Facebook – Week 5

Posted on 19th March 2014

Sunday was superbowl day but the morning for me was still in recovery mode in bed. I coded up an exercise for a class I was hoping to teach at home and then took a midmorning nap. Waking up and feeling refreshed I decided that it would in fact be nice to cycle over to the complex where the Argentinians were living and watch the superbowl with them. For us most of the experience was sitting round eating snacks and chatting, with none of us particularly involved in the game, however it was an enjoyable experience after I actually made it there (having become half an hours worth of lost on the way). The ride home was much better as I took a route with less twists and turns, keeping Stanford to my right most of the time. I arrived home absolutely exhausted but and then realized that the ‘skype date’ I’d arranged was not in fact for an extra hour. I was so glad however when I did get the chance to speak to one of my closest friends from home for a good hour. After that it was straight to sleep for another work week.

This week’s routine was a little different given the lack of the gym, and I wasn’t quite motivated enough to do much more than pushups and sit-ups and stretches in the apartment most days. Monday was unremarkable except in the fact that I was very driven in my work. Rehearsal at lunch was average as the other vocal parts hadn’t all learned their music yet, but it was shaping up to be decent come Thursday.

Tuesday was the day that Facebook officially recognized as its tenth birthday and to this end everyone in the company was called to listen to a presentation by some of the top people in the company, including Zuck himself. The contents were fairly inspirational, but what I really appreciated was the focus on humanizing the company through our new company goal of ‘ship love’ – literally aiming to produce feelings of happiness in those who use our product. One great example of this was the lookback videos we produced for the anniversary that enabled people to see a video show of their most important moments on Facebook. Even moreso, when the company received a heartfelt plea from a father whose son had passed away recently, the team working on that product with complete support of the rest of the company, was able to make his family the ‘lookback video’ that the son would’ve seen had he still been around. This too was really lovely to see. The rest of the day progressed as normal, but everyone felt motivated to really make things after the inspirational boost.

Another change in my schedule was attempting longer hours. As much as it isn’t required at Facebook, I felt that I needed to be staying a little longer if I wanted to be achieving what I needed to. While this helped to increase my output to some extent, it also increased my drowsiness and this cemented by lack of morning exercise.

Wednesday was notable for a visit by David Brin, a prominent science fiction author,  who talked a little about his new book, and more about what he views as the necessary elements for the continued progression of society. A fascinating character, he was well spoken and held strong and interesting opinions on most matters. He had a particularly interesting viewpoint of US politics and notably in the mid nineties predicted the surveillance state ruckus that is now afoot. I walked away with two new, signed books to read and a few new ideas, an excellent takeaway for the day. I worked till the last shuttle and thankfully didn’t miss it this time and plopped into bed as soon as I got home.

I was in a foul mood on Thursday for no good reason in particular and was only cheered by the day’s rehearsal. These were the people I was now most comfortable with at Facebook and was eager to spend as much time as possible with them before I left. The song we were working on came together decently and we now had a nice core of people who would come regularly. After rehearsal lunch was with Caitlyn and Bear, two people whom I hadn’t had a chance to speak much with before. Both of them were fascinating people by virtue of the fact that neither of them majored in the field in which they now work. Caitlyn completed a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology and now works in learning development at Facebook. She’s a short, energetic blonde who loves ‘Glee’ and in particular a song called the ‘Pool Mashup’ which at her behest is sung almost every rehearsal. Bear on the other hand is a New Yorker with a part Swedish and part Indian genealogy. A graduate in archeology, she now works as an engineer at Facebook and directs much of the music for our group. After lunch I walked back to my office alongside Bear, running into her Israeli boyfriend along the way. I think I accidentally startled him by answering him in Hebrew having known his nationality in advance from Bear. However, this lead to a fun conversation between Bear and I about the language of which she spoke a few words!

Friday was a remarkably short day. It was the annual company party and as a result everything was pushed back early. I did which I could in the morning but soon after lunch things stopped. Zuck gave his usual Q&A and then the party began! While the food was not exactly things I could eat, it all looked great and the whole campus was lit up in color and surrounded with sound. Attractions included an ice-sculpture of Facebook’s logo, a blow up fighting ring, a toy car derby and photo booths. I wasn’t myself in the biggest party mood ever, so after a while I settled down in the music room with a few others to jam for a while before heading home for some rest.


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