Adam Conner was the first member of our Washington, D.C., office when he joined Facebook in November 2007. He works on the public policy team as one of Facebook's official D.C. lobbyists. He is originally from Los Alamos, N.M., and is a little broken up over Conan O'Brien right now.
You send a lot of social emails and show up at all our company parties. (Social is an internal email list where employees discuss social topics such as finding concert tickets, a new apartment or teammates for a pickup game of basketball). What do you do in your spare time?
Sigh, the party thing used to be the case but not any longer, I've missed the last two holiday parties. But I did manage to be around for Game Day last year, which was awesome (Game Day is an annual Facebook tradition where employees spend a day competing in teams in a series of outdoor games).
I'm a pretty social person and have always worked around a lot of people; but when I first started working for Facebook I worked by myself from my apartment. If I had worked for any other company I think I probably would've gone insane. But being constantly on Facebook (the product) with all of Facebook (the company) let me feel like a part of the company in a real way. Social (email) was kind of the same way and I've never seen anything like social anywhere else I've worked.
Describe a moment where you felt that your work was making a difference in the world.
The week of January 11-17 was pretty cool, helping to pull together the Global Disaster Relief Page in just few hours. I went on vacation that weekend and was on the phone in Mexico convincing President Clinton to plug our Facebook page as part of the relief efforts.
Election Day in 2008 was pretty cool, too. We'd registered 60,000 voters in just 10 days with ads on the site, got 5.5 million U.S. users to click the "I Voted" button on Election Day, and had something like a million users look up their polling location on the Google Map. That was when I realized the high point of my professional career in politics was going to be getting 5.5 million people to click a button.
When you applied to work here, what crazy rumor about Facebook culture did you initially dismiss, only to discover that it's completely true?
I knew almost nothing about Facebook when I joined. I was like a lot of people who don't seem to conceive of the idea that people work at Facebook and not magical computer fairies.
Why do you work for Facebook, over any other options open to you right now?
I really love my job. I get to sit in meetings with vaguely important and occasionally actually important people and explain why Facebook is like the wheel or fire and how not using it really isn't an option anymore. Government and politics both operate with pretty limited resources, but technologies like Facebook really are an answer for helping them overcome those constraints.
I came to DC to be a character in the (American TV show) West Wing (like Sam or Josh) and there are times when it was hard to look at all my friends working on the Obama campaign or in the White House and not feel like I'm missing out. But Congress, the White House, the government—those have all been around for a while and will be around for a while longer.
Facebook is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's like my favorite Facebook philosopher, (engineer) Soleio, once said (in this video): "This is Everest. Like there's nothing else, you get this thing done, you do this thing well, and then you can go home. You can say 'Hey I changed the world.' "
Charlotte works on Facebook's international user operations team.