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When Mark Zuckerberg met Seattle: Fb, Meta, and a turning level for Silicon Valley

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, in the company’s heyday. (Facebook Photo)

The year was 2011, Facebook was serving a mere 600 million users, and Mark Zuckerberg was making his pitch to a crowd of prospective hires inside the company’s fledgling office near Pike Place Market — explaining why the social network had chosen Seattle for its first remote engineering hub.

“We were like, alright, at some point, we should probably think about opening up offices in other places. And we figured that Seattle would be a good starting place, because it’s culturally pretty similar to the Bay Area, pretty close by. … It’s the same time zone. So it’s easier to schedule time to hang out and talk with folks.”

Originally an experiment, it quickly became much more.

“We’ve been totally overwhelmed with awesome folks we’ve had the opportunity to talk to, from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, different startups here,” he said. “And it’s just really impressive. It has definitely blown away our expectations for how quickly we were going to be able to find good people.”

The trend only continued from there. In the decade that followed, Facebook grew to more than 8,000 people across numerous offices in the Seattle area, as the company reached nearly 3 billion users across the globe, and continued to expand under the Meta umbrella … until this week.

On this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, we discuss Zuckerberg’s decision to cut 11,000 jobs, or 13% of Meta’s workforce; examine the company’s growth in the Seattle region as an emblem of Silicon Valley’s global ambitions; and consider the new realities for popular tech business models amid the economic downturn.

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Listen above, or subscribe to GeekWire in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

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