Business

After GitHub harassment allegations, Tom Preston-Werner is launching a virtual-reality startup

Tom Preston-Werner, cofounder & CEO, GitHub

Above: Tom Preston-Werner, cofounder & CEO, GitHub

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Immediately following his controversial departure, former GitHub president and chief executive Tom Preston-Werner today announced his next step: “immersive computing” (aka virtual reality).

Here’s an excerpt from Preston-Werner’s blog explaining his plans. A recent visit to Oculus VR — the makers of the Oculus Rift VR headset and a company that Facebook bought for $2 billion in March — apparently inspired the now-former GitHub executive:

“During my time away from GitHub I started experimenting with Go, OpenGL, and Unity with an eye towards the software side of immersive computing. It felt really good to get back into a code editor and challenge the deeply logical and analytical part of my brain. I’ve enjoyed the challenges of learning how to lead a company with hundreds of people, but it’s very hard for me to deny the allure of coding a system that could once again change the course of history.

I’m telling you this because I think stealth mode is bullshit and if you feel the same way I do about immersive computing then I want to talk with you about it. For the next few months I’m going to be living in Manhattan. My wife, Theresa, is currently participating in Techstars NYC as their very first nonprofit. Her startup, The Omakase Charity, helps donors learn about and support nonprofits that are changing the world with technology. She’s one of the strongest and most thoughtful women I know, and I’m hoping to help her succeed with her mission while I’m here.”

Echoing GitHub’s earlier statement, Preston-Werner insists in his post that recent harassment allegations are false. Preston-Werner claims he is leaving GitHub because the controversy would serve as a distraction to both the company and himself.

“The investigation and all the attention surrounding it have me concerned that remaining at GitHub would be a distraction for both me and the company.”

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