Facebook Not Sleepless in Seattle

Now that the ribbon has been cut and the finger sandwiches have been devoured, Facebook’s new Seattle office is open for business.

The social network has officially joined other Silicon Valley companies that are finding it valuable to have satellite offices in the Northwest, the home to Amazon and Microsoft.

Other companies with offices in the area include eBay and Zynga. Google has two (one for either side of Lake Washington, I guess).

Facebook VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer, who addressed employees and government officials at the office, overlooking the Space Needle, said the company was unsure what it would find when it decided to enter the region two years ago.

“But in two years, there’s been a clear demonstration of the capabilities of the people in Seattle,” he said.

Apparently.

Ari Steinberg, who moved to Seattle in July 2010 to start the office, said it had grown from just him to 90 employees. The larger office, which they just moved into 10 days ago, has room to grow to 175 — making it by far the largest development center outside of Menlo Park. So far, the group has worked on projects such as the iPad and iPhone apps and voice calling.

After short welcome speeches from Senator Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jim McDermott, Steinberg was a little less formal, telling stories about how an employee once moved his desk into the bathroom, and when he moved it back he found a fake column — complete with an outlet — installed in his spot.

As a reminder of the last office, that column was moved into the new digs (see photo at left).

The office is located just north of downtown Seattle, basically in the same neighborhood as Amazon, which has slowly been taking over for the past year. As Schroepfer rightly pointed out, once Amazon completes three new office towers — at one million square feet apiece — Facebook may no longer have a view of the Space Needle.

But that’s another eight years off, so they have some time.

Here’s a short tour of the office on the 18th floor, including a shot of Cantwell signing the Facebook wall. Unlike the company’s headquarters, you won’t find professional graffiti, but there are two Starbucks (well, kind of).


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