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The Underwhelming Scene Outside Facebook HQ

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Well, they warned us.

Yesterday, Facebook PR was telling reporters that when the company went public this morning, there wouldn’t be much to see at the Menlo Park headquarters. Nonetheless, I made the drive down from San Francisco, and I wasn’t alone. When I arrived at around 6:30 a.m. Pacific, the small parking lot set aside for reporters and news vans was already full. Facebook provided coffee and breakfast, as well as a portable bathroom.

The only thing missing? Facebook executives or employees. (Also, heat lamps.) Reporters were largely left on our own, aside from a few PR folks who seemed more tired than we were and who assured everyone that really, no one from Facebook would be coming out to speak to us. We were reduced to checking with colleagues who were getting the real news, eating the donuts offered by Bloomberg reporter Doug MacMillan, and gawking at the passing cars. (There seemed to be more people leaving the office than arriving, and some of them gawked back at us.)

Eventually, some non-Facebook folks — including Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith, Greylock Partners’ David Sze, and Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig — wandered into the press parking lot, where they were swarmed. I don’t think anyone expected anything surprising or provocative, but we were just desperate to connect with anyone who had been inside. As we dispersed after another mob interview, someone muttered, ”Great, now we all have the same quotes.”

Meanwhile, it sounds like most Facebook employees have already gone back to work.

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