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

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

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

Continuous Design

A few months into the both pregnancies, one thing was certain: we’re having ramen for dinner. I could suggest other options but unless it involved noodles and a broth, any debate was futile. Through past experiences, I understand my wife’s tastes, preferences, and willingness to deviate from the norm. Now, imagine you and I are meeting for dinner. It’ll be our first in person interaction and we have only sent a few emails back and forth. Generously, you allow me to pick the restaurant. Working off limited knowledge, I try to account for service, taste, environment, accessibility, and dietary restrictions. I’ll find something acceptable but it’s unlikely to perfectly match your expectations. When comparing my wife’s ramen and the latter one-off dinner, there is no question whose expectations will be best met. Learning the nuance of expectation takes time. It involves developing understanding, credibility, and trust. From Dinner to Design…

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

Clarifying Company Values at Polar Notion

As a company grows and evolves, values become indispensable in guiding decisions. I’ve found few things to be more impactful in facilitating a healthy culture. Values govern how we operate. They summarize what matters most. Sometimes however, it’s helpful to dive a bit deeper into defining what they actually mean to us. While values like ‘passion’ and ‘innovation’ can be telling, they fall on deaf ears without context, explanation, and examples. We pursue excellence, not perfection. Rather than pushing for perfection, which is illusive, we pursue excellence. For us, excellence is exemplified in 4 ways. We produce quality products. Is the work we’re doing quality in the eyes of our clients and our peers? Not everyone has to ‘get it’, but our attention to detail and thoughtfulness should be evident. Standards change over time but we want to set the bar ever higher. A great example is our Client Handbook. It’s…

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

Valuing What Matters

In 2017, we bag pushing harder to remove the barriers that prevent our team from doing great work. We are creating a transparent work environment from project management, to educating clients, and beyond. The goal is to do remarkable work and inspire others to live remarkable lives. As part of this push, team member compensation races to the forefront. Compensation is an area riddled with confusion and chaos. To combat the tension, we introduced transparent salaries. With that, we’ve been working through clearly defined expectations for each level and per role. After much deliberation and great advise, we identified 8 key areas. Each role without our business has requirements around Culture, Evangelism, Values, Experience, Leadership, Client Interactions, Industry Involvement, and Domain Knowledge. Culture Our team comes first. We spend most of our lives at work, so building a place we all enjoy is of primary importance. Contributing to the culture…

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

Send Shorter Emails

A professor in college would tag every email as important. Upon opening the first few, I quickly realized it wasn’t as important as she thought. Each email was painfully long, poorly organized, and uneventful. After the 2–3 weeks, I didn’t read any more of them. When you write less, the content is actually consumed. Communication is two sided: information sent and information received. If you expect it to be read and thoughtfully digested, keep it short. Long emails often contain too much, which makes grasping the point even more challenging. While it may seem like most emails include a lot of valuable information, that’s simply not the case. Short emails have higher readability, are more deliberate, and respect the time of others. If you don’t have the time or energy to write a short, clear email… summarize at the end. That’s right, include a 2–5 bullet list at the end…

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