, Hack the Hood team member
Hack the Hood visited the headquarters of the most visited website in the world on Tuesday--Facebook!.Arriving in style in our California party pus, Hack the Hood descended on the campus, eager to ask questions and eat all the delicious food.
We first met with Stuart Crabb, who gave us a tour of the campus. Stuart told us the story of Facebook and its recent astromical growth. Not only does Facebook keep outgrowing its headquarters, every day Stuart comes to work, he said, around 2 million new people have joined Facebook. While most people in the U.S. who want Facebook already have accounts, new users from India and China continue to join the site.
Walking down Hacker Way, it was hard not to feel like we were in some fantasy world, like Disneyland. Our first stop was at the Facebook Sweet Shop, where we all treated ourselves to ice cream cones and cookies, and for good measure we stopped in the newly opened arcade. Different themed free eateries lined the street, and it was difficult to resist the temptation to try all of them. Stuart warned us about the “Facebook 15,” but it was a one-day all you can eat experience, and we threw caution to the wind.
After romping through the campus, Stuart gave a workshop about playing to our strengths, based on an assessment we'd taken online the day before (see strengthfinders.com). Why is it, he said, that parents usually focus on their child’s worst grade, rather than on their best? By playing to our strengths, we can find the most promising area for personal growth. But what is “a strength”? Is it just something that you’re naturally good at?
Stuart defined a strength as something you’re good at that also gives you joy. A natural talent for math is not a strength if you don’t like math, Stuart said. The Hack the Hood team compared our test results on a strength assessment. Some of our strengths were futuristic, empathetic, strategic, and relator. It was an eye-opening exercise that made us think about what kind of careers or roles we could take on in the future, and affirmed that we all have something special to bring the table.
Stuart’s talk was followed by a panel of Facebook workers from diverse areas of the company who talked about what they did, how they got their job, and how they overcame obstacles to get to their position. They spoke about the importance of getting mentors and establishing long-term relationships with the people you work with. We had dinner with some of the panelists and continued the conversation over, once again, amazing food!
Feeling inspired and full, we returned to the party bus. The lights dimmed and Juan, our program coordinator and resident DJ, bumped the Bay music. Hack the Hood took a little bit of the Silicon Valley back to Oakland.
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