Spotlight: Adam Leonard

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Job Title: Engineer, Team Lead

Time at Experience: 4 years

What do you personally like about the work that you do as a software engineer?

It’s very creative. In many cases it may not appear to be or it may not sound creative but it is. It’s kind of like magic in that you can basically tell a computer a series of incantations and it will just do stuff for you. And not just stuff in very specific, niche type of work. I mean if you have enough time you can make it do almost anything. The ability to modify the world, even if it’s a digital world, purely from your thoughts, is really cool.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from your time at Experience?

The most helpful thing I’ve learned is how difficult it is to do my boss’s job. I have managed people for a little while and I think that aspect of the job — dealing with multiple people whose work you understand but maybe don’t have direct oversight of, the difficulties of coordinating competing priorities, interfacing with other parts of the business who have less insight into what you’re working on, being that conduit, and in many cases that shield — is a really tough thing to do. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from a career perspective just by having a really good boss who has been able to walk a fine line and support his team and represent us to the larger company. We have Rick, our SVP of Engineering and Security, to thank for a lot of our success as a development organization. His influence is clearly felt and incredibly important to the overall mission.

I feel like I've learned a lot from a career perspective just by having a really good boss who has been able to walk a fine line and support his team and represent us to the larger company. We have Rick, our SVP of Engineering and Security, to thank for a lot of our success as a development organization. His influence is clearly felt and incredibly important to the overall mission.

What’s interesting about working with our tech stack?

We’re at an interesting inflection point on the tech side at Experience. We’re rewriting our front end from a Backbone-based design that dates back to our earliest days to a new approach based on React. At the same time, we’re looking at ways we can decompose our back end services so that we can better scale to the bursts of traffic that are inherent to working in the live event space. I think we’re going to have the opportunity to solve some fascinating (and tricky!) problems in the upcoming year, so I’m excited to get to work.

Tell me the favorite thing about the team you work with on a day to day basis.

Probably the best thing is the high level of trust that we have. It’s something we really look for when we’re hiring. We ask, “can we count on this person to do their work, to get the job done, to figure out whatever they need to figure out, to push back on product requirements when they need to, and to come to a mentor / senior developer if they need guidance?” We really give people a lot of autonomy and in return we expect them to be able to manage themselves.

We really give people a lot of autonomy and in return we expect them to be able to manage themselves.

Can you talk a little bit about what the developer community is like in Atlanta?

Atlanta is a more nascent technology community. We’ve done a lot of things to improve the perception of Atlanta as a technology hub. I think it’s definitely a clear leader in the Southeast, but we don’t have nearly that same level of omni-presence that exists in some of the other tech hubs. We’re a little more fragmented in our individual developer communities. There’s been a spike in the last two or three years of people learning to code, but I think we still have a long way to go before Atlanta is perceived as a technology hub.

Why do you love Atlanta? What keeps you here?

One of the cool things about Atlanta is that it can be very urban but also wooded. You know if you’re on the midtown mile you’re surrounded by skyscrapers but you go just a short distance away and you’re in Inman Park and you’re surrounded by trees, parks, these beautiful old houses. I mean it’s an entirely different feel. And that variability from neighborhood to neighborhood is really cool.

What’s your go to restaurant?

Over the last 10 or 15 years we’ve had some great chefs – James Beard nominees and Top Chef winners. If I’m trying to find a place to go on a random weeknight, I’d say the Porter because I can walk there. The beer selection is fantastic, the food is really good, and it’s a great place to hang out. For a date night, I really love Better Half. It’s super inventive, super fun. A great combination of high quality, interesting food and also a really relaxed environment to be in.

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