John Carmack leaves Meta with a memo criticizing the company’s efficiency
John Carmack, the virtual reality pioneer who joined Meta from Oculus after its $2 billion acquisition, has left the social network. Business Insider first reported his departure, citing people familiar with the company, and published pieces of his internal memo containing sentiments critical of Meta and its augmented and virtual reality efforts. After Insiders and The New York Times’ reports came out, Carmack confirmed on Twitter and Facebook that he was indeed leaving the company and even published his note in full to staff members.
“This is the end of my decade in VR,” Carmack said in his memo. He began by praising the Quest 2 headset for what he “wanted to see from the get-go,” with its inside-out shell, optional PC streaming, cost-effectiveness, and a near-4K resolution screen. However, he argued that it “could have happened a little faster and could have gone better if different decisions had been made.”
Carmack’s main problem with Meta appears to be the company’s efficiency — or, based on his memo, the lack thereof. “We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we are constantly sabotaging and wasting effort,” he wrote. “There’s no way to sugar coat it; I think our organization is operating at half the efficiency that would make me happy.”
The executive said that as “a voice at the highest levels” he felt he should have been able to move things along, but he was “apparently not convincing enough.” Although he didn’t give detailed examples, Carmack noted that a good fraction of the things he complained about didn’t change his direction until a year or two after evidence of the issue had already accumulated. “I’ve never been able to kill stupid stuff before it did damage, or set a direction and actually make a team stick to it,” he added. Towards the end of the memo, Carmack admitted that he was “tired of the battle” but that he still believes that “VR can bring value to the most people in the world, and no company is better positioned to do that than Meta not.”
As the executive said on Twitterhe makes it no secret that he has always been quite frustrated with how things are done [Meta.]”In a podcast interview with Lex Fridman in August, he said the $10 billion loss by the company’s AR and VR division made him “sick of [his] stomach thinking about so much money being spent.” He wrote posts on Meta’s internal message board criticizing his headsets’ features and the need to install software updates before using them. Apparently he also pushed Meta to putting immediate user experience first when it comes to how it wants to build out its vision of the metaverse.
Carmack became Oculus’ first chief technology officer in 2013 after leaving id Software, where he co-created Doom and Trembling franchises. He joined Meta when it, as Facebook, bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. In 2019, he took a step back from Oculus and only acted as CTO in a consulting capacity to focus on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), or its kind. of AI capable of performing human tasks. His startup, Keen Technologies, is working to develop those types of AI systems.
As anyone who listens to my unscripted Connect rants knows, I’ve always been pretty frustrated with how things are done at FB/Meta. Everything needed for spectacular success is there, but it is not put together effectively.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) December 17, 2022
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