Ex-Meta exec had 'real issues' with the company's decisions and spending: 'I thought large fractions were really poorly spent'

Ex-Meta exec had 'real issues' with the company's decisions and spending: 'I thought large fractions were really poorly spent'
John Carmack said he had some issues with Meta's spending before he left the company late last year.Getty
  • Former Meta VR exec John Carmack said he had "real issues" with the company's plans and spending.
  • Carmack sent a scathing email when he left Meta last year, saying he'd never been able to "kill stupid things."

Former Meta executive and video game pioneer John Carmack says he didn't approve of the company's spending before he left.

"I was having some real issues at Meta with large-scale strategic directions," Carmack said in an interview with the business publication, Dallas Innovates. "I'm sure you've seen some of the headlines about how much money they're spending, and I thought large fractions were really poorly spent."

During his time at Meta — which Carmack calls "challenging" — he transitioned into the role of consulting CTO for the company's virtual reality efforts in 2019 after Meta acquired Oculus in 2014. He had previously been Oculus' CTO. Carmack left Meta in 2022 and has since turned his focus to artificial intelligence through his startup Keen Technologies.

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Carmack and a spokesperson for Meta did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.

The technology developed by Oculus, including the Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest, has grown into a key part of Mark Zuckerberg's plans for the company since he changed Facebook's name to Meta and announced a pivot toward the metaverse in 2021. As a result of the rebranding, Meta moved away from the Oculus branding and renamed its headsets as the Meta Quest line, which fall under the company's Reality Labs division. Since, Zuckerberg announced plans to focus on building the company around plans for the metaverse, which Meta has spent billions on through its Reality Labs program. Last year, the division posted a $13.7 billion loss.


It's not the first time Carmack has taken aim at decision-making at Meta. Last year, the consulting CTO announced he was leaving the company in a scathing exit memo in which he urged people at the company to "give a damn."

"I have never been able to kill stupid things before they cause damage, or set a direction and have a team actually stick to it," Carmack said in the memo.

Carmack also said at the time that the company has "a ridiculous amount of people and resources, but we constantly self-sabotage and squander effort."

"There is no way to sugar coat this; I think our organization is operating at half the effectiveness that would make me happy," he said.

There are signs that Meta is trying to regain focus.


Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth said in recent blog post on his personal website that he misses the days when the company was smaller and more focused.

Zuckerberg has taken several strides in recent months to cut back on company spending — including embracing his role as "Chopper-in-Chief," Insider's Kali Hays reported. Last year, the company laid off over 11,000 employees, the largest cull to date.

During the company's earnings call last week, the CEO indicated there are likely more layoffs to come, dubbing 2023 the "Year of Efficiency. Shares of the company surged over 20% on the news.

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