John Carmack, known for founding id Software (Wolfenstein 3D, doom, Wrath, Earthquake), joined Oculus VR back in 2013 before the company was acquired by Meta (Facebook at the time). After the acquisition, he served as CTO of the Oculus division before retiring from this position in 2019. He then served as “consulting CTO” until today. The manager has now resigned from Meta entirely, citing efficiency issues and a lack of influence in the office.
In a somewhat detailed post on Facebook, Carmack described his frustration at not being able to guide his staff to what he believed to be the right path in a minimal amount of time, despite his senior position in the office. Carmack claims that:
We have a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we are constantly sabotaging ourselves and wasting effort. There is no way to sugarcoat it; I think our organization is operating at half the efficiency that would make me happy. Some may scoff and claim we’re doing just fine, but others will laugh and say “Half? Huh! I’m a quarter as efficient!”
It was a struggle for me. I have my voice at the highest levels here, so it feels like I should be able to move things, but I’m probably not convincing enough. Much of the stuff I complain about ends up turning my way after a year or two passes and the evidence piles up, but I’ve never been able to kill stupid things before they do damage, or set a direction and a team sticks to it. This. I think my fringe influence was positive, but it was never a primary factor.
Regardless of his feuds with Meta leadership and the company’s general nimbleness, Carmack emphasized that the Meta Quest 2 VR headset is exactly what he hoped it would be. The former manager does hint that things could have been even better if certain decisions had been made at the right time, but seems satisfied with the end product overall.
Moving forward, Carmack will return to full-time work on his startup Keen Technologies, which works on artificial general intelligence (AGI). It is not clear at the moment if Meta will hire someone to fill his position – but it seems unlikely.