Leading at Roblox is a new series that explores the career journeys of Roblox’s leaders and discusses their roles, philosophies, and management styles. In our first profile, we get to know Claus Moberg, VP of Engineering, who heads up our User Group. This year, Claus is moreover leading Roblox’s Hack Week, a week-long opportunity for all Roblox employees to bring our cadre values to life by pursuing self-directed projects that push boundaries and slide the future of our platform.

Let’s talk well-nigh your career path to Engineering leadership. How did it all start?

CM: You could definitely consider my path to engineering leadership unconventional. My grandfather was a meteorologist, and I spent a large permafrost of my summers hanging out with my grandparents, like a “grandparents summer camp” kind of thing. Through that quality time, I became really interested in the weather. When I was in upper school, I completed internships doing research on hurricanes at the Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab in Miami. I then chose my college, the University of Wisconsin, considering it had a really strong meteorology program. One thing led to another, and I migrated from pure meteorology to really focusing on air pollution, which is where the atmospheric chemistry portion kicked in. My PhD explored the relationship between air pollution in one corner of the world and its impact on the health and wellness of people in a completely variegated place.

Claus Moberg conducting field work for his PhD in atmospheric chemistry

Claus Moberg conducting field work for his PhD in atmospheric chemistry

And what led to your transition into engineering?

Here’s where things take the pivotal turn that led me to Roblox. I had the opportunity to get involved in a merchantry idea competition that really piqued my interest. I wound up winning a prize in the competition and starting a visitor based on my idea. The visitor made toys that would unlock notation in video games, and that’s how I got into the video game and entertainment space. It was through this visitor that I met Dave Baszucki, Roblox’s Founder and CEO. Dave and I got to know one another, and he gave me a job offer as an Engineering Director at Roblox. Here we are, nearly seven years later.

I’ve never been the kind of person who has followed a linear career plan. I’m unchangingly looking at the opportunities that are in front of me and trying to maximize the ones I think will be most entertaining and fulfilling. Roblox has unmistakably been that one for a very long time.

So you started off as a Director of Engineering at Roblox. Can you share a bit well-nigh your career path?

I started at Roblox scrutinizingly seven years ago as an Engineering Director leading efforts for our mobile, console, and VR gaming clients. Within well-nigh a year, I was promoted to Senior Director and began overseeing our Lua Applications and Infrastructure teams. I spent well-nigh two years in that position, and then was promoted into my current role as VP of Engineering, overseeing our User Group and our Chinese subsidiary, Luobu.

And what does your current role entail?

I currently lead the User Group at Roblox. “Users” are what we undeniability the consumers on the platform. We think of Roblox as a two-sided marketplace, where creators and developers come every month to create incredible immersive virtual 3D experiences, and then millions of users come every month to slosh those experiences. My team is responsible for ensuring the time those users spend on Roblox is positive and seamless. In practice, that ways I manage the team that owns the very apps that you install on your device, as well as all of the social features on the platform that indulge users to communicate and interact just as they would in the physical world, like text chat, voice chat, asynchronous messaging, groups, communities, and more.

I moreover lead engineering for our Chinese subsidiary tabbed Luobu, which is a joint venture with Tencent, a tech and entertainment visitor based in China.

It sounds like you’re managing a lot of people with variegated experiences, backgrounds, and career goals. What’s one thing you’ve learned as a leader at Roblox?

I’ve learned so many lessons in my career by making mistakes. A big one that jumps to mind is the importance of liaison and transparency when you’re in a leadership role. It isn’t easy, but I’ve learned that communicating with facts and authenticity is the weightier way to expedite the process of finding a path forward. This is where innovation happens, in the moments when you tackle problems throne on instead of trying to shine a positive light on them or stave addressing them at their root. This was a lesson that I personally had to learn the nonflexible way, but it’s really important to how I operate on a day-to-day understructure at Roblox.

