Chris led the development of JAWS, the world’s most popular screen reader, for six years as Vice President of Software Engineering at Freedom Scientific. Since leaving FS in 2004, Chris has been working as an accessibility research contractor, has written the always interesting and often controversial ChrisHofstader.Com blog and has become a noted activist on issues regarding social justice and people with disabilities.
“I’m often asked the question, where can we find software engineers with disabilities?” says Hofstader, “With 3 Mouse Technology, I now have an answer to give when I get such inquiries and it’s a simple answer, Right Here!”
Along with Mike Calvo, Chris is the founder of 3 Mouse Technology. “I didn’t want to start yet another standard accessibility contract shop,” says Hofstader, “I didn’t want to be anyone’s boss and, as I met more and more blind programmers interested in forming such a business, I wanted them as partners and not just talent to be exploited in the marketplace. I felt strongly that each member should own his or her own labor and, more than anything, I wanted each individual in the company to have full access to all of the information about the internal workings of the business so they could make their own financial analysis of potential projects.”
In September, Mike Calvo called Chris on the telephone and they had a chat. That conversation led to what would ultimately be called 3 Mouse Technology.
Chris Hofstader, at age 11, wrote his first computer program in 1971 at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. After high school, he worked full time on Wall Street while working toward his degree at NYU. In 1983, Hofstader moved from New York to the Boston area where he changed his focus from mainframe systems performing large scale tasks for the banking industry to assembly language programming on PC class systems. Hofstader lost the last of his vision to retinitis pigmentosa around 1997, the same year he joined Henter-Joyce (now Freedom Scientific). He led the development of all FS software products during what is recognized universally as the most innovative and productive time for their popular products. Chris was semi-retired when he got the call from Calvo and he will be working on the sales side of 3MT into the future.