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UNBeknownst Episode 14: From Artsy to Shopify, Ash Furrow on compassionate software development and separating yourself from your work

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Mar 3, 2022

Category: UNB Fredericton , Computer Science , Podcast , Young Alumni , Inspiring Stories


Ash Furrow (BCS’09) is a compassionate software developer from the small town of Woodstock, New Brunswick. He started building iPhone apps in 2009 while still a computer science student at UNB, which launched his career as a mobile software developer. After graduating, Ash and his partner moved to Toronto, then Amsterdam, and then New York, where he joined Artsy as it was just beginning to grow into the world’s largest online marketplace for art. He finally moved home to New Brunswick in 2020 and is now working at Shopify. Ash has authored a number of books, built many apps, spoken at conferences around the world, and is a prolific contributor to open-source software. On his blog, he writes about programming, team leadership, mental health, and his explorations of the humanities.

In this episode:  

  • How Ash’s UNB experience helped launch his career and led to developing his own apps
  • The lessons he learned through early explorations of building apps during the rise of the smartphone
  • Ash’s approach to compassionate software development and his motivation for building a psychologically safe work environment
  • How his career with Artsy inspired his work with open-source software and building online communities of contributors
  • The challenges of moving to New York and introducing the idea of e-commerce to a market that had previously resisted the internet
  • Helping people gain new perspectives and grow as a community through open-source software
  • Ash’s advice for coders and developers to separate themselves from their work
  • The transition of moving back to New Brunswick to work for Shopify, and shifting to a beginner’s mindset

Where to listen: 

Links and resources:  

Ash’s LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashfurrow/ 

Ash’s blog: https://ashfurrow.com/blog/

Discover Ash’s published books: https://ashfurrow.com/books

UNB Fredericton Faculty of Computer Science:  https://www.unb.ca/fredericton/cs/

Learn more about Artsy: https://www.artsy.net/

Learn more about Shopify: https://www.shopify.ca/

Thanks to:  

Our alumni host, Ian Smith

Music by alumni artist, Beats of Burden 

Our alumni Affinity Partners, TD Insurance, Manulife, and MBNA Mastercard 

 
 
To listen to UNBeknownst and for more info on the podcast, the hosts and how to subscribe to new episode alerts, visit ourwebsite