Claus Moberg and colleague Michael McHale, Project Management Director, performing at the 2017 Roblox Bloxy Awards

Claus Moberg and colleague Michael McHale, Project Management Director, performing at the 2017 Roblox Bloxy Awards

How do you help to lead and build a culture of innovation at Roblox?

I use Roblox’s values as an algorithm for innovation. In other words, I encourage my team to use our four cadre values as a tool that they can use in all of their decision-making. For example:

  • Take the long view → Ask yourself: “How do I want this to work five years from now?” Are you moving toward that or yonder from it?
  • Respect the polity → Consider which of the options in front of you benefits the largest number of people. Start out at the highest level and consider what’s weightier for all of our users.Then move lanugo the funnel: what’s weightier for the company, the team, and the individual.
  • We are responsible → We remove personal interest and make the right thing happen.
  • Get stuff washed-up → How can we do the right thing most efficiently?

If you use our Roblox values as a decision-making algorithm, it’s very rare that you run through all four, and you still don’t know what to do. Inherently in that process lies innovation. In my wits as a leader here, the values constrain how I think well-nigh solving problems and have helped me guide my teams to innovate in the right ways.

If you had to segregate a value that most resonates with you as a leader, which one would it be?

All of them are imperative, but at this moment at our company, Take the long view is extremely relevant. I think it’s important for my team to alimony in mind how rare an opportunity we have right now. With a single product, we have, theoretically, the topics for every human stuff on earth with an internet connection to wilt a user. And if we execute the roadmap in front of us and protract to make Roblox the weightier platform for innovative 3D creation, then our total addressable market is 3 billion people. In other words, we’re towers for 3 billion monthly zippy users six years from now, today. So how do we think well-nigh solving that problem? How we wordplay that question is where innovation comes from.

In closing, can you share a moment from the last few years when you were most proud of your team?

There are so many, but a big one that stands out is the incubation of our mobile app. When I first joined Roblox, our load time was slow and the wits was clunky. We knew that if we improved the experience, our growth rates would slide from where they were, which was once very strong.

Claus Moberg during a 2022 Roblox Game Jam

Claus Moberg during a 2022 Roblox Game Jam

At the time, every mobile app in the App Store fell into one of two buckets. One option was a native build, so teams would build an iOS, Android, and Windows app simultaneously. That meant if you were towers a new feature, you had to build it many variegated times: once for each of the platforms that we support (Objective C/Swift for iOS, Android Java for Android, C# for Windows, C for Xbox, etc). The second option was to transpile web lawmaking as an app using something like React Native. With this option, teams only had to build and maintain each full-length or transpiration once, but it was an imperfect wits everywhere— a single codebase with a lackluster user wits all-around.

At Roblox, we opened a third door that wasn’t possible for anyone else: rebuild our app as a Roblox game. The first thing we do when we port Roblox to a new platform is integrate our game engine at the lowest level APIs misogynist to us on that hardware and operating system. So, everything you do on Roblox without the splash screen is itself scripted in Lua and rendered by our game engine. This ways that we have a single lawmaking wiring that powers all Roblox experiences on every platform. Last year, we released what’s been tabbed the Universal App on desktop. This was one of the last platforms that lacked a version of our Lua Universal App powering the experience. It took us four years to do this, but we now have a single codebase that powers a first-class wits on every single platform, including mobile. Since launching, it’s been dogfooding wondrous features for our developers and debugging thousands of issues within the game engine itself that were limiting us from towers the thing that we wanted to build.

When we stock-still the app, every scrolling frame and every game wideness all the millions of games on Roblox was stock-still overnight. That was a really unflinching big bet that we placed, and now it’s starting to pay dividends.

Our team was presented with several technical challenges to overcome and some big decisions to make. Seeing my team use our values as a decision-making algorithm to pinpoint our path forward and set them up for success was a unconfined moment for me. I’ll unchangingly be so proud of our team and what they accomplished.

Inspired by Claus’ story? He and his team are hiring! Visit our careers site to explore unshut roles on the User Group.

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