Quora Answer of the Week: The Facebook Hedgehog Edition

In which we learn how Sean Parker’s odd (and prickly) obsession nearly became the Facebook mascot.

Hedgehog costume


That repository of unusual questions and candid answers, Quora, continues to generate information you can’t find anywhere else.

The question: “Does Facebook need a pet (Android robot, Twitter bird, etc) to improve its corporate image?”

The answer: It almost did have a pet/mascot. That’s right, we narrowly missed a Facebook hedgehog.


Says Ezra Callahan, Facebook old-timer (i.e. since 2004):

True story: in the very early days of Facebook, Sean Parker wanted to
make Facebook’s mascot a hedgehog. We had early plans to build a local
business program around each college on the site (a Yelp-like service
similar to what later became Facebook Pages). As part of that, Sean
wanted us to send each participating business a little blue stuffed
hedgehog. Matt Cohler and I even sourced a couple companies to make

Sean actually wanted us to get a real hedgehog for the
office. Turns out they aren’t street legal in California, or something,
but I guess he found a way to obtain one in Nevada. Fortunately (or
unfortunately, depending on your affinity for hedgehogs) Sean couldn’t
convince any of us to drive there to get one.

The local business
program was shelved mid 2005 (we decided a revenue product wasn’t as
important after the Accel financing), and Sean let his dream of the
hedgehog go with it.

How did Aaron Sorkin miss that? He had Sean Parker doing coke and chasing underage women, but somehow overlooked his Sega Genesis addiction. Maybe he’s saving it for a sequel?

Related Story: The “Social Network” Effect: 6 Ideas for Hollywood’s Next Tech Flicks


[Image: Flickr user dmuth]


About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal