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 you to me 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

Battling Indifference within Service Work

A few years ago, we were working on a logo design project for a cities parks and recreation department. While putting together three examples, we decided to add a fourth alternative. Unlike the first three, this fourth option was dated and clearly inferior. It was an anchor to make the others look even better. Our hearts sunk when they selected and became unwavering about option four.   Polar Notion, like many creative teams, focuses on bringing ideas to life. Other people’s ideas. We have a talented team that has seen hundreds of projects. This experience allows us to track trends across the industry and dial in our intuition. Our team pours days, weeks, and months into the thoughtful execution of these projects.   From time to time, clients ignore our expertise. Whether direction shifts or minds change, our efforts are rendered unnecessary. It can be defeating and discouraging.   Eventually,…

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

Workplace Diversity

At New Story’s recent quarterly leadership summit, Alexandria Lafci (a cofounder and friend) presented on the value of diversity in the workplace. With patience and empathy, she shared in depth research and permitted an endless stream of questions. Reflecting on her thoughtful presentation, it felt like something worth sharing. We should be understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, disabilities, and sexual orientations, as well as differences in personalities, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge bases. That’s not to imply most people are outwardly aggressive or openly alienate those who are different. In many cases however, it’s our unconscious biases that wreak the most havoc. Awareness is the first step toward making a change. Speaking Intelligently It was clarifying to see diversity in two categories: inherent diversity and acquired diversity. Inherent diversity includes Demographic characteristics like race, sex, and age. Acquired diversity includes factors such as education, experience,…

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

Unbridled Diversity

Holding my oldest daughter for the first time, a nagging thought began to amplify. A transition occurred for me at her birth and intensifies with the birth of my second daughter. Their gentle eyes peer into my heart, stoking a passion and a hope for their future. As I watch them grow, a thought wreaks havoc in my mind, “the world is not ready”. The liberties of women and minorities are still too dim. I’m inspired by stories of Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Malala Yousafzai. Reading their stories to the girls at bedtime, I find myself in tears. Captivated by the courage and resolve of such empowered women. Born into an era that wasn’t ready for them, they chose a path of tremendous sacrifice in order to prepare the world for those who would follow. In recent years, I’ve embarked on a journey to deepen my empathy for the under-represented.…

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

A Quick List of Atlanta Favorites

What is your favorite coffee shop? Brother Moto. Why Brother Moto? Great vibes, great people, and delicious coffee. They know who they are and represent that throughout every part of the business. Close Second? East Pole. It’s a beautifully designed space with delicious coffee. Lots of natural lighting and the roasting room is a delightful, authentic touch. What is your favorite restaurant? Gunshow Why Gunshow? Killer atmosphere, knowledgeable staff, unpretentious, great food, locally sourced, and unique presentation. The chefs bring the food straight to your table. My favorite time to go is later in the evening with a small group of friends. Close Second? Optimist. The space is beautiful and the serving staff is super knowledgeable. Also, they do a great job of mixing creative dishes with traditional favorites. What is your favorite pizza restaurant? Antico Pizza Why Antico Pizza? Delicious with a unique atmosphere. The ingredients speak for themselves…

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

Freedom in Progress

In the early days of Polar Notion, it felt like we were saying yes to everything. We hadn’t found a sweet spot and being quite honest, we had bills to pay. When times are tough and work is slow, any skill you possess is worth leveraging. Eventually we had enough breathing room to think through the type of company and brand we wanted to be. Better Before Bigger Today, we help businesses get better before bigger. This focus required us to do it for ourselves first. We have a clearly defined vision and values that guide the way. Since we work on behalf of clients, our name does not publicly accompany our work. We embrace this tension, thus adopting a secret-society-esk nature. Unapologetically, our quirky team and wild ideas are as much of who we are as the software we write or the design we create. Exploring the most valuable elements…

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

Adding and Removing Zeros

As we think about the evolution of a business, it’s growth and efficiency go hand in hand. It’s important to continually improve and continually growth. Without continual improvement, it’s easy to fall into complacency or get sloppy. Without continual growth, energy is spent balancing an arbitrary equation of profit and lose. Simply put, if you are not actively improving, your passively diminishing. Zero the Hero While continual improvement may sustain the business, from time to time there are opportunities to innovate. Whether through a new approach or impactful technology, the change is exponential not linear. During these seasons, you have the opportunity to add and drop zeros, not percentages. Over the last 3 years, we have built and iterated on software for an education company. Previously, their sales were dependent on physical books that had to be printed, packaged, and shipped. Every sale had hours of overhead and labor. Today,…

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

Better Before Bigger

Pretend for a moment you are the proud owner of a coffee company. The lifeblood of most organizations today, your selling productivity and joy one pound at a time. Your company sells bags of coffee for $10. It costs you $9.00 to produce, leaving $1.00 in profit. To summarize, that’s $1 of profit for every bag you sell. If you wanted to make $2, sell two bags. For $3, three bags. Obvious, right? Simple Answers vs Simple Solutions For most managers and business owners, the answer feels simple. To increase cash flow, increase sales. To generate more money, sell more of a product or service. This is a widely accepted practice and it can work. Imagine however, you took a different approach. Instead of seeing sales as the first step to growth, what if you opted for efficiency. Increase the value of the revenue you already have. Rather of trying…

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

Shoes Matter Most

In high school and college, I ran hundreds of miles every month. Whether competing or staying healthy, running can take a toll on the body. From back pain to hip issues, knee damage to shin splints, for every healthy runner there are two injured ones. Early on, a coach shared the importance of footwear. He was constantly inspecting our shoes and routinely pushing us to replace them. Years later an orthopedist discussed the correlation between the feet and the rest of the body. He made a compelling that suggests most physical ailments we experience can be attributed to our footwear. Most major problems with lower back, hips, knees, shins, and arches… all from our shoes. The problem originates from how we shop for shoes. Since we can’t log hundreds of miles before making a purchase, we stride to the end of the aisle in store. If they get delivered to…

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

Spilling Secrets

Over the years I’ve found myself defaulting to complete transparency. It’s helped me develop a feeling of authenticity and a deeper sense of generosity. If I have a perspective, experience, or behavior someone else might benefit, it feels selfish to stay quiet. This openness and vulnerability intensified around the 5 year mark in our business. Following a near catastrophic financial issue for the business, I found myself scrambling. It was a desperate attempt at survival that led me to reach out to mentors, friends, and even strangers. The support and encouragement was humbling and invaluable. In turn, I’ve sought to do likewise. Rather than limiting it to those bold enough to ask, I began writing more and sharing it with those who might not feel comfortable reaching out. Throughout this season, I also felt a prompt to express gratitude to those who had helped us along the way. Our business has…

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

Building a Marketplace

Over the years, we’ve built plenty of marketplace solutions. Unlike feature based or business management software, the value of the technology within marketplace software is in the relationship that is facilitates. The most common formation is a two-sided market place. Two-sided marketplaces connect a seller and a buyer. Examples we’ve build include connecting law firms with project attorneys, job seekers with employers, riders with drivers, or even brides with wedding vendors. Two audiences exist and the software becomes the match maker. Their interests are align, they just need to be connected. Two-sided Complexity Two-sided markets have inherent complexities. A common complexity is around value. Once the match is formed, what keeps the customer and vendor within the system? Airbnb, for instance, matches renters with home owners. Since the behavior involves real world interaction, the two parties could conduct business offline in future interactions. It becomes the goal of the marketplace to…

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