Eric Lippert: A long expected update
Today is [..] my last day at Facebook-now-Meta.
My team — Probabilistic Programming Languages — and indeed entire “Probability” division were laid off a couple weeks ago; the last three years of my work will be permanently abandoned.
The mission of the Probability division was to create small teams that applied the latest academic research to real-world at-scale problems, in order to improve other groups’ decision-making and lower their costs. New sub-teams were constantly formed; if they didn’t show results quickly then they were failed-fast; if they did show results then they were reorganized into whatever division they could most effectively lower costs.
We were very successful at this. [..]
We foolishly thought that we would naturally be protected from any layoffs, being a team that reduced costs of any team we partnered with. [..]
The whole Probability division was laid off as a cost-cutting measure. I have no explanation for how this was justified and I note that if the company were actually serious about cost-cutting, they would have grown our team, not destroyed it.
I'm looking forward to hearing about what Eric has been up to and saddened but barely surprised at the ways bean-counting illusions about "what a company ought to be and do" forces hundred billion dollar companies to run roughshod over great ideas and fantastic people while stabbing their future selves in the butt. (Significant personal fallout aside, I will try to contain my dismay that it wounds Meta.)