This is an edited version of a memo I shared internally after the layoffs and my feelings regarding the recent changes at Meta. Given the generally positive feedback I received internally, I am sharing this more broadly externally minus business confidential information.
Layoffs are never easy. They are a time of great uncertainty and anxiety for everyone involved. I have been through layoffs several times in my career, and I know how difficult they can be. I have seen the emotional toll they take on people, both those who are laid off and those who remain. It is a difficult experience, and it is important to allow yourself to feel your emotions. It is also important to remember that you are not alone.
Personally, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I am excited about and if Meta was the right place for me to do it. Here is why I continue to remain excited about what I do and why I am energized coming into work:
- I am excited about the work that we are doing to build better products that serve the world.
- I am excited about the people that I work with and the opportunity to learn from them every day.
- I am excited about the future of Meta and the opportunity to be a part of it.
I hope this note will motivate others to find their own “why” in the midst of change.
Finding my Why
I get to help people like me
I grew up in a small town in India before personal computers and the internet were widely available. Only wealthy people could afford them. My family was not wealthy, so we could not afford to buy a computer or internet connection. The only way I could access the internet was by going to a shared internet cafe and paying by the minute. I saved up my allowance and money from my side hustles to spend on internet cafe time. I was fascinated by the internet (remember that funny dial up modem sound?). It was like a window into faraway lands, people, and ideas. I remember my first time using AOL Messenger to chat with someone who lived in downtown Manhattan. It was amazing to be able to connect with someone from another part of the world so easily.
The computer and the internet expanded my awareness and possibilities. They helped me learn about new things and meet new people. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college, and I am grateful to technology for the opportunities it has given me. It’s not lost on me that I am writing this note sitting in our Farley offices in Manhattan. :-)
Just like the personal computer did, I believe that RL products will liberate people from the constraints they were born into, whether they be physical, mental, geographical, or economic. I see the same benefits in RL products that the computer and the internet gave me. And to be a small part of that journey to help future generations is the reward. That is my “Why.”
“The following is a letter to first say thank you for developing such an amazing tool as ShapesXR, it saved my semester because I was able to prototype and test with users a project for my industrial design course at university. Now i’m working on a bigger project for my thesis and also the timing this app was out helped me a lot to work thru the deadlines and keep creating” — Industrial Design Student at Universidad Industrial de Santander, Columbia
“ As a former Physics teacher I really could have used this with my students! …I will also get PrismsVR for my grandaughters… they will learn Algebra before entering the 8th grade!! AWESOME!!”
“For me I never get to travel or go on cruises, or go to other countries to sightsee. I do dream of going on a cruise to view the northern lights one day..till then this app will have to suffice. Enjoy the views.. :)”
I grew up obese and was bullied for it in middle school, high school, and even college. This made me insecure about my appearance and gave me body image issues. It took years of hard physical and mental work to overcome these negative thoughts. My relationship with food is still complicated, and I have to remind myself that I am not the chubby kid I used to be. Working out, especially running, has become a big part of who I am and helps me stay mindful and present. This is Why I love working in fitness and mental wellness.
“Despite my social anxiety irl, in Innerworld, I’ve been able to overcome such anxiety by facing my fears and being allowed to speak on my own behalf. The app is a truly safe space by it’s members for use in coping with and working through those everyday issues everyone has like anxiety, depression, trauma triggers, and much more”
“Like many people, I struggled to find a fitness routine that worked for me. I tried joining a gym, but I quickly realized that the repetitive and boring nature of it just wasn’t for me. That’s when I discovered fitXR. In fact, since I started using fitXR and changed my diet, I have lost 8 kilograms since February! the combination of the app and a healthy diet has been a game-changer for me.”
“This is the best app I have ever used to help center and ground me. I suffer from extreme anxiety and struggle to leave my home due to the level of anxiety. Using this app has helped to reduce my anxiety level and using it before or after a stressful scenario has allowed me some more mental relief. I am confident this can and will change my life.”
I get to help developers
I used to be a Facebook developer when Facebook Login was first released. I also used Parse, a Facebook-acquired platform, before it was shut down. My experience building on Meta Platforms was mixed. Sometimes, my Developer Relations contact was apathetic and unhelpful. APIs would sometimes break unexpectedly. It was a rocky journey in 2010–2014, especially as Facebook navigated its platform growth and shut down APIs and products.
