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John Carmack drops the meta, says for an article titled

Photo:: Bloomberg (Getty Images:)

John Carmack, legendary game designer, rocket boy and the VR enthusiast has announced that he is leaving both Meta/Facebook and the virtual reality business after a decade as one of its most prominent champions.

Carmack’s position as an executive consultant. Having initially sent his farewell message to colleagues in an internal memo when part of it appeared in the media, he decided instead to post the whole thing, including some clarifications, on his Facebook page.

Here it is in full.

This marks the end of my decade in VR.

I have mixed feelings.

The Quest 2 is pretty much exactly what I wanted to see in the first place: portable hardware, inside-out tracking, optional PC streaming, 4k(ish) screen, cost-effective. Despite all the complaints I have about our software, millions of people still get value from it. We have a good product. It is successful, and successful products make the world a better place. Things could have been a little faster and better if different decisions had been made, but we built something that was pretty close to The Right Thing.

The problem is our efficiency.

Some will ask why I care how progress happens as long as it does.

If I’m trying to sway others, I’d say that an organization with only inefficiencies is ill-prepared for the inevitable competition and/or belt-tightening, but it’s actually more of a personal pain when we see the 5% GPU utilization numbers. : production. I am offended by it.

[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 wasting effort. There is no way to sugar coat this. I think our organization is operating at half the efficiency that would make me happy. Some may scoff and claim that we are doing well, but others will laugh and say, Ha! I’m on the effectiveness of the quarter!”

It has been a struggle for me. I have a voice at the highest levels here, so I feel like I should be able to get things moving, but obviously I’m not convincing enough. Most of the things I complain about end up being reversed after a year or two and the evidence piles up, but I’ve never been able to kill the stupid things before they do damage, or set a direction and the team actually sticks to it. it. I think my influence on the sidelines has been positive, but it’s never been the main driver.

This was certainly self-confidence. I could have moved to Menlo Park after the Oculus acquisition and tried to wrestle with generations of management, but I was busy programming and assumed I would hate it, be bad, and probably lose. in any case.

Enough complaining. I’m tired of the struggle and I have my own startup to run, but the struggle can still be won. VR can bring value to the majority of people around the world, and no company is better positioned to do so than Meta. It may actually be possible to get there by simply getting ahead of current practices, but there is plenty of room for improvement.

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According to his statement, while his comments may seem reprehensible, they are not necessarily related to any individuals he worked with or decisions made above him. They’re more about his clear passion for the idea of ​​optimization itself, a structural and systemic problem that at a company as big as Meta might have been maddening for a guy used to writing code and launching rockets into space.

This would normally be the part of the story where I’d leave some speculation as to how such a high-profile departure could possibly cause trouble for Meta’s efforts in space, but lol, I think Meta does it well enough to shout it from the rooftops.



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