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…

Read Post

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…

Read Post

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…

Read Post

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…

Read Post

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…

Read Post

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…

Read Post

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?…

Read Post

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

Moonshots

At New Story, we make time every few months for an exercise we call ‘Moonshots’. The term comes from the Apollo 11 spaceflight, which landed the first human on the moon in 1969*. At the time, the idea was truly audacious. As a team, we get together and dream big. Usually after dinner and over drinks, we throw out big, wild ideas. They’re unlikely, crazy ideas. While the origin of our 3D Printer experiment came out of one of these sessions, the point is not to be practical. It’s about dreaming, not planning. Controlled Chaos Some suggestions get a laugh. Others make use uncomfortable. A few have a way of lingering, but most ideas die on the spot.  The point of moonshot is to spark inspiration. Once an idea is put out into the world, the next person can build on top of it. The ideas evolve. We want to create a place…

Read Post

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

New Year Ritual : Change Your Passwords (plus checklist)

In recent years, we’ve seen massive data breaches come across the headlines. Unfortunately, these reports represent a small percentage of the actual infractions. While our data is only as secure as the people entrusted with storing it, passwords are the first line of defense. Taking an hour or so once a year to update your most commonly used accounts (or as many as you can remember) could safeguard your information. If you’ve been waiting for the right excuse to start using a password manager like 1Password or LastPass, a systematic password refresh would be great option. You could generate large, highly secure passwords and store them in a safe place. Below is a quick checklist of common passwords you’ll likely want to reset. There are also great tools to help configure more secure passwords. Personal Accounts [ ] Banking Institutions [ ] Credit Cards [ ] Insurance Provider [ ]…

Read Post

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

Purpose Statement Framework

In the summer of 2018, I began feeling an increased tension around decision making. Growing up, we learn to decide between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. As adults, there is more gray area and less objectivity. The right answer is rarely obvious. Our choices are less polarized. If we are fortunate, we have the opportunity to choose between multiple great options too. Without a clear winner, this can lead to indecision or a lack of directed effort. My intention in pursuing a personal purpose statement was simple. Create a standard to measure future decisions. More than a job description, it’s a declaration of intent and focus. We each have unique skills, interests, and passions. A well crafted purpose statement provides a framework for aligning each decision. The process for me took months of discussion, reflection, and experimentation. Looking back, I’ve refined the process into a Framework for others to use. This article…

Read Post

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

2018 Annual Report

The act of reflection continues to be the most impactful habit I’ve developed over the years. I’m continually amazed by how much growth can be seen in some areas of life while others seem to shrivel. I’ve broken down my Annual Report into the areas that matter most. Family Polar Notion New Story Personal Special Mentions Also, pardon my typos. I had a lot of ground to cover and my usually proofreading process was too much mental energy. Family Our family has seen a lot of changes in 2018. From our immediate family, to extended family, it’s been marked by births, moves, and big announcements. Welcome Rowan! Our little red-headed bundle of smiles was born on May 21, 2018. She LOVES her big sister. Major milestones at the moment include sitting up on her own, eating real food, and a veracious smile. Smyrna Despite some early resistance, we made the…

Read Post