Facebook investor dissatisfied with Zuckerberg’s Meta ambitions

A high-profile investor at Facebook is publicly dissatisfied with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s entry into the metaverse.

Brad Gerstner, founder of Bay Area-based tech investment firm Altimeter Capital, wrote a (relatively) impassioned open letter to Zuckerberg asking him to withdraw all investments in the Meta event and make mass layoffs.

“Like so many other companies in a zero-ratio world – Meta has drifted into the realm of extremism – too many people, too many ideas, too little urgency,” Gerstner said in a Medium post on Monday. “This lack of focus and vitality hides when growth is easy but deadly when growth slows and technology changes.”

The statement comes amid economic headwinds in the tech industry, and the industry’s heavyweights (including Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff) are proposing a lean era for tech. But the economic situation is particularly grim for Meta, which invests between $10 billion and $15 billion a year in various metaverse experiments, including Horizon Worlds, virtual and augmented reality, and Meta Quest glasses. The company’s shares have lost nearly 60% of their value so far this year. (It also doesn’t help that the metaverse — progressive legs and all — previews are under-received.)

“Meta needs to rebuild trust with investors, employees and the tech community to attract, inspire and retain the best people in the world,” Gerstner said.

Their main recommendation: withdraw metadata base investments and pump a maximum of $5 billion – a staggering figure in itself – with “more discrete goals and success metrics.” “An estimated $100 billion investment in an unknown future is super big and daunting, even by Silicon Valley standards,” Gerstner said.

And it’s cutting staff costs by 20%, including layoffs that it claims “only pushes the company back to mid-2021 employee expense levels,” in line with what smaller companies have been doing over the past few months. (He acknowledges the impact this will have on employees, but says that “these employees will find new jobs and return to work quickly.”)

CNBC reported that Altimeter owns more than 2 million shares of Meta. According to an interview Gerstner did earlier this year, Altimeter invested in Facebook in 2012, shortly after the company launched its IPO.

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