ROBLOX is part virtual world, part development platform and part massively multiplayer online game. David Baszucki created it 10 years ago along with his co-founder Erik Cassel, and it's gradually snowballed in popularity, particularly among kids and teenagers. The obvious comparison might be Minecraft with a twist of Second Life. Personally — in my old age — I'm reminded of how we used to mod Quake and other first-person shooters with new avatars and arenas to make the game our own. For me, searching through 3D models for the perfect avatar, adjusting the texture maps, loading new sound effects and seeing how it all came together was often more engrossing than the gameplay itself.
That spirit of creation is one of the central tenets of ROBLOX, and why it has become so popular with younger people, creating their own worlds as they learn to code. There are 15 million active users on the platform, and they have built over 22 million "experiences" or games of their own.
David is still working on it, having brought ROBLOX to most gaming platforms (all the requisites included — PC, Mac, Android and iOS), and remains busy building his virtual world. We spoke with David to learn a little about how he works.
Current Gig: CEO of ROBLOX One word that best describes how you work: Intuitively Current mobile device: iPhone 6+, iPhone 4s (secondary), Samsung Android (tertiary). This might be overkill, but I like to test out experiences on different interfaces so that I have a deeper appreciation for what our users experience. Current computer: Dell Ultrabook
What apps, software or tools can't you live without?
There are several tools that have become an integral part of my workflow, most of which help keep me productive. The few that come to mind are Simplenote, Google Docs, Google Chrome, Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. I've really become dependent on Simplenote as I keep a Simplenote for most key people in my life and all of my professional and personal tasks.
What's your workspace setup like?
At the office, I have an electric sitting/standing desk (everyone working at ROBLOX gets one) with one large monitor, a docking station, headphones and I'm surrounded by shelves of many, many toys I've collected over the years. Since I'm 6'5", it's often times more comfortable for me to stand and I find that I think more creatively.
What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
There's a simple trick to avoid creating a backlog of to-dos whenever possible, and it applies everywhere in life; it's called "one-touch". It goes like this... take an email, for example. Instead of reading it and deciding what to do with it later, I touch it once and handle it immediately. It's a very efficient, streamlined system that allows me to finish tasks as they come rather than saving them for another time.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
Simplenote is invaluable for keeping me organised. I always run three different Simplenotes (To-Dos, People, Product), and they're all fully replicated across my phone, tablet and computer.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget or tool can't you live without and why?
I can't live without my mountain bike. I love going off-road biking; it's fun, it's peaceful, and it helps me to unwind and think clearly. Not to mention it's a great form of exercise too.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What's your secret?
I like to think that I inspire and encourage others to think outside the box. Given the lessons that I've learned about the power of user generated content, I've learned to trust non-traditional thinking. I'm also pretty good on a mountain bike.
What do you listen to while you work? Got a favourite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence?
I tend to work well whenever I'm listening to pure ambient noise, like those you'd find on the Atmospheric Calm playlist on Spotify. It's my go-to playlist if I need a quick boost in creativity or productivity.
What are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading through Platform Revolution by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Geoffrey G. Parker and Marshall W. Van Alstyne. It's a fascinating read for all business leaders, and it provides a great perspective into the power of platforms. There are so many parallels to what I've learned over 10 years of building the ROBLOX platform that I relate to the book quite strongly.
How do you recharge?
Spending time with my family, sleeping, exercising or having some quiet-time.
What's your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
I'm a natural early-riser. No alarm clocks needed! Mornings are a great time for me to get some exercise in and check emails before heading into the office. Some of my greatest moments of clarity are when I'm at a Crossfit session.
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Walt Disney. I've always respected him for his vision, creativity and determination.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Here's one great piece of advice I've heard over the years: If you can find passion in what you're really good at, you'll always be happy.
Is there anything else you'd like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
I used to have a talk radio show, and I was the captain of my high school TV quiz team.
We've asked heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.