There is no denying that even though Oculus is now under the Facebook umbrella, they could certainly use more experience within their executive framework. After all, over the last several weeks it seems as if they have managed to piss on their pre-order customers in just about every way imaginable. While delays and other issues are to be expected from Kickstarter-spawned companies, the fact that they are now owned by a $300 billion tech giant should go a long way in avoiding the pitfalls of the extreme demand for their product.
Yesterday afternoon it was announced that the company has reached outside the Facebook/Oculus organization and hired someone with a vast amount of experience in shipping products in high demand. Oculus now has a new Chief Operating Officer in a man named Hans Hartmann. Hartmann, who had been the COO at Fitbit for the past 5 years, and was responsible for managing the company’s supply chain, customer service, and hardware engineering departments, will come in and replace Laird Malamed, who had been in the COO position at Oculus since the company was founded. The move will instantly provide Oculus with a executive who can hopefully make the expanded rollout of the Rift headset far less chaotic than it has been to date.
“I’m excited to welcome Hans Hartmann to Oculus as our new COO,” wrote Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe. “Hans brings decades of industry experience, and joins us from Fitbit, where he has been the Chief Operations Officer for the past 5 years. Our founding COO Laird Malamed, will be taking on a new executive role helping us scale the business to bring virtual reality to millions around the world. It’s an incredible time for virtual reality, and I’m excited for what’s next.”
While many would argue that a move like this should have been made over a year ago, before the company was in the midst of a very shaky launch of their initial consumer headset, it is refreshing to see that Oculus has decided to bring someone with experience into the company. While it won’t make up for the weeks that many pre-order customers have been waiting, it will likely help prevent further issues downstream.
Hartmann’s experience prior to his five years at Fitbit include an 11-month stint as COO of Skyline Solar and various VP positions at companies ranging from Barco to Element Labs to Dash Navigation. Let’s hear your thoughts on this move by Oculus in the Hans Hartmann forum on VRTalk.com.