Roblox’s Daniel Sturman on building great teams in the AI era | S1E2

Spotlight On

Oct 24 2023 • 38 mins

We first got to know Daniel Sturman during his time at Cloudera, and have always valued his insights on building great technical teams. Daniel was part of Accel’s original "Spotlight On" series, which debuted as a blog back in 2019. His insights on Building Great Teams were as salient then as they are now. In this episode of Spotlight On, we expand upon the subject of team building, by examining it through the lens of today's rapidly evolving AI landscape. The company name Roblox is ubiquitous among all humans under 13 and many over that. The 3D immersive platform allows users to create their own experiences, or participate in those created by others—and they’ve been building AI into the platform for years. Daniel Sturman, who is now Roblox’s CTO, believes the recent surge in AI progress has significantly enhanced trust & safety on Roblox and further democratized the platform for its creators. But challenges persist, and for many CTOs like Daniel, hiring top technical talent is a critical priority. Daniel teams up with Accel’s Talent Partner, Pete Clarke, to talk about the hiring philosophies he’s used to build exceptional teams at IBM, Google, Cloudera, and Roblox, as well as the transformative journey of Roblox’s AI development. Conversation highlights: 00:00 - Introduction to Roblox and Daniel’s background 03:21 - Where Daniel and the team at Roblox see the most immediate impact of AI, in trust & safety and creator-assistance 12:45 - Advice for talent acquisition during today’s AI era where technical talent is extremely competitive 17:17 - How Roblox’s Generative AI capabilities like Material Creator and Code Assist empower creators on the platform 27:43 - Daniel’s advice for building great teams that can advance and adapt to new AI technologies 37:00 - Advice from Daniel for making the best Barbecue Sauce, based on a recipe from Franklin Barbecue with a few special touches including a base of bourbon, reduced sugar, heightened spiciness, and his secret ingredient: a dash of fish sauce! Host: Peter Clarke, Talent Partner at Accel Featuring: Daniel Sturman, CTO at Roblox Learn more at