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Facebook Seattle held a hackathon at the Space Needle today, with the theme “Tear Down This Wall,” encouraging employees to come up with ways to improve internal collaboration.

Facebook’s Seattle office has reached a whopping 400 employees — and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Paul Carduner, Facebook Seattle site lead, at the company's hackathon today at the Space Needle.
Paul Carduner, Facebook Seattle site lead, at the company’s hackathon today at the Space Needle.

Just this week, Facebook expanded onto a fourth floor inside its Seattle building, and the company plans to take occupancy of another two floors next month, effectively doubling the space in what is already Facebook’s largest engineering outpost outside of its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. All told, the six floors could provide room for as many as 800 people.

That’s up from just two employees when Facebook opened in Seattle in 2010, and 90 employees when it moved to its current building in the city in 2012.

“Seattle is just a hotbed of awesome talent,” said Paul Carduner, the Facebook Seattle site lead, in an interview with GeekWire this evening. “We have a bunch of companies that have been here for a long time, building up Seattle as this great technology hub. It’s been a huge boon for us to be here. … There’s a lot of room for us to grow in this market.”

Facebook is part of a wave of Silicon Valley companies that have expanded to the Seattle region by opening engineering offices here, boosting the region’s status as a tech hub, but also making it more difficult for smaller startups to recruit and retain top talent.

Earlier this year, a real estate source said Facebook was eyeing space in the Macy’s building in downtown Seattle for future expansion, but Carduner declined to comment today when asked about that possibility. He said the company plans to remain in its current building “for now.” One downside of the existing setup is that the additional floors aren’t contiguous.

Facebook Seattle employees during the hackathon at the Space Needle today.
Facebook employees take part in the hackathon at the Space Needle today.

Carduner became the Facebook Seattle site lead last year, moving up from the company’s headquarters. He joined Facebook in 2010 when the company acquired the photo startup Divvyshot.com, where he was an early employee.

He was speaking toward the end of an all-day hackathon for Facebook Seattle employees at the Space Needle — a change of scenery that was part of an effort to continue building and reinforcing the Facebook culture in the midst of all this growth.

The theme was “Tear Down This Wall,” encouraging employees to come up with hacks to improve office collaboration, communication and internal systems. Past examples include an automated process for ordering and delivering balloons to employees on their employment anniversaries, known internally as “Face-versaries.”

Employees were also able to work on consumer-facing projects during the hackathon — potential new products and enhancements to existing Facebook offerings.

Projects from the hackathon will be presented at an upcoming internal forum in Seattle, with the top ideas going to Menlo Park for review by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Ultimately, product teams could be formed to further develop some of the best hackathon products.

Everyday work in the Seattle office spans a wide range of areas, including voice calling, the Atlas advertising technology, the Facebook platform, app installation ads, infrastructure and video.

Facebook Seattle employees gathered at the Space Needle today for an internal hackathon.
Facebook Seattle employees gathered at the Space Needle today for an internal hackathon.
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