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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jerry Kremer
We should bring Facebook's way of thinking to Long Island

A great philosopher once said that “the two professions for which there is no formal training are politics and motherhood.” I can’t vouch for the motherhood part, but there should be some type of formal education for people in the political world. If I could sponsor an educational trip for local politicians, it would be a trip to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

I had the opportunity recently to tour the company’s headquarters, and it is a world unto itself. Imagine roughly 1,500 brilliant young people sitting at computer terminals, creating programs and dealing with the company’s social media contacts of over a billion people. Despite the fact that Facebook is a serious business with intense technological challenges, the atmosphere is as relaxed as any place I’ve ever been.

Facebook staffers have every opportunity to work and have fun at the same time. They eat most of their meals on campus and have every type of relaxation at their fingertips. The buildings where they work are like a large college campus but with a simple and functional design. Blessed with all of these benefits, they are helping Facebook build a dynasty that will last for many years to come.

Outside the walls of this incredible enterprise are numerous communities that benefit from its presence. Restaurants flourish, and there are plentiful housing opportunities. Between Facebook, Google, Yahoo and dozens of other companies, the region is enjoying an economic boom of enormous proportions.

If some local politician with leadership skills and the will to challenge the naysayers took up the cause of creating new Facebooks in this region, things would be a lot different. Imagine if there was more affordable housing available to our local college graduates. What if a Long Island Rail Road train trip to and from the city was faster and more affordable? What if some major high-tech companies decided to plant their flags at places like Mitchel Field, Islandia or Hauppauge, enticed by generous tax incentives and low-cost power?

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