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Facebook IPO: A festive morning at Menlo Park

May 18, 2012|By Jessica Guynn and Michelle Maltais
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rings the opening Nasdaq bell from the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rings the opening Nasdaq bell from the company's… (Zef Nikolla / Facebook )

The big day for Facebook Inc. and Mark Zuckerberg has come. On Friday morning as the sun rose on the trading day in Menlo Park, Calif., about 2,000 Facebook workers were gathered at the campus preparing for the company's debut on the Nasdaq exchange. 

Philz Coffee on the campus opened about 5 a.m., and the catering team handed out breakfast sandwiches to fuel the troops. Many had been up all night in a pre-IPO hackathon

TV trucks swarmed the campus Friday morning. Employees had designed all of the creative elements set up for the day from the logos to the backdrops.

About five minutes before ringing in the trading day, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Executive Zuckerberg, in his trademark dark gray hoodie and jeans, addressed the crowd. The company's senior leaders and the deal team joined Zuckerberg and Sandberg onstage. The excitement was building through the crowd.

After a countdown from five down to one, Zuckerberg hit the opening bell, to hoots of approval across the crowd. Soon after, he signed his name right under the Nasdaq logo on the panel in front of him. Meanwhile, his Facebook page was updated to indicate he had listed his company on Nasdaq.

Friday's climax followed an all-night hackathon. And soon after the ringing the bell, the square emptied. Employees calmly congratulated one another but dispersed soon after to get back to work.

One bleary-eyed employee with a black Facebook backpack said, "It's pretty exciting." He had been up all night at the hackathon. Sleep was the only status update on his mind as he headed home.

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