Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, writing on Facebook:
I'm excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team. Hugo's in China right now, so here we are together in VR. It seems fitting.
I've known Hugo for a long time, starting when he helped develop the Android operating system, to the last few years he's worked at Xiaomi in Beijing bringing innovative devices to millions of people.
Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They'll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I'm looking forward to having him on our team.
Among his talents, Hugo Barra is a comfortable face that can present well on stage at Oculus events. Hugo was a frontman for Google at several significant presentations before heading to Xiaomi, where he continued that role in a more international and social-focused sense. I think Facebook hired him because no one wants Zuck on stage for more than five minutes, they won't dare put Palmer on stage again, and Brendan Iribe has shifted to building the next great hardware thing.
It's also possible Barra will be able to bring some much-needed focus to the Oculus team. From an interview with Hugo at allthingsd:
Barra said that Jun's focus on three parts of the mobile ecosystem — hardware, software and services, which he has dubbed a "triathlon" — at the same time has been a key part of Xiaomi's success.
"They are a company building hardware like it was software," said Barra. "It's about small teams, really scrappy, that iterate, iterate, iterate."
Jun told Barra to think about it like kung fu. "In kung fu, Lei Jun told me that speed defines everything," he said. "So the team focuses on building the highest performance, but as quickly as possible."
Oculus developers have been concerned about how long it takes the company to react to simple things like support inquiries for a while now, a problem not shared by Vive or Daydream developers. Rift and Gear VR are facing unique competition going into 2017, and it's going to take constant iteration on pain points and a great stage presence to maintain momentum.
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