As an engineer on our Visual Technologies team, John led the development of View in My Room 3D for Tile, a tool available in the Houzz app (learn more about it here). When he’s not working, you’ll find John out shopping, modeling and participating in local LGBTQ community events.
How would you describe what you do at Houzz? I’m a domain expert in computer graphics and computer visualization, so I support the team in bringing cutting edge 3D technology to our platform.
Have you always been interested in computer graphics? Actually, I didn’t know much about computer science when I started college. I originally considered studying music or philosophy, but math and computer science seemed like a good fit. I find the theory behind how a program works to be fascinating.
What brought you to Houzz? Studying computer graphics, I thought I could only work in entertainment, but one of my graduate advisors pushed me to understand how to use computer graphics to empower people with new visualization tools and technology. In grad school, I focused on working with emerging technology to enhance architectural design. During this time, I was introduced to the potential of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and began to think about how these two technologies would impact everyday users.
My mom is a Houzz user and I thought there might be an opportunity to bring AR into the housing industry. She sent me a job posting for a position that seemed like a good match, so I decided to apply.
What project are you most proud of? The View in My Room 3D for Tile is a real point of pride for me. I conceptualized the product and worked with the team to prototype it from beginning to end. With tile, it’s extremely difficult to imagine what an entire space would look like from placing a physical tile sample on the ground. With the View in My Room 3D for Tile feature, you can really understand how the change would affect the space. Previously, View in My Room 3D was focused on furniture pieces, so it’s exciting to provide experiences that diversify the types of products we can showcase in AR.
Did you work with other teams at Houzz on this project? Last year, the mobile team developed a room measurement tool for the Ivy app, so we were able to share learnings around that technology to integrate it within this tool. This allowed us to accurately identify how much tile would be needed to cover a room, and make a recommendation to the user on the appropriate amount of material to order. We also worked with the design team on the UX and user flow.
What do you enjoy most about Houzz? I like my team a lot. We’re diverse in that half of the team are women and we are very inclusive of LGTBQ members. That diverse background is important and we work well together. While we’re continuing to grow and expand, our team is just as capable as other companies with 100+ team members. We’re able to bring products to market quickly that are popular with the community.
Like many experimental teams within a company, there are sometimes projects that don’t necessarily make it to market. I’m happy that Houzz is open to letting us experiment and learn from those projects to drive product innovation.
What is your most productive time of day? I’m a morning person, so I get in at 8:00 a.m. and get to work before my teammates start to arrive.
Anything else you’d like to share? I want to thank everyone at Houzz for letting me be weird.