Hey,

I am Morgan Lopes. My days are spent building businesses where I can color outside the lines of entrepreneurship, technology, and social impact.

If you're looking for thoughts and experiences within business ownershipentrepreneurshipleadershipparenthoodsoftware engineeringstartups, and things of the like, welcome.

Godspeed.


Recent Posts

CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Bringing Humanity Back to Email

A more productive and engaged version of you. While exchanging emails with Adam Walker, a fellow Atlanta entrepreneur and friend, I noticed a message on the footer of his emails. Adam’s message circa 2017: Having batched email communication for years, this seemed like a thoughtful solution to the fervent-mailers who expect a reply within hours or minutes. If nothing else, it properly sets expectations and outlines personal rules of engagement. As I began crafting my own closing postscript, it seemed appropriate to touch on another topic I’m passionate about. While productivity is certainly a driving factor in batching my emails, amplifying the value of real human interactions surpasses mere efficiency. Limiting exposure to email allows me to be more present in daily life. What kind of message does it send to someone across the table, in person, when you keep checking your phone? How about the disruptive nature of constant…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Expectations about Introductions

There are few things I value more than well placed introductions among friends and community members. For years, I’ve run a business were referrals were our lifeblood, so the importance stands out. Intros expand our networks and foster unique moments of serendipity. Despite their value, I want to make sure to honor the time of those I connect. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that I have or could make an intro that includes you. The following outlines my expectations: BCC Me Please I don’t need to be dialed in for the entire conversation. Adding me as a BCC on the first reply gives me confidence that the intro was received and my handoff is complete. This snippet is common among many of my friends and appreciated on many levels:”Thanks Morgan, moving you to BCC to spare your inbox.” Followup and Followthrough If you meet with someone, followup. If you…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

12 Questions Team Members Ask Themselves

Team members are consistently asking themselves a few, simple questions about their work. They may verbalize them, but other times it’s an unspoken script in their head. I recently came across a helpful list (from ‘Predictable Revenue’ by Aaron Ross). These resonate with feedback I’ve heard from team members and problems we seen flare up. Do I know what is expected of me at work?Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for the work?Does my supervisor or somebody at work seem to care about me as a person?Is there someone at work who encourages my development?At work, do you my opinions seem to count?Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?Are…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Improving the Inbox

Managing the Email Inbox is like training a lion. There are clearly people who have mastered it, but even they are never more than 1 misstep away from getting their arm bitten off. When email feels under control, no one is more than a long weekend or extended vacation away from complete chaos. Here are some of my habits to improve the email inbox: Add an FYI to the email signature. It describes how I handle email and why. Here is an example from my New Story signature: Filter purchase receipts and cal invites to separate folders. This removes 100+ emails from view per week. They’re out of site, but still in arms reach.Funnel all email accounts into a single source. I use Polymail for this. A single source for emails allows them to be batched and executed once or twice each day.Set followup reminders. Followup reminders put emails back…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

2019 Reading List (70 Books)

Training for an ultramarathon, I’ve had almost 200 extra hours to listen on audible in 2019. The time increase led to nearly doubled the size of my 2018 Reading List. This year, I made a deliberate attempt to focus on diversity and inclusion. Growing up with tremendous privilege soaked deep into my lived experience. These wins, compounded by a culture plagued by institutional racism, have produced blindspots that will not go away on their own. As white male business owner, I’m a member of an exclusive class. It’s useless to apologize for my advantages, but I can leverage what I have to improve the lives of others. If we have any hope of a better world, it must start from within. “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – MLK I also experimented with more fiction. It didn’t have…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Meeting Location Preferences

In planning to off board key tasks to an executive assistant, I pushed myself to articulate my preferences. Along with calendar preferences, these are my meeting location preferences around Atlanta. Factors I consider when settling on an ideal meeting location: Timing. The venue should fit the duration of the meeting. For example, coffee shops are great for 30 minute meetings. Restaurants are better for longer meetings. In both instances, the staff and environment is accustomed to cadence and there is rarely a conflict of ‘overstaying your welcome’.Accessibility. It needs to be easy to get in and out of the building, while also giving me access to a variety of driving directions. For example, I prefer not to take meets in Buckhead but if need to, Atlanta Tech Village is right off 400. There is also a parking deck with two entrances and I can choose to cut through to the…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Calendar Preferences

