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

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

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

Aligning Software Pricing and Value

Not everything is worth a subscription. We all know what it’s like to start using a software product only to see the paid plan is $20 per month. It’s one small feature we use but the cost is twice what I pay for Netflix. It doesn’t feel worth it. The value of the tool and what it costs are misaligned. The Flip Side While some technology feels overpriced, there are others than feel like a deal. At polar notion, we spend over $300 a month for Slack. Our team and clients use Slack as a continual communication tool. It facilitates all conversations. Slack saves us hundreds of hours combing through emails and tens of thousands of dollars in efficiency. We pay a lot for Slack, but we get more than we pay. The Tension How do we reconcile this when building technology? Someone has to pay for it to get built.…

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

Swing, Swing, Swing

There is a restaurant down the road from our office. We’ve eaten their quite often but they always manage to get our order wrong. If I had to guess, they get it right about 30% of the time. It’s abysmal. It’s low on our list of lunch places. In baseball, they have a name for players who only get their job right 30% of the time: Hall of Famers. That’s right, the best players in the world hit the ball less than half of the time. Over the course of their career, a baseball player will strike out thousands of times. Taking swings Conversations about failure are everywhere. They cover the importance of failure, trying things that might not work, doing things that don’t scale, moving fast while breaking things, and so much more. Almost as popular are counter points about quality, excellence, and seamless experiences. Witnessing this trend, it’s clear they aren’t…

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