John Carmak, legendary game designer, rocket man and the VR enthusiast announced that after ten years as one of its premier champions, he is leaving both Meta/Facebook and the virtual reality business behind.
of Carmack the position was executive consultant. After initially sending a farewell message to his colleagues in an internal note, when it was partially leaked to the media, he instead decided to post the whole thing – including some explanations – on his Facebook page.
Here it is exactly:
This is the end of my decade in VR.
I have mixed feelings.
Quest 2 is pretty much what I wanted to see from the start – mobile hardware, inside-out monitoring, on-demand PC streaming, 4k(ish) display, affordable. Despite all my complaints about our software, millions of people still benefit from our software. We have a good product. It is successful and successful products make the world a better place. Things could have happened a little faster and gone better if different decisions had been made, but we built something pretty close to The Right Thing.
The problem is our efficiency.
Some will ask why I care what the progress is like as long as it is.
If I’m trying to impress others, I’d say an organization that only knows about inefficiency is unprepared for the inevitable competition and/or austerity, but in reality, it’s a more personal pain to see a 5% GPU usage count. producing. I am disturbed by this.
[edit: I was being overly poetic here, as several people have missed the intention. As a systems optimization person, I care deeply about efficiency. When you work hard at optimization for most of your life, seeing something that is grossly inefficient hurts your soul. I was likening observing our organization’s performance to seeing a tragically low number on a profiling tool.]
We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we are constantly self-sabotaging and making an effort. There’s no way to sugarcoat it; I think our organization is working half as much as the event that would make me happy. Some may taunt and claim we’re doing just fine, but others will laugh and say, “Half? Ha! I’m at a quarter efficiency!”
It’s been a struggle for me. I have the upper hand here, so it feels like I should be able to move things around, but frankly, I’m not convincing enough. A significant part of what I’ve been complaining about is finally coming back to me after a year or two and the evidence has piled up, but I’ve never been able to kill stupid things before they do harm or set a direction and get a team to truly stick. IT. I think my impact on margins has been positive, but it has never been the main mover.
Admittedly this was on my own – after I bought the Oculus I could move to Menlo Park and try to fight generational leadership, but I was busy programming and assumed I would hate it, be bad at it, and possibly lose. Anyway.
Enough of complaining. I’m tired of the fight and I have my own initiative, but the fight can still be won! VR can bring value to most people in the world, and no company is better positioned to do so than Meta. Maybe it’s really possible to get there just by moving forward with existing apps, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Make better decisions and fill your products with “Give a Damn”!
As stated in her description, while her comments may seem blasphemous, they don’t have to be about anyone she works with or the decisions made over her. It’s more about his open passion for the idea of optimization, a structural and systemic problem that can be infuriating for a man used to writing code and launching rockets into space at a company as big as Meta.
This would normally be part of a story, maybe I would make some assumptions about how such a high profile breakup could cause problems for Meta’s efforts in space, but lol, I think Meta does a good enough job shouting this from the rooftops..
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