The process of preparing for a virtual assistant has been almost as helpful as onboarding the actual person. I spent time documenting personal preferences around scheduling and calendar events. combine car rides with phone callseach day should has at least one 2 hour block to get work done. It should be represented on the calendargroup meetings based on geography. For example, if I’m on the east side of the city ideally other east-side meetings occur on that day, and around that timegroup meetings based on time. For example, 3 consecutive 30 minute meetings are better than 3 meetings with 15/30 minute gap betweenprioritize sales meetings. Example, a 30 minute coffee with a sales prospect should take priority over a meeting from a cold, inbound requestprovide a heads up for geographic anomalies. For example, if I need to be in Johns Creek at 9am (which is rare) drawing my attention a…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Becoming Invaluable

Founding a business can become all consuming. Early on, entrepreneurship is marked by packed schedules, late nights, and long weeks. All the time spent isn’t created equal. We can get swept into putting out fires or responding to pressing needs, but it’s worth slowing down to figure out where time is best spent. Understanding Value Imagine I offered you a Macbook Pro, one of apples leading computers, for just $1,000. Assuming it’s not stolen, that is a great deal. A $2,000 dollar computer for half off. What a bargain. Now, imagine I offered you that same computer for $10,000. Would you buy it? Of course not, that’s absurd. I just mentioned that it is worth $2,000. To buy a $2,000 computer for $10,000 would be spending 5x more than it’s worth. Ultimately, this is a lesson of Cost vs. Value. Simple Exercise For 2 minutes, write down the tasks you…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Where to Start with Business Processes

Identifying Opportunity to Improve Avoiding the urge to merely work through a compiled list of processes, it’s worthwhile to seek out the most impactful opportunities. Within a business, the highest impact comes from complexity, frequency, delivering value, and costs. Complex In the late 1930s, airlines began including a preflight checklist for pilots and crew. With hundreds of potential pitfalls, the checklist simplifies the mental load before each flight. This allows flight crews to save time, turnaround flights faster, and ultimately provide a safer experience for passengers. Every business has areas that would benefit from simplicity. In our engineering services, we have a series of tasks an engineer must complete before writing the first line of code. This pre-programming checklist is continually refined but it reduces errors, wasted effort, and confusion. Frequent When a fast food franchise is producing thousands of hamburgers a day, an extra few seconds on each burger…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Business Processes Checklist

The following list includes the foundational systems and processes consistent across almost any organization. When an organization feels haphazard or chaotic, it’s likely the team is feeling the weight of unclear expectations. Each process can be further extrapolated to one or more roles within the organization. Each roles should also include an understanding of who participates, who is accountable for completion, and who has final approval. It’s unlikely that a team could sit down and map out all these processes at once. Their creation should be prioritized based on the highest need within the organization. * Denotes processes that will likely vary for given teams or departments Team Members [ ] Team Member Schedules [ ] Team Member Milestones [ ] Team Member Culture Improvement [ ] Team Member Professional Improvement [ ] Team Member Feedback [ ] Team Member Prospecting* [ ] Team Member Hiring* [ ] Team Member…

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CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

The Comprehensive Guide to App Feature Selection : Questions Only

A Simplified Look This excerpt pulls the actual questions from The Comprehensive Guide to App Feature Selection. All context and supporting descriptions have been removed. If you are a first time founder, I suggest you view the full guide. If you’re looking to work through the questions without pages of educational resources, this should serve you well. Framing Questions What’s the current status of the app? Just Dreaming. Actively Planning. Live and Iterating. What stage software are you building? Prototype. Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Full Product. Enterprise. Who is your target user? Consumers Businesses Is it downloadable from an App Store? If yes to App Store, what platforms does it support? Android Apple iOS Which mobile devices are supported? Wearable Phone Tablet Are there offline capabilities? Are there push notifications? Is there a web interface? Which devices are most common among users? Phone Tablet Desktop Are there desktop notifications? Do users sign in? How do they sign in?…

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