An interesting thing has happened over the years in places like New York City and San Francisco. When you walk down the street, it’s difficult to find someone not wearing a t-shirt that sports a technology startup’s logo or slogan. It is what it is, because we are who we are, us geeks. But in the past year or two, since I travel a bunch, I’ve started to see the trend move to other places in the world.
You see, people who use services from companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google and Tumblr are proud of that fact and they want to show it off. The best way to show off a part of who you are is with fashion. Now mind you, I’m certainly no fashion expert, but even I can spot a fashion trend. It’s like those Hammer pants, but cooler.
When I visited the Facebook campus in Menlo Park last week to learn more about its Games team and initiatives, I saw a sign on a window and asked what it was. “Oh, that’s Store. It’s new,” I was told. It’s the size of a small coffee shop.
Interest piqued. On my way out, I asked if I could jump in there for a few minutes to see what it was all about. What I saw was what you’d typically expect from a company swag (or is it schwag? whatevs) shop: t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, jackets, hats, stuffed animals and more. But the folks who work in Store were just opening up the place, unpacking everything, so I wanted to see what they had going on.
I laughed about the name of Store and one of the folks who work there said “Yeah, we dropped the “the”; we’re just Store.” Yes, this was an obvious, and witty reference, to the famous line by Justin Timberlake’s Sean Parker character in the film “The Social Network.” At Facebook, like any company, you’ll see people walking around campus wearing such swag, but apparently there was a massive demand outside of its walls from visitors. Family members, friends and boyfriends and girlfriends. So why not open Store? It even has its own sticker.
This might seem like nothing — a non-story if you will — but I feel like the way that technology has infiltrated our everyday lives and vernacular, is quite impressive. It shows that we’re evolving as an industry, that it’s OK to be really smart, OK to work really hard and long hours and more importantly, it’s OK to have a little fun and take a poke at yourself. See what I did there?
Also, it’s a great way for employees to show off how proud they are of what they do, who they work with and what their company stands for. It’s a culture thing, and I like it. It’s kind of like people who can’t wait to get to Apple’s campus to buy an “I visited the mothership” shirt. Facebook is social, after all.
Also, selling t-shirts and mugs to 1 billion users could be a nice stream of revenue. Just sayin’.
Disclosure: I purchased one Facebook t-shirt for my fiancee and one sweat-jacket for myself. Cost? $38.