Facebook buys 'The Hacker Company' sign for its headquarters

Facebook says it is a company made up of hackers. In fact, the social networking giant now has a "The Hacker Company" sign. The idea for the purchase came from... you guessed it, a hacker.

Instagram isn't the only thing Facebook bought recently. The social networking giant has purchased a vintage sign "The Hacker Company" and installed it at its 1 Hacker Way headquarters. It wasn't as quick of a buy as Instagram, either: the whole process took seven months, which is longer than Facebook's move from Palo Alto to Menlo Park.

Here's the story. In April 2011, former Facebook engineer Chris Putnam was visiting his girlfriend's mother in Lake City, Florida, and saw the above vintage sign. He wanted it. Maybe it was because he was hired by Facebook for hacking the social network. Maybe it was simply because Zuckerberg runs the company under "The Hacker Way."

"I'll always feel pretty close with the culture and all my friends there, so I immediately thought 'Man, this should be on FB's campus,'" Putnam told TechCrunch. Even though Putnam left Facebook in August 2010, he posted a picture of the sign (on Facebook of course) with the caption, "Facebook NEEDS this sign."

Facebook engineer Serkan Piantino took Putnam's to heart, and began negotiating with Roger Hacker, the sign's owner. Then Facebook had to have the sign shipped, installed (this was rescheduled six times), and finally lit up (that happened today). I think it will fit nicely with the QR code located on the roof.

We don't know how much Facebook paid for the sign, but something tells me that even though it wasn't as much as it did for Instagram, it still grossly overpaid. Then again, Putnam says Hacker was reportedly getting a new sign anyways, which shouldn't be too much of a challenge, as "The Hacker Company" is a sign manufacturer.

Update on April 11 - Roger D. Hacker contacted me to say he and his father, Jay A. Hacker (1918-2007), built the sign by hand.

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