Cory Ondrejka is vice president of engineering at Facebook. He also was the Chief Technology Officer of Linden Lab, makers of Second Life.
Before Linden Lab
Before joining Linden Lab, Ondrejka served as Project Leader and Lead Programmer for Pacific Coast Power and Light, where he helped to develop Road Rash 64 and built a core technology team to deliver titles to the Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation consoles. Prior to 2000, Ondrejka also worked for the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency.
Linden Lab (2000-2007)
Ondrejka joined San Francisco-based Linden Lab in 2000 and was the fourth employee retained by the company. During his tenure at Linden Lab (2000–2007), Ondrejka was chiefly responsible for the development of the Linden Scripting Language, and reportedly spearheaded Linden Lab’s initiatives in favor of user intellectual property rights and open source code. Ondrejka departed Linden Lab in 2007, a move initially rumoured in the virtual world blog Massively and subsequently confirmed in CNET and by numerous other sources following an official statement. Ondrejka’s departure, which former Linden Lab Chief Executive Officer Philip Rosedale characterized in a BBC interview as amicable “differences… about how to run the company and how best we organise ourselves as a company going forward”, was a source of controversy and speculation in the media and blogosphere.
After Linden Lab
In 2008, Ondrejka was recruited to join EMI with the title of senior vice-president of digital strategy. Digital business president Douglas Merrill commented on Ondrejka’s appointment that, Ondrejka’s experience in building virtual environments will be valuable to EMI in creating “new digital communities for fans and artists”, specifically with a view to enabling people to find and engage with musical content.
In November 2010 Ondrejka was hired by Facebook, which also acquired the assets of a startup he cofounded in April 2010, Walletin. He got the title of engineering director. In 2011 he became the director of mobile engineering.
In Second Life
Ondrejka was known in Second Life as “Cory Linden,” and created an avatar to appear in the 3D world as the Flying Spaghetti Monster. His activities in the world were characterized by Wagner James Au as “puckish” and playfully anarchic, often to the benefit of newbies.
Facebook Buying Oculus Virtual-Reality Company for $2 Billion
The acquisition comes just weeks after Facebook announced it would purchase the messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. Zuckerberg noted that he didn’t expect Facebook’s buying spree to continue, but that the company would open its wallet for companies that it thinks offer a unique value opportunity. “There are not that many companies that are building core technologies that can be the next major computing platform,” he said of Oculus.
Facebook does not yet have a business model for Oculus, but revenues won’t center around selling Oculus Rift headsets. Zuckerberg said he could envision people visiting virtual worlds where they can buy goods and are served advertisements.
The huge purchase shows that every major tech player is making a big bet on wearable devices. Google is continuing to develop its Google Glass hardware and just announced a version of its Android operating system tailored for smart watches. Samsung already has a line of smart watches. With Oculus, Facebook is making a remarkably bold bet that people in the future will want to be fully immersed in technology.
“We feel like we should be looking ahead and thinking about what the next platforms are going to be,” Zuckerberg said. “We think vision is going to be the next really big platform.”
The race is on again,
Sony, Facebook, Rosedale.
Second Life Founder Philip Rosedale’s New Startup High Fidelity High Fidelity, the virtual world startup led by Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, had raised $2.4 million of a $3.4 million round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, we didn’t know who had actually made the investment — until today. Tony Conrad of True Ventures just announced that his firm led High Fidelity’s Series A, and that Google Ventures and various angel investors also participated. The High Fidelity website now mentions Mitch Kapor and Linden Lab (the company behind Second Life) as investors too. In his blog post, Conrad praises Rosedale’s achievement in building virtual world Second Life. Then he offers this description of what the new company does:
Philip is truly a Founder of a movement—his passion for authenticity in our virtual interactions is unparalleled. So it stands to reason that his most recent company, High Fidelity, is building a next-generation virtual world enabling even richer avatar interactions, driven by sensor-equipped hardware, simulated and served by devices (phones, tablets and laptops/desktops) contributed by end-users. Together with Co-Founders Fred Heiberger and Ryan Karpf, the High Fidelity team is creating a version of the SETI system, but with computers powering a tiny piece of the virtual world rather than folding proteins or looking for aliens.