Day 4: Instagram and Facebook Headquarters.

After a brief night in Campbell, we are ready to head north out of the bay area. We have never taken the Mish north of the Bay Area in California before so this will be virgin grounds for her. Before that happens, we are making a couple of stops along the way. First stop, 1 Infinite Loop Cupertino, CA.

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You Apple nerds will know that the address above is the worldwide headquarters of Apple Computers. The holy land of all things ‘i’. My brother has been a long time employee here so we are meeting him for lunch before we take off.

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At the cafeteria inside the campus, you can eat all the free apples your heart desires. Fortunately for us, none of them have bites taken out of them. (Sorry, dumb joke.)

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It didn’t take long until Luka and the girls went to town on them. Thanks Apple for the road snacks.

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On our way north, we stopped by another ‘campus’ for a quick visit. We were fortunate to have been allowed to tour the Facebook/Instagram offices today as well. We have been actively posting lots of our travel photos on Instagram for the last year or so. A couple of Instagram’s community managers have been following our travels and invited us to tour the offices.

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This is Jeffrey. He is one of the 4 members of Instagram’s community team. Even though Instagram was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion, there is still only 40 people that work on the team. It accounts for just less than 1% of all Facebook employees. Everyone at Facebook works in these open environments including Mark Zuckerberg and all of the executive team.

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Their campus was formerly the Sun Microsystems offices back in the early 2000s. When Oracle purchased them and absorbed them, Facebook just happens to have been growing at an astronomical rate. Since taking the space over, they have transformed it into a miniature city within its walls. There are restaurants, coffee shops, community bicycles and even a yellow brick road.

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Because Facebook is in the business of building products that exists only in the digital form, they insist that people should also be able to work on real, tangible projects if they wish also.

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Behind this window is what they call the Analog Development Lab. There is a print shop as well as a woodworking shop that employees can come to exercise their creative muscles on things they can touch.

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If you have noticed, we were allowed to photograph whatever we wanted to inside the walls of Facebook. That is completely the opposite of our visit to Apple. Part of Apple’s modus operandi is to keep their secrets under wraps. That means that no one is allowed to take any photographs inside.

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The most exciting moment for the girls is getting ice cream at Facebook’s sweets shop. Not only was the ice cream hand-made and awesome, it was completely free!

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Our visit to Facebook was brief but sweet. It was literally sweet. The girls got ice cream and lollipops while Luka was a sleep in the carrier the entire time. Marlene got to eat ice cream in peace for the first time in the long time. To make up for it, Mila let Luka get a little taste of her lollipop when we got back to the Mish.

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As we left Palo Alto to start heading north, we decided to head straight through San Francisco and cross over the Golden Gate Bridge. This had been Marlene’s nightmare. She is not a big fan of bridges and the Golden Gate had been her arch nemesis of her fear since she was a kid. We had no option as we had plans to meet someone who was waiting just on the other side.

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The drive through San Francisco was agonizingly slow. It took us about 45 minutes to go 7 miles through the city. When we finally got to the bridge, Marlene kept her mind off of the fact were suspended a few hundred feet above the turbulent Pacific Ocean by taking pictures out of her window.

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On the other side, we got to meet a young man from New York City name Joe. He had found us on Instagram a few months back and we started to follow each other. A month ago, he left New York City to go on a cross country journey for 2 months. San Francisco is his midway point and we were thrilled to be able to meet him here in person. Next to him is his girlfriend Tracy who flew out to meet him half way through his journey. He takes some pretty fantastic photos on this Instagram feed and here he is taking one of the girls and Luka atop the Marin Headlands on the other side of the bridge from San Francisco.

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If you are ever in the San Francisco Bay area, I suggest you to drive up the Marin Headlands to get a look at the view of the Golden Gate from here. I would not necessarily recommend that you take your Airstream up the road but if you are a little foolish and lucky like us, you should be completely fine. Tonight we will make our way to Red Bluff, CA and call it a night. Everything from here is a new adventure for us.

over and out,
dan

  • Wow, thanks for taking us into the world of Facebook (and Apple). I can only hope that other companies/corporations out there will one day follow suit with the “open office” environment and let their employees work in an unobstructed environment where their creativity can flow. I work in a cubicle farm and the mere thought of an open work space sends me over the moon with excitement. How fortunate are those employees of FB and Apple (oh and Google too!). Free Apples too — awesome!

  • wow, what an amazing opportunity to tour and see behind the scenes of instagram, i am looking forward to being able to instagram when we (FINALLY) get an iPhone, i think we might be almost the last people to get one haha! thinking of your happy family often, xoxo! tiffany