The Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and Palo Alto are well-known for one thing: the thriving tech startup scene. There’s nearly a startup around every corner that’s filled with enthusiastic, young people trying to solve the impossible. Through creative team collaborations, hard work, and lots of optimism, these ambitious millennials take on hard problems head-on in order to make a substantial impact on our world. That is, doing all of that with a side of beerio kart here and there and some yoga in between. The startup culture feels more like college than actual work since people really love what they do. Although not every tech startup is able to flourish in the fast-paced, constantly-changing environment, Houzz has been on the forefront and on the Top 50 Disruptive companies list for the past years with its home renovation platform.
It All Started with a…
Home remodeling project. The Israeli couple, Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen were trying to revamp their home in Palo Alto in 2009. However, after flipping through piles of magazines, calling up many home contractors, and going shopping for the right furniture, the whole process ended up to be a nightmare to create their dream home. Then, Cohen got a little community of 20 local homeowners, mostly his friends, to help network and create a system of connecting homeowners to home professionals and vice versa. The whole purpose was to create a system to make home remodeling easier and more enjoyable for Tatarko and Cohen as well as for anyone else doing home improvements. After a few months passed, the network grew organically throughout the Bay Area by word-of-mouth to the extent that it turned into a business before Tatarko and Cohen knew it. With all the time and effort devoted to launching Houzz, it wasn’t until 6 years later in 2015 when the CEOs of Houzz finished remodeling their home.
Life at Houzz
What really separates Houzz from the other tech startups in culture is its focus on core values, its passion for home design and its sense of community in the workplace. First, the founders value being focused on creating the best product it can for its users. Adi Tatarko explains that Houzz wants to make a platform that people love to use and finding value from it. Houzz listens to the community to and adapts the platform to what they want. For instance, people run into the problem of seeing a product they liked in a picture but have no idea where to purchase that product. Houzz solves that problem with the visual match tool that enables users to click on the desired product and the app will show a list of items similar to that one, available for purchase. Houzz always puts its product as the number one priority and makes everything in-house because the people there believe it’s the best way to focus on the user’s experience. Houzz is not about chasing money and worrying about whether or not it will get funding from investors because if the product is great, then the necessary funding will follow. Therefore, the Houzz platform is meant to break the barriers between people, great design, great service providers, and the process of creating better homes for a better lifestyle.
–Alon Cohen, President and Co-Founder
“When we started hiring engineers and designers to Houzz, I wanted them to feel like they’re empowered to do things from beginning to end”
Besides focus, everyone at Houzz is very invested and passionate about what they do. After all, the developers or “Houzzers” do renovate their homes too so they’re motivated to build a product that they would enjoy using. The work culture is very entrepreneurial and inspiring. The users’ tastes and demands change very frequently so the engineering team has to step up and adapt to the user’s requests. Change is good at Houzz; there’s no set routine or procedure that Houzz sticks to because the environment and technology shifts quickly so challenges arise all the time. Therefore, the team is filled with creative, problem-solving people who love innovating a new solution to satisfy the ever-changing world we live in now. The people at Houzz are encouraged to fearlessly explore new ideas to fabricate something innovative and revolutionary. In fact, they aren’t discouraged by failure either because it’s a learning experience. The company is small enough that one can pick right back up and try again without getting permission from some long, bureaucratic process. This gives them the opportunity and freedom to try out new ideas to enhance the Houzz platform. It’s these kinds of endeavors that make the Houzzers’ work feel meaningful and impactful.
We Build Things Together and Create Things Together
Lastly, Houzz is one big family. It’s founded and run by a married couple who makes working at Houzz feel like being at home. For instance, the office spaces across its 12 locations around the world are so aesthetically pleasing (as expected from a home improvement platform) and they don’t look like your typical office spaces. These offices are not only beautiful but filled with great group spaces to brainstorm and innovate the newest design for Houzz. In addition, each location has something fun and extracurricular for a quick break.
Gallery and Blogs of Houzz Offices
However, the best part working at Houzz is the people, according to its interns, engineers, designers, and everyone else. It’s easy to collaborate with one another by asking the other person and grabbing a room to start playing around with an idea for a project. They are all very eager, encouraging, inquisitive, and happy to provide feedback and suggestions. It’s an intellectually stimulating environment with everyone assisting each other whenever needed. Also people enjoy each other’s company, whether it’s working together to optimize the 3D virtual reality function when shopping for products on Houzz or grabbing lunch in downtown Palo Alto. Speaking of lunches, the company also promotes a lot of team bonding like holding fun work events. Food trucks, festivals, retreats, and soirees are some events that Houzz holds to help foster the culture there. The founders and the Houzzers all look out and care for each other like family because everyone is passionate to create the best home design experience possible.
Lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about the Houzz’s culture, check out its blogs and other fun stuff here!