My last week at Facebook … it seemed so long until I could finally return to my beloved Anneleen. Simultaneously, time seems to have flown by. And by now, I had grown accustomed to living in the United States.
Anyway, on the first day of this week, I had lunch with Steve Souders at Google. It was an interesting peek at Google’s way of dealing with performance, how it differs from Facebook in general and … how the food differs. We had lunch in Google’s largest cafeteria — it had a very diverse offering!
They also had an awesome T-rex replica in front of building 43. The flamingos that are swarming all over it are not real, for what it’s worth.
After my visit to Google, I biked back home, to the bus stop and went to Facebook. Having arrived there, I wanted to Get Shit Done. The gloves went off.
Instead of gently pinging people to ask them for help, I now simply went directly to them, explaining the urgency. (My internship would end that week, but in effect, it would end on Thursday, because on the last day, the Snowville event for employees would take place.) To my amazement, this really worked. I got done in a few hours what would otherwise have involved days of slow back-and-forth e-mailing & IRC‘ing. In a matter of a few hours, my code was merged into the Facebook non-www code repository, amongst others.
My project was codenamed “Project Awesome Llama” and even though it is about finding association rules, I decided to name it
PatternMiner. It made most sense to me and my colleagues.
So over the course of the next few days, I took all of the last steps necessary to run
PatternMiner jobs using Facebook’s tools (which support automatic failover, for example) to deploy my code to one of Facebook’s clusters.
There are currently five pattern mining jobs that are mining data streams. The biggest job analyzes 17 million samples per day, but splits each sample into 5 separate ones so that’s about 85 million per day — that’s almost 1,000 per second. Per sample, 10—11 attributes are analyzed, so that’s about 900 million attributes analyzed per day. And that’s just one of the five jobs.
On my way back from getting my last paycheck, I noticed this “HACK” sign that was built in the front yard of Facebook’s 1601 building as a goodbye token.
Thursday was the moment of truth: the final presentation. It went well, but it was far, far, far from as fluent as I wanted. I’ve done much better in the past. Granted, the circumstances didn’t make it easy to prepare well for this presentation. Better next time.
Because the presentation went so poorly (I spent too much time on the wrong stuff), attendees inevitably started yawning. Which made me feel very bad. Which caused me to be convinced that I wouldn’t receive an offer.
After the presentation, I had a talk with my manager. He said the presentation was fine. And … that I would get an offer! WOOHOO!
So with great relief and very happy, I left Facebook that Thursday night. In the evening, I finished off documenting some stuff and started cleaning up my laptop and my dev server, because I’d have to hand it in the next day — after Snowville.
That very last day at Facebook, December 16, there was another employee event: Snowville. Facebook basically rented the entire San Mateo Event Center and filled it with winter-related fun stuff.
I managed to get a photo of Mark Zuckerberg and me (in my Hasselt University t-shirt!), along with Nikola, Helen and Abel (all from the University of Waterloo)! :)
Besides a death ride, sledding slope and a reindeer ride, there were also several Facebook-branded beer pong tables!
After Snowville, we took a shuttle back to the new Menlo Park offices where everybody would move into next Monday. A room was reserved for the interns, and we were surprised to find nobody else there. Everybody worked on fixing some last issues and whatnot; I contributed the changes I made to my master thesis’ code during my internship back upstream — less than an hour before I had to hand in my Facebook laptop!
80 files changed, 9452 insertions(+), 950 deletions(-), the commit said.
Having dropped of my iPhone and laptop, I left the MPK1 office — after writing my name on The Wall — only to return yet another thing: my rental bike.
A very relaxing weekend awaited. I felt liberated. I was ecstatic about the prospect of returning back home, to my girlfriend. I visited the second half of the Computer History Museum on Saturday. Packed on Sunday. Wrote 40 postal cards in the night of Sunday to Monday. Sent them on Monday morning. And then … then I happily went to SFO, waiting for the flight back home.
Never have I been so happy to see my girlfriend!
The End. I hope you enjoyed it!
Menlo Park. ↩