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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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

Entry Level Engineers Cutting Their Teeth

I found myself drawing a distinction between code school graduates and Junior Engineers. It’s not to diminish the effort or credibility of code school. It is to elevate the importance of real world experience. Deploying to production software is key to the Junior Engineer distinction. Beyond a brochure site or public facing test app, a Junior Engineer needs time spent on a system with daily active users. Realizing it’s often hard to get the opportunity to work in a live environment, our apprenticeship is designed for Entry Level Engineers. What do you look for in an apprentice? This is by no means a comprehensive list, but we have found patterns that define solid apprenticeship candidates. Proactive learner. Pursue a deeper understanding rather than waiting to be tasked it. Action oriented. A default to ‘jumping right in’ rather than waiting for complete clarity. Inquisitive. The ability to ask good questions and digest…

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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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