I love working with developers to help them build products and businesses on the Quest Platform. I want to create an environment where developers can thrive and be successful. I want to treat developers the way I would want to be treated if I were a developer. We care deeply about developer success. It makes me happy to receive notes from developers who appreciate our support.
“It was smart to set up our work as [redacted topic], and [redacted Metamate name] deserves a lot of credit for that. Because of this unusual setup, we are learning more from one another, including how to negotiate that fine balance between the desire to get to the product quickly and the time needed to investigate a solution that is truly novel.”
“Wonderful. This workaround as well as ongoing support to evolve would be so appreciated for all of the reasons previously stated. I assume all [redacted] services on Meta will also appreciate these efforts. Thank you, [redacted Metamate name] for your support”
I am excited to be working on one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken with a founder who is not afraid to take risks and make bold decisions.
We are on the verge of another computing revolution. Wearables, VR, Meta Reality, HMDs, glasses, and AI models all have the potential to change the way we interact with computers.
I had my first amazing Oculus experience on March 8, 2017, and I was hooked. My previous experience with DKII was nauseating, but the Rift was different. I got the same feeling of excitement and wonder that I felt when I first logged into a PC in a shared internet cafe.
I believe that these technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with computers. They could make it easier, more immersive, and more natural to use computers. This is a class of problems I care about.
Inventing the future of computing requires a lot of money, patience, and the ability to keep going even when things are tough. We have a founder who is crazy enough to believe in this vision, and we are committed to building an open platform that anyone can build on. This is my Why
I get to work at a company with people that makes principled decisions
It might not seem like it from the outside, but I have seen firsthand how Meta makes hard decisions, even if they are unpopular. Here is an example:
In 2016, I joined Meta to help start an enterprise SaaS product called Facebook at Work. Over time, the product evolved into Workplace. When we were faced with making a choice between the convenient option and the right option, I saw leadership make principled decisions.
In 2018, we were planning to make Workplace APIs available to developers. This would have allowed any developer contracted by a customer to access Workplace APIs and build integrations for the customer. However, given the risks that this would expose the customer to, we changed our plans. We decided to switch to a closed platform. This means that API access is only given to verified developers for limited use cases. Additionally, the developer’s Workplace integration must pass a security review by us, and their core tech infrastructure must pass whitehat penetration tests to ensure there are no backdoor security vulnerabilities.
This was a big change for developers. It was a lot more restrictive than the open platform that we had originally planned. However, we felt that it was necessary to protect the privacy and security of our users. The new platform integration requirements made it more difficult for developers to build integrations with Workplace. It reduced the # of integrations and the “size of ecosystem” claims we wanted to make in the press. This was Slack’s main differentiator against Workplace back in the day. PG leads (Karandeep Anand & team), Partnership leads (Julien Codorniou) signed off on this tradeoff. Because it was the right thing to do.
We found a lot of vulnerabilities in partner products, such as unsalted password storage. Fixing these vulnerabilities made the partner products better. We also removed tens of thousands of integrations that increased the risk of customer data breaches.
In the four years that I worked on the Workplace team, we never experienced a data breach that was caused by a partner. This is because we made the hard calls to improve security, even if it was inconvenient. We didn’t always get it right, but we always tried.
This is the way
One of Meta’s cultural values is “Meta, Metamates, Me”. It means that when making decisions, prioritize what’s good for Meta first, the broader team next and yourself last. It comes from the nautical principle: “Ship, shipmates, self”. A person’s duty in the navy is first to the ship, then to shipmates, and finally to himself/herself.
But if you are still reading this, you may have noticed that I didn’t follow the “Meta, Metamates, Me” approach when talking about my “Why.” This is because when it comes to thinking about your “Why,” it should be “Me, Metamates, Meta.”
It doesn’t matter who you work for, which organization you are in, or how many people you manage. What matters most is what you want to do and why you want to do it. If you don’t find your “Why,” your morale will be low, and it will affect everything you do. You owe it to yourself, but more importantly, you owe it to your colleagues who are trying to build better products that serve the world.
So please find your Why. This is the way.