An Indian Entrepreneur Tours Facebook; A leaf from the diary

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Editor’s Note: There is hardly anyone who isn’t enamored by the Facebook success story. And not everyone gets a chance to have an insider’s look. Sriram V Iyer, founder of United Mobile Apps had the good fortune of visiting Facebook and here is a leaf from his diary…

Silicon Valley always has some magic in the air… Just being in that area can do an entrepreneur a ton of good!

The place is dotted by drool worthy companies – Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Facebook, of course! So, when I caught up with my friend VV (Venkat Venkatramani) who joined Facebook when it had only few hundred members, he invited me to come over to the FB Campus. Why would I miss that kind of opportunity?

Sriram Iyer (L) along with VV

Facebook, which has over 8000 employees now, and is now housed in the same building where Sun once was. The air is completely informal and intense at the same time – That’s what happens when some of the finest minds in the world join together to solve some of the toughest problems in computer science – And we thought Facebook was only a social networking company!

Before the tech dialog I had with VV, he took me around the campus. There are no cubicles and there are spread out tables and huge multi displays! There is also a separate section for design and UI. Huge Murals mark the place, and you can even bring your pet in!

FB Cafetaria where no same cuisine is served twice

The key attraction for me was the center of the campus, where there is a long road, which I wanted to call ‘food street’ – There is a main food court where lunch / dinner is served, and there is no cuisine which is repeated for months. (How about Mongolian for lunch, and Sierra Leone Cuisine for Dinner? You liked it? Sorry, you can’t have it for next three months!) – If you thought this was good, there is a Mexican restaurant, barbeque place, steak house and an uber cool dessert place where you can have desserts to celebrate mini releases (or for no reason at all too!) – Did I just mention, all of the food is free? God kept me out of Facebook for a reason!)

There is also a huge ground with “HACK” written on it – Apparently, it is visible even from satellites!

I then had a fantastic discussion with VV on some of the technologies they use, and some fine minds they have at work there (I am sure VV ranks right at the top!) – Apparently, they work a lot on data center technology. With massive data they generate every second, they need to have incredibly optimized database systems that are totally unconventional. My jaw dropped as VV mentioned the Graph based database systems that are in use, and how much customizations have been done in commodity hardware to support massive user base!

Needless to say, I walked out incredibly impressed , motivated – I also was terribly full, thanks to the AMAZING food I had there.

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