Ash Furrow

iOS, Design, Photography

Startup L. Jackson

This morning, I came across an article discussing the anonymous parody Twitter account named Startup L. Jackson. A funny account with pithy, on-point remarks on the state of Silicon Valley.

I’ve been aware of the account for a while, but I’ve only seen it when it gets retweeted by people I follow.


Diffused Responsibility

A few years ago, I had a colleague that attended Google I/O. This was when Google Glass was still a Big Deal, before the creepy gadget joined the fitness tracker and bluetooth headset at the bottoms of junk drawers.

My colleague asked a panel of Google engineers and product managers to describe how they juggle ethical dilemmas encountered during product development. Their answer was that Google did not have a designated ethicist, but instead relies on each individual engineer to make ethical decisions.


Depression, Graphed

A while ago, I cam across a two-part series of drawings which discussed depression (Part I & Part II). I related to a lot of the themes Allie Brosh depicted from her own struggles with depression. I got really excited when I found her book.

It’s amazing how simple drawings can relate such a broad range of feelings. Words often get in the way of communicating, especially about something as personal and subjective as depression.

Over the past few months of therapy, I’ve gained a better picture of my own depression, and I want to record these insights. Maybe someone else will find them useful or informative, but mainly this post is so I can understand myself better.


Blog Infrastructure

My blog’s current incarnation’s birthday is approaching – it’s been nearly a year since I put a fresh coat of paint on an otherwise boring-looking site. In order to design and build it, I had to master some basics of web development. After its launch, I’ve not stopped learning and improving it.

At times, I’ve gone a bit overboard, but I’ve been able to justify the time and energy because it’s been educational. My blog has been a good side project to learn new things on. It’s something I care about, but updates to it are almost certainly never urgent. It’s a low-risk thing I’m motivated to work on.


Now, and Forever?

I get regular email from recruiters looking to make a commission from finding me a new job. Unfortunately for them, I’m really happy at Artsy. Whomp whomp.

Every now and then, I get reached out to with a request to hop on a quick phone call and “connect” that’s so silly, I’ll share it with a few friends.

Yesterday, I got this.


More Drawing

A few weeks ago, I blogged about drawing and how it had never been something I thought I could do, but in fact it is. Since then, I’ve been making time nearly every day to draw or sketch something. I’ve been following a few tutorials from the internet, and have now got a book. My technique seems to be improving, but more importantly, I’m having a tonne of fun.


Canadian Survival Guide for Manhattan

I am a Canadian, living undercover in New York for the past six months. Having successfully avoided detection by the New Yorkers, I have some advice for other Canadians hoping to survive Manhattan.


The Technical/Business Dichotomy

It’s a common trope in the software development world that non-technical people often dictate technical decisions which they are unqualified to make, with hilariously awful results. Programmers recount stories of their own experiences in this situation, and these stories become “I told you so” adages.

And even though reasonable programmers admit that the business needs to have input on technical decisions, we still feel like we are the best gatekeepers of business' influence. After all, we are the programmers.



I’ve never been able to draw. When I was a kid, I would try but my drawings look terrible – nothing at all what I was trying to create. In middle school, I remember periodically checking a book out from the library titled “How to Draw Superheroes”, but I gave up overtime. I just. Couldn’t. Draw.

So I never tried again.


Company Values

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the ultimate reason I decided to leave 500px was the lack of company values. Decisions were being made based only on what was convenient at the time – never consistently and never using the same thought-process. As an employee, it was chaotic and fostered a hostile work environment.

When I was interviewing at Teehan+Lax, Jon Lax handed me a booklet he had designed which defined the company’s values. It was important enough to him as a leader, and to his company, that they have a canonical source of the company’s values. These values defined a framework through which decisions can be made. Consistently.