Clockwise just hired Software Engineer Dominic Mazzoni to join our Eng Foundation team and we’re super excited. Dominic brings experience building transformative products to the role, along with a passion for accessibility. I sat down with Dominic to talk about where his career took him before coming to Clockwise, what drew him to Clockwise, and what he likes doing when he’s off the clock.
The journey to Clockwise
While pursuing a PhD at Carnegie Mellon, Dominic Co-founded Audacity. This is where Dominic first encountered accessibility in a big way through an email from a user who was totally blind. The product was usable, but there were a few things it couldn’t do. “I’d never interacted with a totally blind user,” Dominic said. “I felt motivated to fix the issues and make it work better for him. Eventually a whole community of blind audacity users arose and many became contributors to the project.”
Dominic led Audacity for its first 10 years. “It's something I'm still very proud of,” Dominic told me. “It’s been a big, defining part of my career.”
After getting his MS, Dominic decided to go to work full-time rather than continue his PhD research. “I discovered I liked building software more. I still love research, but I got really passionate about building software.”
His first stop out of school was the Jet Propulsion Lab. There, he worked in applied machine learning for science data analysis. His next role was at Google, where he spent 15 years. He spent his first few years working on Adsense.
But his passion for accessibility turned up a notch when he met his wife Ronit. “I was fascinated in a geeky way with the tech she used,” Dominic said. Blind since birth, Ronit relies on tech like refreshable braille displays. “Over time, I began to appreciate the numerous tech challenges in accessibility, and the fact that there aren’t enough people working on accessibility tech. Too many things in the world are inaccessible. There’s so much engineering work to be done.”
Dominic transferred to Google’s Chrome team in its early days to start working on accessibility. “At first it was a ton of work getting Chrome to work at all for users with disabilities,” Dominic said. His task involved making the core Chrome experience accessible for everyone. Besides making the browser accessible, his work included increasing the number of users able to use Chrome OS, including people with motor impairments and vision impairments, in addition to making it easier for web developers to make web experiences accessible to everyone.
Dominic said two things were equally compelling when deciding to join Clockwise: The product and the people. “It’s a really great group of people,” Dominic said. “Inclusivity is a big part of it. They’re not just looking to hire a bunch of faceless people to fill roles. They’re looking to build a team. Since joining, people have been so welcoming. It's a great company culture. Everyone can bring their whole selves to work.”
The product was meaningful to Dominic as well. “At Google, my calendar was a mess. I didn’t feel in control of my calendar. I didn’t know the word ‘Focus Time.’ It wasn’t part of my team’s culture.”
This led to feelings of frustration. “When I discovered Clockwise, it felt like something I needed,” Dominic said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to take control of my own time and help millions of people in a similar situation having the same problem I was feeling myself.”
“As I was interviewing at other companies, I did an exercise where I would brainstorm. If I were working at this company and had free time to work on another project what would I work on? I had tons of ideas when I envisioned working at Clockwise. There are so many opportunities in the calendar space, so many things that could be better. Clockwise in a great position to do better.”
And at Clockwise he gets to continue working on accessibility. “I learned that design and front-end teams at Clockwise already had a good understanding of accessibility and thought it was very important,” Dominic said. He’s already begun getting together with these teams. They’re finding ways to ensure accessibility is prioritized at Clockwise and have identified some early action items. “I was also super happy to see DEI was already a part of Clockwise’s culture. It’s excellent to see that at a company this size it’s already part of the tradition.”
Life outside clockwise
Outside of work Dominic spends a lot of time with his kids, aged 10, 7, 2. “I love spending time with them seeing the world through their eyes as they experience the wonders of childhood,” Dominic said.
“That takes up most of my time. I’m also an amateur musician. I play piano and compose music and jam with other people. It’s my escape and passion when I have the time.”
Interested in working with Dominic on our Engineering team? We’re currently looking for our next Front End Engineer, Back End Engineer, Senior Back End Engineer, Senior Front End Engineer, and Technical Program Manager, Information Security. If that’s not you, check out our other open positions.