"The road to the metaverse runs through the Pacific Northwest" - GeekWire

“The road to the metaverse runs through the Pacific Northwest” – GeekWire

Paresh Rajawat, META’s new head of office for the Pacific Northwest. (meta picture)

in Paresh RajawatHis 20-year journey through the tech landscape, he held leadership positions at Apple, Criteo, and Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Over the past eight years, Rajwat has worked across multiple areas at Meta, overseeing the early days of the Facebook video team, leading the monetization of the Facebook app and now as Vice President and Chief Product Officer of Virtual Reality.

Meta announced on Tuesday that Rajwat has been appointed as the newest chief of staff for the company’s important hub in the Pacific Northwest.

Rajwat said he’s optimistic about the role more than 8,000 Seattle-area employees will play on Meta’s big bet on the metaverse, the immersive and futuristic internet the company calls The next evolution in social communication.

“We have an internal old saying that the road to the Metavers passes through the Pacific Northwest,” Rajwat said.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg He reportedly told employees last week The company was cutting staff for the first time ever as part of a reorganization amid the biggest economic downturn. Meta inventory is down nearly 60% this year.

“We had a very sharp growth forecast,” Rajwat said. “Given the economic environment and how the market is trending, we will reduce growth significantly.”

Rajot added that the company is once again studying its real estate outlook, “especially now with remote work.” Mita said last year that she would Allowing anyone to request remote work.

The company was acquiring office space throughout the Seattle area, including several new buildings in the Spring area of ​​Bellevue.

GeekWire met with Rajwat to discuss Meta’s growth in the region, his views on hybrid work and more. Keep reading for the questions and answers, modified for length and clarity.

GeekWire: What has been the biggest change in your eight years at Meta — for you and the company?

Paresh Rajwat: “When I joined it it was still a very young company. The way the company has evolved and grown has been so amazing. It’s still a huge part of the culture the same – people think creatively, people are very passionate about the projects they are working on. They think big, they move fast. Smaller teams, fewer processes, more coding, more work. I feel a lot of those sentiments are still there. I feel like we still have the DNA of a really great startup. The flexibility and mobility that you have, as you move within the company, Unbelievable. Like anywhere else I’ve worked, the transition from one group to another was easy and smooth, even at the higher levels. I mean, the higher levels are usually you know, the transition gets harder, and yet it’s very easy.”

What has prepared you most for this role, leading the PNW office?

“It’s mostly about someone who really cares. What we’re really looking for is a leader who really cares about community development and investing in people. I care a lot about the culture, and I care a lot about how our employees feel and how they grow. Whatever things we care about – like our mission, our vision and all of those things – We want to live it internally. In Menlo Park, we had a sense of community that was very strong. It was good here too, but we want to move forward with it. And externally, how do we share more? Meta is now such a large presence in the Pacific Northwest. How can we Contributing more to the economy here, working with different organizations and agencies? I would like to do more of that.”

Spring neighborhood in Bellevue, Washington, where Mita has plenty of office space. (GeekWire file photo/Kevin Lisota)

What are your thoughts on telecommuting, hybrid work, and going back to work?

“We have fully embraced the future of work. Roughly 75%-80% of our teams have remote people, so we have to account for a hybrid environment. In terms of my personality [preference]I would say it’s a mix. When he started, telecommuting was very stressful. After two or three years, it’s actually the opposite in many cases. I think this works really well and why would you want to deal with navigation and all that stuff? Maybe two or three days I want to go back to the office. Maybe not every day. By the way, I only live a mile away, so I shouldn’t have too many excuses, but that’s my personal preference.”

What are some of the challenges that have shifted from social media giant Facebook to Meta-focused Metaverse?

“It’s a huge evolution of where we’re going. On social media, the model has been relatively simple. You have friends, you post here, you post there, all of that stuff. I would say the metaverse is actually the next big step in socializing. It’s still connected to experiences. Social…asynchronous vs. truly synchronous experiences is a lot of what the metaverse will be indexed into. The whole purpose of the metaverse is how people can feel like they’re with other people. You’ll see an extra dimension, which is harder, right? Because not everyone will be in the same place. At the same time “.

What are the major projects being developed and led in the Seattle area that excite you or play a role in what lies ahead?

“We have an inside saying that the path to the metaverse runs through the Pacific Northwest. We have a lot of related investments reality labs / metaverse. I work in VR and we have a great team here. Virtual reality is the best way to experience the metaverse, so that’s one aspect. Then you have elements from the metaverse, like your identity, your avatar, how you feel, how you want to appear – that’s a great team here too. Then you have a huge team around you Horizon worlds. I would say when it really comes down to a future where meta is headed, the Seattle area is going to play a huge, huge role when it comes to the engineering bandwidth that we’re putting into this area connected to what we’re heading into.”

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s avatar in a Horizon Worlds post he posted on Facebook earlier this summer. (Facebook photo)

How do you view Microsoft and Amazon in this area, as they are such a heavyweight? What is your offer to potential employees?

“I would say that all of these companies are great companies. I’ve been at Microsoft for a long time, and it’s a great company. Amazon is doing amazingly well. It all goes back to what people like the most. If you really want to build consumer products that build a sense Belonging to the community, I’d say Meta is the place to be. If you aspire to work on things that are more efficient, tricky, really make products quickly, I’d say this is the place to come. Meta isn’t for everyone, because we work hard and work fast and probably don’t work with some people.”

You are passionate about diversity and inclusion. How are you directing that into meta?

“I am really interested in creating diverse workplaces. I come from India and having different voices at the table helps you build better products and helps you understand people from different cultures, regions and perspectives. We are working to increase our focus more and more on D&I – how to make more of Underrepresented communities to be part of the Meta Telecommuting and telecommuting helps a lot Underrepresented minorities are usually hard to reach leadership positions in general What we started with the sponsorship program is we grow individuals into leadership positions, and we connect them to Vice Presidents and directors, and they get good training… and they have a chance to step up and do some bigger things.”

What is your favorite thing about living in the Seattle area as opposed to Silicon Valley?

“There are so many things Seattle has to offer. Ski resorts are very close. Me, my wife, my kids, everyone is interested in skiing now, we’re going after work. We’ve also picked a little bit of hiking and biking. When your family is happy, your wife is happy, your kids.” Happy… It was so cool.”

How are you still not connected to Facebook?

Every now and then I would still go, ‘Yeah, I work at Facebook. It was a very quick transition. When we initially announced it was like, ‘Wow, that’s going to be really hard because they are Facebook Mark started FacebookIt actually gave every other area more room to display. Facebook is one of the big shows, Instagram, WhatsApp, all the things around Reality Labs. Everything fits so much better. It landed really well and people moved very quickly to Meta as a company. “.

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