These days, it is hard to find anyone who wouldn’t have a Facebook account. Yet, seems only recently it was just a tiny website, reserved to the Harvard University students. Mark Zuckerberg famously started his venture in a dorm room and didn’t even think about it as a real business at first. Shrewd investors such as Peter Thiel, however, could see its enormous potential and lavished the founder with funding and industry advise.
Initially, the startup had only a handful of employees. The company rented its first office in an unremarkable two-story building in the downtown Palo Alto on the Emerson street. The FB team took the second floor, right above a Chinese restaurant – a convenient arrangement for hard-working engineers who were often working very late.
The company stayed in this office only for a short but eventful period of 2005-2006. It is here where it changed its original name Thefacebook to a much cleaner Facebook and acquired the iconic http://www.facebook.com domain for a whopping $200,000. While based here, Facebook started to expand its membership outside Harvard to include other Ivy League universities. Importantly, the social network has also introduced one of its most successful features – Photo Tagging – which made it incredibly sticky.
As the company expanded, it quickly outgrew this tiny space. Some remember how Zuck would come to the office and, seeing every table taken, just lie on the floor and code away. Facebook has first moved to larger premises near Stanford University, and eventually to its current campus in Menlo Park. Its first “real” office is still popular with the Silicon Valley pilgrims as the spot where one of the most definitive tech companies took its first steps. If you visit Palo Alto, pass through the Emerson street to grab a photo in front of its doorway, which is helpfully marked with the “Thumbs Up” sign by the Palo Alto administration.