Mindy focuses on building the user interface for Houzzers as a front-end engineer, from enhancing the photo browsing experience, to redesigning user profiles, to creating a home for Houzz TV. When she’s not at work, she can often be found hiking with her husband and her Shiba Inu, Maui, or tackling a remodeling project at home.
What sparked your interest in computer science? I was really into art when I was growing up in Taiwan – I’ve always enjoyed making things, from sewing to craft projects. When I was in a high school computer class, I learned Flash to make simple animated games. That’s when I discovered how fun it is to create something using a computer. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to study computer science in college, and then grad school. This is also why I wanted to become a front-end engineer, specifically – I enjoy building things that people can see and interact with.
Why did you decide to join Houzz? In addition to computer science, I also love interior design. My husband and I were actually in the process of purchasing our home at the time – an Eichler – and thinking about how we would make it our own. Working at Houzz has given me a great opportunity to put both of these interests to use.
What’s your favorite part of working at Houzz? The people and the culture. For the first time in my career I feel like I work with friends, with family. People like to help and influence each other here, like a friend or a family member would. We support each other, and we learn a lot from each other every day.
We also have a lot of fun together. For instance, decorating our desks with rubber duckies is a Houzz tradition we all love.
What’s something that has surprised you about working at Houzz? We have a lot of freedom to drive our own projects at Houzz. This hasn’t changed in the four years that I’ve been a part of the team here. We’ve grown a lot as a company in that time, and it’s amazing that we’re able to maintain the same atmosphere in the office now as when there were only 30 of us. Being a flat organization, we still have the ability to work without a lot of unnecessary processes, and have the opportunity to work with a wide range of people – not just other engineers. Our day-to-day life hasn’t changed…we’re just a much bigger family now.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve worked on at Houzz? I really enjoy working on new designs that continuously evolve our website. It feels like Houzz is our home, and we’re redecorating it! One of my recent favorite projects was creating a home for Houzz TV. It’s exciting that we’re providing Houzzers with an opportunity to experience Houzz in a new way, through video.
What’s the development process like at Houzz? It’s very collaborative. Our team involves everyone from the very beginning of a project, and we’re all able to offer our ideas right from the initial iteration phase. Once we’re all happy with a solution we continue to A/B test it to make sure our community is just as pleased as we are.
When do you write your best code? In the afternoon. I like to triage any necessary fixes that come through over email first thing in the morning, so I can focus on coding in the afternoon. Our team doesn’t hold a lot of meetings, so we’re able to concentrate on getting our work done.
How have you used Houzz at home? My husband and I have taken on several renovation projects to make our home our own since we bought it four years ago. So far we’ve updated our living room, two bathrooms, and the backyard. We used Houzz to create ideabooks to gather ideas for all of these spaces, buy materials and collaborate with each other and the pros working on the projects. We’ve done this all slowly over the years. Rather than completely updating a home as soon as I move in, I prefer to live in the house for a while and see what it needs over time.
What’s the style of your home? Since it’s an Eichler, the overall design of the home is mid-century modern, though I gravitate toward a modern minimalist style. I like things with clean lines, but not too much black and white – I like a splash of color. I think I’ve seen this style described as “happy modern.”
What do you like to do when you’re not working? My hobbies keep changing! My husband and I spend a lot of time traveling and hiking with our Shibu Inu, Maui. We are also almost always in the middle of a renovation or decorating project. I also spend a lot of time on Houzz, of course, testing the products I’m working on, but also enjoying the site. This definitely inspires more projects!