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Facebook: Hacking All Night to an IPO

Team members building prototypes at Facebook's Hackathon.
Francis Luu | Facebook
Team members building prototypes at Facebook's Hackathon.

By the time Facebook shares start trading at 11 am ET, many Facebook employees will be exhausted and ready to go to sleep. All through the night Facebook headquarters was hopping and packed with people.

It wasn't a traditional party — but a Hackathon — the company's 31st. Even in the dead of the night- 4 am — there were over 500 people coding and taking breaks for a game of street hockey.

What's a Hackathon? It's a Facebook tradition — staying up all night coding, fueled by Red Bull, Chinese food, and the excitement of everyone pulling an all-nighter together. The idea is to use the time to create products and work on ideas outside your day job. It was Hackathons like this one that produced the "Like" button, Facebook chat, and the precursor to Facebook's time line.

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.