Facebook announced at the beginning of this month that they are relocating to the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park in California. The move will occur in June, starting with a group of five hundred Facebook employees. The Sun campus has a more corporate feel than their current location in a former HP building near Stanford University in Palo Alto. But their current location has already been stretched to its limit by this fast-growing company. Facebook has two thousand employees worldwide with over fourteen hundred employees in the Bay Area. The Menlo Park location is able to hold three thousand employees, though Facebook is predicting that they will fit even more employees since they function in an open desk environment.
Facebook's goal is to be viewed as a 'hip geek culture' in order to attract the best talent. Mark Zuckerburg is responsible for the foundations of this culture, creating a fun environment by banging a gong when someone finishes a big coding project. Facebook even hired well-known graffiti artist David Choe to paint murals in the first Facebook offices.
Will Facebook's culture change if they move? The answer is a definite yes. The deepest corporate culture changes occur with moving a company's physical location. It might take two or three years after the location switch, but Facebook will change, and maybe not for the best. Their young feel might go away due to being in a more serious environment.
My definition of a good corporate culture is one that allows the company to be as effective as possible. The purpose of great corporations is to be the best at what they do. The cool, geeky parts of a corporate culture are just the icing on the cake. Take Google, for example. Google strives to be the best search engine on the web and they compete with other search engines by constantly updating their content. Yes, they may have their own dinosaur, but that's probably not the main reason employees enjoy working there. Employees are happy to work at Google because the company is striving for success. On the other hand, Apple's culture is one of cool: superior design and being ahead of the curve. Apple stays ahead by demanding secrecy from their employees, and for the most part, it's working. The industry is always wondering, 'What will Apple think of next?' A good culture is about being the superior source of what the company has to offer. Look at Dell: their niche was delivering a computer to your home fast. They used to be the best at this, but the others caught up. What's Dell's corporate culture now?
Will Facebook stay the most popular social networking website with this new move? I would love to hear your thoughts.