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

One Key Metric

“How should I measure my improvement?”   It’s a common question I receive from Apprentice and Junior Engineers. For those focused on growth, they often search for a metric to track their improvement over time.    How will I be graded? What should I optimize for order to improve? How do I know I’m improving fast enough?   In software, ‘number of code commits’ and ‘lines of code written’ seems obvious. for early stage developers. It’s trackable and big numbers give the impression of progress. Unfortunately, code quality is not measured in quantity and volume. In fact, there is often an inverse correlation.   The question originates from a positive attitude, but the answer is complex and past attempts at oversimplifying have proven disastrous. There are stories of incentivizing engineers by ‘bugs found’, but that sparks the temptation to neglect proper troubleshooting up front. Incentivize overly-concise code and you may…

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

Values First, Always

In 2016, the team at Polar Notion interviewed a passionate and polished software engineer. Fresh out of code school, she seemed focused, articulate, and eager to gain experience in the industry. The technical interview was organized and deliberate. From the first introduction we remarked on her poise and confidence. From twenty applicants, we had narrowed the list down to just two candidates. Geraldine Galue was one of them. Our team suspected Geraldine would thrive in any role. She was a teachers assistant after graduation, maintained a nonprofit’s website, and even landed a spotlight in the local startup news. Unfortunately, the other candidate possessed more of the requisite experience. With much reservation, we declined Geraldine’s application. This was in February of 2016. New Opportunities By fall of that year, a lot changed. Polar Notion was moving full steam ahead, but I had also taken on a CTO position at New Story. A…

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

Saturday Mornings

The world is quiet on Saturday morning. My phone doesn’t ring. New emails are not piling into my inbox. The time is all mine. While somewhat overstated, I seem to do 2-3 days worth of work within a few hours. The day is optimized for heads down, distraction free output. I’m afforded hours of deep work. Why am I working on a Saturday? These days, my schedule is splintered by messages, meetings, and management. I share my time with two business. This allows our family to maintain our standard of living, my wife to stay at home each day with our girls, and my mind to fully leverage it’s passions and interests. The diverse contexts allows me to compress decades of experience into just a few years. I realize it won’t last forever, but I find the work invigorating and impactful. Balancing Polar Notion and New Story, its likely someone…

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

Data is Feedback

The value of data will vary depending on stage of the business. Regardless of ones season of business, the numbers matter. They will likely be different, but tracking key information is no less important. Most often, it’s a few numbers that impact an organization’s performance.   For young businesses, it’s hard to know what matters since change is constant. There is a bent to focus on things that are easy tracked, such as Google Analytics, revenue, or expenses. However, there is more pointed information that can have a greater impact on the business.   At a high level, the data of the business fits into four buckets: Sales Operations Financial Product/Service Data Sales Sales is the front door of the business and focuses on prospects and new business. A few numbers can determine the health of ones sales pipeline. Also, the right numbers can provide insight into the future business…

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

Making Big Decisions

The discipline of big decision making As we’re presented with important decisions, it’s easy to procrastinate or become immobilized. Over time, the stakes get higher and our decisions affect more people. To withstand the pressure of major decisions and keep moving forward, I’ve outlined habits I revert back to when big decisions arise. Rest Before leaving corporate life to raise our kids, my wife was wrestling with a decision for months. At the time, she was not sleeping well. The workload was causing her to neglect her health too. Recognizing the need for a change though feeling too overwhelmed to decide, we scheduled a day or so away at the spa. No work, agenda, or responsibilities she was free to rest up, relax, and recover. Before returning home less than 48 hours later, she knew what she had to do. Don’t make big decisions when you’re off your game. Being clear…

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

Weekly Rituals

Over the years, I’ve developed a series of daily, weekly, and monthly rituals designed to keep me focused and moving forward. Rather than allowing each day to dictate my priorities, these rituals provide a cadence of thoughtful progress. In recent conversations with entreprenuers and business leaders, some of my weekly rituals have been of particular interest. Pre-week Before the momentum of a week, the following actions help things stay within my control. Cancel Priorities are constantly evolving. Coincidentally, some meetings are scheduled weeks and months in advance. Before blindly attending, evaluate it’s relevance and have the courage to cancel if it’s no longer necessary. Not only does this free up precious time, but it also respects the time of other attendees as well. A business meetings without written agendas should be prime candidates. “Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it…

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

Keeping Projects on Track

A team’s ability to keep projects on track and moving forward is crucial. Regardless of the team, surprises and hangups will pop up along the way. When a project gets off track, trying to understand ‘why’ is a common pursuit. Unfortunately, questions that explain past decisions do not drive the conversation forward. Foregoing why a misalignment occurred, a more effective question is, “What do you need to get back on track?” A solution oriented approach, this question illuminates a path forward. There are four solutions to being offtrack. The solutions include: simplify, clarify, increase expertise, and extend timeline. When a project is off track, most people will default to adding more time. Unfortunately, time alone will rarely make it better. The following unpacks alternatives and provides a framework for forward momentum. Simplicity How can we simplify and still hit the target? Simplifying the solution is the easiest way to make…

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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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