Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg didn’t travel to New York’s Times Square for the company’s big day. He did it unconventionally like you’d expect a hacker would. He opened the bell remotely from the company’s Menlo Park Headquarters after Facebook employees had just finished a long, all-night Hackathon — their 31st. They played midnight hockey and worked on extra projects, as you can see from photos we re-posted here.
Just ahead of the 6:30 PST open, the company’s employees got together again in the main headquarters “Hacker Square” in front of a big stage where he rang the bell. A Nasdaq representative gave him an honorary hoodie and trophy. Facebook is the second company ever to ring in NASDAQ’s bell remotely on its IPO day. Zynga was the first back in December.
Zuckerberg gave some brief remarks ahead of the bell opening. He said:
“I just want to say a few things, and then we’ll ring this bell and then we’ll get back to work. Right now this all seems like a big deal. Going public is an important milestone in our history. But here’s the thing: our mission isn’t to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. All of you out there have built the largest community in the history of the world. You’ve done amazing things that we never would have dreamed of and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to be doing as we go forward. So on this special day, on behalf of everyone at Facebook, I just want to say to all the people out there who use our product, thank you.”
He was flanked by chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, vice president of product Chris Cox and Elliot Schrage, who is Facebook’s vice president of public policy and communications.
“Mark and Sheryl wanted to make sure it was about the team that helped grow this company,” said Bruce Aust, who is NASDAQ’s executive vice president and head of the global corporate client group. “They wanted to make it special, but they also wanted to remind everyone that this is just one day in the life in company. They wanted say, ‘Let’s get back to work once we have the IPO opening bell. It’s a company that’s very focused on its mission.”
There were also many long-time Facebookers on-stage like Javier Olivan, who oversees internationalization and growth, Sam Lessin, who oversaw Timeline, another vice president of engineering Mike Schroepfer and more. A Facebook engineer named David Garcia had hacked the NASDAQ button to auto-post the bell opening to Zuckerberg’s Timeline (and we have the inside scoop on how he did it!)
It was the culmination of an eight-year journey that began in Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room. But it’s the company first step in what may be a very long life. Facebook is the most anticipated IPO of the last eight years after Google. It’s the largest tech IPO in history because the company stubbornly waited so long to go public. Facebook and its early shareholders are raising $16 billion today, or nearly 10 times what Google raised in its highly-hyped and very unorthodox Dutch Auction-style IPO in 2004.
When the market finally opened, Zuckerberg had signed a statement to be shown in Times Square. It was a company motto. It read, “to a more open and connected world.”
~The Best Of TechCrunch’s Facebook IPO Coverage~