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Ashley Firth

Front-end Developer / Author / Manager / Speaker

Work

Octopus Energy (December 2015 - Present)

I built and lead the Front-end department at Octopus Energy, crafting sites and internal tools, building new products and campaigns, and expanding into other countries. Our aim is to combat climate change, use technology to build a better standard of energy supplier, and make renewable energy more affordable for everyone. In May 2020, Octopus Energy became the 15th UK tech “unicorn” after achieving a valuation of over £1 billion. A huge passion of mine at Octopus is web accessibility; ensuring we have a usable, enjoyable experience for everyone regardless of their disability or access needs. If you’re interested, I've written a book about it, which you can learn more about here.

Stack: React, Redux, GraphQL, Apollo, Styled Components, Storybook

Awards:

  • 🏆 Which? recommended energy supplier 2020, 2019, & 2018
  • 🏆 Only Which? recommended energy supplier 2019 & 2018
  • 🏆 uSwitch Supplier of the Year 2020 & 2018
  • 🏆 Energy Awards supplier of the year 2019 & 2017
  • 🏆 Employee Experience awards 2019 - Best company to work for, Diversity & Inclusion award
  • 🏆 Consumer Moneyfacts Energy Supplier of the Year 2018
  • 🏆 UK Customer Experience Awards 2019 & 2018 - Best Utility
  • 🏆 UK Customer Experience Awards 2019 - Best Customer Experience
  • 🏆 DXA Awards 2018 Gold - Mobile Strategy
  • 🏆 REA Awards 2018 - Best innovation

Agile Octopus

The first tariff ever to update its prices every 30 minutes based on smart meter data, Agile Octopus is a 100% renewable Electricity tariff that offers insight into the cheapest times for customers to use energy, and 'plunge pricing' events which actually pay customers to use energy at times when demand to the grid is low and supply is high.

Awards:

  • 🏆 REA Awards 2019 - Best innovation
  • 🏆 Energy Awards 2019 - Innovation of the year
  • 🏆 Business Green Leaders Awards 2019 - Digital project of the year

Octopus Tracker

I created the front-end as we created and launched the industry’s first tracker tariff, where the price changes every day in line with the wholesale cost of energy. It provides customers with a detailed cost breakdown, including the margin made by the company. The front-end build used HTML5 canvas for handling the visualisation of data.

Awards:

  • 🏆 UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 - Utilities

Tesla Energy Plan

This is Tesla's first ever partnership - an energy tariff designed exclusively for Tesla owners to make the most of the potential of solar and Tesla Powerwall to reduce user's bills by up to 75%. They can power their home and drive with 100% renewable energy.

Energy Whitelabels

My team and I have spent a long time creating beautiful, brand-agnostic code, so that we can build and maintain multiple instances of branded energy websites using the same core components. In the past year, our code has launched M&S Energy, London Power in partnership with the Mayor of London, and E.ON Next.

Arsenal FC

Octopus Energy is Arsenal Football Club’s official energy partner, and I have been involved in all initiatives to move the club, and their fans, to use renewable energy. Arsenal has a custom onboarding journey, tariff, and various campaigns to drive fan engagement. This partnership has also allowed me to be completely schooled on The Emirates pitch by Robert Pires.

Awards:

  • 🏅 BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 - Sustainability initiative of the year (shortlisted)

Writing

Book — Practical Web Inclusion and Accessibility

My first book, published with Apress, is about web accessibility. This book will guide you through a broad range of access needs, the barriers users often face, and provide practical advice on how your sites can help rather than hinder. Going beyond advice tailored solely for developers, this book offers potential improvements for designers, developers, user experience professionals, QA and testers, so that everyone involved in building a website can benefit.

Feature — Accessibility: a web for all

Web Designer Magazine (Issue 272)

A feature for a print magazine talking about designing and developing for general web accessibility, and helping those with specific disabilities.

Personal blog

A more personal space for my writing. Typically includes thoughts on management, accessibility, productivity, and how me, my team, and Octopus Energy handle things.

eConsultancy - A day in the life of...Head of Frontend Development at Octopus Energy

An interview with eConsultancy.com about my role at Octopus Energy, what I love about it, what sucks, and advice for people wanting to get into development.

Speaking

Credit Summit 2020

I will be speaking in October at Credit Strategy's 'Credit Summit' about Digitalising the customer journey experience. Here I'll discuss how technology can be used to empower the customer, the importance of self-serve and, of course, accessibility. You can get 10% off a ticket using the code FIRTH20.

Utility Week Live 2020

I will be speaking on the new date of 10th November as part of the ‘Creating inclusive services’ seminar session. You can register for a free pass here.

Festival of Marketing 2018

I spoke at the Festival of Marketing in October 2018. My talk was about accessibility on the web and beyond, the challenges we’ve faced at Octopus Energy trying to make a truly inclusive experience for everyone, and why it’s so important that everybody focuses on this in today’s society.

Currently accepting speaking invitations

Just get in touch with the contact information above!

Currently working on:

Building my team at Octopus

I'm looking for passionate Front-end developers to join my team at Octopus Energy. If you're interested, then drop me an email with your CV to ashley[at]octopus[dot]energy

Side projects

Premier Battles

In the spare time, I run the web team for the UK's first team-based battle league - Premier Battles. This project involved creating the site, store, and a VOD network.

Past work

Tangent Snowball (November 2013 - December 2015)

I worked on digital marketing and CRM projects focusing on creating strong, adaptive sites that can handle high traffic for their clients. I was promoted to head of Front-end development after just under two years, and became responsible for recruiting, mentoring, and organising and delegating work. Through this role I also had the opportunity to be a judge in the 2015 DMA awards for ‘best use of technology’.

Clients: SAP, The Labour Party, Walkers, Carlsberg.

Fishrod Interactive (June 2012 - November 2013)

I worked at Fishrod Interactive after graduating, on projects abroad and all over the U.K. I helped to create interactive experiences and installations. My main roles were creating responsive web and mobile apps to handle the content created from these installations, and liaising with clients throughout projects.

Clients: WWE, Sky, Budweiser, Metro

Sky at the O2

I helped create a permanent installation for Sky at the O2 arena which has been in place since 2013. Visitors are able to use photo booths that can preview green screening at 60fps, and can record themselves reading the news in a recreation of the Sky News studio. I was responsible for creating a teleprompter in websockets that could be controlled via an iPad. I also worked on projects at Sky backstage in the O2, including a live photo wall and a themed karaoke booth.

Education

BA (Hons) First class honours, Interactive Media Production

I attended Bournemouth University, graduating in 2012. I was also a peer-assisted learning coordinator, student ambassador, and student radio presenter - receiving the student development award.