Oakland Raiders Touch Down At Facebook HQ

Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., was recently invaded by Raiders — not corporate raiders, or outlaws seeking to occupy the social network, but Oakland Raiders.

Eight members of the National Football League team visited Facebook’s headquarters recently, speaking with employees of the social network about how they use social media and post-playing career opportunities at the company, and touring its campus.

Brandon Gayle, who leads strategic partnership development for athletes and sports at Facebook, told Raiders.com:

We had eight players come down from the Raiders to hang out. What we really wanted to do was spend time getting feedback from them on how they use Facebook, how they engage in social media more broadly, and also spend time helping them think through post-career opportunities in the NFL, whether that’s careers here at Facebook or sports more broadly — just be a resource since we’re so close to Raider Nation.

I think the product feedback was great. As we try to refine our product and improve the way they use Facebook and get them things that are easier to get them closer to their fans, I think the feedback was invaluable. And then from a career standpoint, hopefully, they found the information the folks in HR shared and the information we shared about thinking about opportunities post-football useful.

(The players’ reaction to the campus tour) was pretty similar to my reaction when I first started here at Facebook — kids in a candy store. Our campus is amazing, and I think the ability to take them around and show them how open it is and some of the cool stuff we have, whether it’s our sweet shop or open cafeteria, was really great.

The eight Raiders who participated in the visit were:

  • Jason Foster, guard
  • Richard Gordon, tight end
  • Jon Hoese, fullback
  • Rashad Jennings, running back
  • Cory Nelms, defensive back
  • Jamize Olawale, fullback
  • Brandian Ross, defensive back
  • Tray Session, wide receiver

Jennings told Raiders.com of the visit to Facebook:

We had a lot of feedback and communication with the product management team about the difference between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We got to express some of the buzz we felt and they got to educate us on how we can use it better. I think it went well.

This is a great opportunity. While I’m over here on the West Coast, I’m making it a point, after I take care of what I need to on the field with my extra work, to network with some of these innovative companies. So I’m really enjoying what the West Coast has been offering me so far.

If nobody has seen it, they should get out here. It’s like an adult Disneyworld. It’s really fun. It’s a college atmosphere with adults, and I love the working atmosphere. It’s somewhere I could possibly look at interning.

I think it was a huge success. A couple of the guys came out, had fun, got a chance to meet some of the minds behind Facebook and the operations and network. Get away from football a little bit and build our connection in the riding the bus, talking about life. Those type of occurrences help out a lot on the football field. I think this visit was a success.

Ross added:

We first came in and we did a Q&A with some employees here. They were very helpful. They took our feedback very positively, I think. Hopefully, we see some changes on Facebook that we all suggested.

I like learning new things, how things operate. I like meeting new people, networking, and this was the perfect opportunity to step out into the social networking world and just learn more and expand and meet new people who can maybe help me in the future.

This is like heaven on Earth. They have free food, sweets; it’s a very laid-back atmosphere, but you can tell everyone enjoys their job and they work really hard to make Facebook the best product they possibly can.

Readers: Do you think more athletes and celebrities should take advantage of what Facebook has to offer?

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