#cookieselfie with my friend Matt at PyTennessee 2019

Leading with Spoons picks up where Coding with Knives left off, telling the story of a developer turned leader of developers.

I started Coding with Knives in 2014 to share my story of learning to code, and it helped me launch my career as a developer. In 2017 I became Director of Engineering at Juice Analytics, where I led the platform engineering and ops teams. At Juice, Verica, and beyond, I’ve put what I learned as an engineer to work building high-performing teams with trust, transparent processes, creative freedom and ownership, and a strong sense of purpose. My goal is to enable, empower, and inspire developers to do the best work of their lives.

Why spoons?

First, the obvious: to keep the theme going. (Coding with Knives… Leading with Spoons…). It’s also a reference to my roots: I’m a career-changer chef turned developer who got her start at tech conferences talking about learning to code with cooking metaphors. And as much as I love a knife, my secret favorite utensil is the gentle, versatile spoon. Spoons deliver ice cream, corn chowder, crème brûlée and curry in equal measure. And besides, you can’t eat off a knife. (Except when you do, and you look terrifying.)

If you’re familiar with Spoon Theory–the disability metaphor that describes how chronic illness and disability depletes energy available for daily life and work–you’ll absolutely hear resonance here. Many of us in tech have already lost a number of spoons before we even sit down at the keyboard. As an engineering manager, my goal is to help my engineers retain spoons at work by offering practical people-focused leadership, guidance, and support. At Leading with Spoons, I’ll help you learn how.

Welcome to Leading with Spoons. I’m glad you’re here.


Adrienne is an experienced engineering leader and director of distributed development and ops teams, and a keynote speaker beloved for her ability to inspire and motivate. Her recent work experience includes directing engineering and ops at an early-stage startup and before that, at a mature SaaS company. Open-source and community work is important to Adrienne. She is a mentor at The Collab Lab, where she guides cohorts of early career developers in the role of tech lead and product owner as they work remotely to collaboratively build a real-world software project. She is also the author of the Imposter Syndrome Disclaimer, a framework for open-source Contributing Guides which has been adopted by projects as diverse as Netflix’s Cloud Security Team, the BeeWare Project, and MetPy. She also served as Director of Advancement of the Django Software Foundation, the non-profit behind Django. Adrienne is an O’Reilly contributor and technical editor of Head First Python 2nd Edition. Adrienne is based in Music City: Nashville, Tennessee.

Learn more about my speaking experience and availability here.

headshot of Adrienne Lowe author of this blog

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