Morgan Lopes is an entrepreneur who leads Polar Notion, a digital brand experience team. They design and develop web and mobile apps for information, education, and influence based businesses. While he reluctantly accepts the title CEO, his role is to identify and amplify the strengths of each person who chooses to join their team.
As of 2016, Morgan has also been serving as CTO for New Story, a startup-minded nonprofit that is moving the needle on the global homelessness crisis. In just over 2 years, they've grown from one home in Haiti to over 800 homes around the world and have built the first 3D home printer in the US.
Along with his work at Polar Notion and New Story, he sites his greatest adventure as fathering two daughters and working to improve the world they’ll eventually inherit.
Shantel: Hey Morgan, welcome to the show.
Morgan: Hey Shantel, how's it going?
Shantel: Great, thanks. Thanks so much for carving out the time, we can't wait to learn more about your entrepreneurial life and what that looks like.
Morgan: Yeah, my pleasure.
Shantel: Of course. I'm so excited. I suppose, to kick things off, do you mind sharing a little bit more about Polar Notion and then I know you're three or four companies in, so a little bit more about what else keeps you busy to start.
| BRINGING HUMANITY TO TECHNOLOGY |
Morgan: Yeah, absolutely. So Polar Notion, we're a digital brand experience team who work on things ... Design development, a lot of web and mobile applications and a lot of end to ends in-house. We're really focused on bringing humanity to technology. So oftentimes it's very jargon-rich and I like to really distill that down, make it very approachable. I do a lot of work with startups, entrepreneurs, and small to medium sized businesses who are just looking to make it fresh and get out of the typical technology ruts and speak the language of their consumers.
Shantel: Nice. And did you have a background in digital, web, and mobile applications?
Morgan: Great question. I did not. I'm actually an early childhood education major. So, did that in school, and as I was approaching graduation, I started working for a coffee company. Startup organization that needed some design help, which I am by no means a designer, but knew more than the team and enough to be dangerous. So, as I started doing that ... then quickly started to move into some of the business and operational side of things. Did some web maintenance and from there into applications and realized, "Hey I love the stuff I'm getting to do on the side of this company and this whole early childhood Ed thing just doesn't really do it for me." So, as college came to an end, made the jump and started doing some freelance stuff at first, while still working with the coffee company. Got to a spot where we had more freelance clients. Then we did work for this group, so kind of worked for ourselves out of a job. And yeah, started taking it all a little bit more full-time and we joked that we went legit, starting paying taxes, all that good stuff in about 2012.
Shantel: Nice. You keep on referencing "we." Did you start the company with some college buds?
Morgan: Yeah, so a friend of mine, we met probably 15 years ago, we joked that our first project was making potato guns in our parents' basement. So, our relationship started in middle school. Hung out mostly through high school, off and on through college. He came out of school as an Ad major. His name is Josh. He came out of school as an Ad major, kind of did the internship. Tried out some stuff and just didn't feel a fit. Felt a little more like a cog in the wheel and really liked the idea of being involved in the full creative process around the same time as when I was working with this coffee company. I think it was his dad, perhaps, had a friend who needed a website. He didn't have those skills and he tapped me and we collaborated on it together. Liked our kind of communication style, had a lot of experience there, a lot of trust built up and we just started trying stuff together and it's kind of evolved quite a bit since then. But, more and more realizing the value of having somebody who balances me out.
Shantel: Yeah, I can certainly relate to that with Margo, my business partner as well. So, you truly probably never had a job outside of college. Like a traditional 9-to-5, more corporate environment.
Morgan: Definitely not. We're making a lot of stuff up over here. A lot of the work that I've done is a little like side jobs, things that pay the bills. One of my first jobs was cutting grass for my neighbors in high school. Worked for Pike Family Nursery, which is the equivalent of like a garden Home Depot. And then actually in college, started working for Medieval Times for a little bit, so did the server thing and then evolved to do some stuff with the cast and riding horses and you know, "my lords and ladies," the whole nine yards. All little things that didn't really draw a straight line into any one particular thing. A lot of diversity and ... So, once we started working, doing some freelance stuff ... Had a lot of things to figure out because we didn't have quote-on-quote "big boy and girl" experience working for people who do stuff like us.
Shantel: Do you think that by starting this in college it kind of helped mitigate some of the fear, or really understanding the magnitude of the risks you were taking in starting your own business?
Morgan: Oh, hands down. Ignorance is bliss, for sure. Josh and I both love personality profiles, largely because we're pretty different in a lot of areas, but the thing that we have in common is our propensity to take risks. And so, we both looked at it and we joked, I'm kind of the gas peddle, go, go, go. And he's the brake, like: "Hey, let's take it easy." But when we look at areas around like, willing to take risks and kind of go for it without having all the answers, we are dialed in. The numbers match, they line up, which is great because usually we'll junk together and then our differences help us kind of weigh out the consequences on the other end. I think had we waited until the stakes were higher, until we had a family and were more established or even had a really great salary ... All of those things would have probably had us make different calculations and probably change the path forward but ... Yeah, so it definitely helps when the stakes were lower. At the same time now the stakes are pretty freaking high, but we're still able to continue to leverage that and take some risks along the way.
Shantel: Yeah. When you were saying, "We're learning things along the way." I mean, I completely feel the same way sometimes. When people look to you and are like, "What are we supposed to do?" I'm like, "I don't know!" Let's, people, figure it out together. Do you surround yourself with other entrepreneurs? How have you continued to learn and grow to be the leader you are today?
| NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING |
Morgan: Yeah, that's a great question. I got to a spot, really, a couple of years ago where the people I grew up with weren't doing this kind of stuff, so it felt kind of ill-equipped there. Very much, like you mentioned, like, we're just making stuff up as we go. And then started to invest more in reading, researching, and also pursuing mentorship. And not like in a typical, "Will you mentor me?" kind of way, but just, specifically in Atlanta, looking at people that I kind of admire from afar. And then saying, "Okay, well, what if I reach out to this person? And have this email template that I use ... it's coffee, lunch or beer. You're going to have one of these in the next week or two. I'd love to buy it for you and with me. And so, started kind of pursuing some of those things through that outreach to a lot of these people that I respect. A number of them recommended Entrepreneurs' Organization, which is obviously how we got connected. Then, from there, got plugged into a consistent group that we are able to hold each other accountable and really push back on some things. Like, "Oh, hey, your goal for this month is this. Well, does that really track to what you're trying to accomplish and is this just a distraction?" And so, really consistent accountability. Because again, as we grow and develop as entrepreneurs, it can be really lonely unless we actively pursue connection and community. It's often a trap. We feel like we're alone and nobody else has been here. Hundred percent a lie. The last year that we've had there have been moments that are just debilitating. They feel like debilitating failures. And the more people I just open up to and talk to about it, who've been there, they're like, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We've been there. Oh, man, that was ten years in business, twenty years in business we hit something like that." And it can just really be that assurance or wind in your sails to keep pushing through. So, that's evolved in ... also, just on the personal side, books, podcasts, all of those things. I would say above-average consumer of content. But in many cases I think that helps just keep me sane and steadily washed in this idea that ... Heard it from the founder of Netflix at a speaking event once and he said, "Nobody knows anything." Right? That line is originally in Hollywood, so is it going to be a blockbuster or a flop? Everyone's kind of just pretending, because you have Blair Witch Project which was filmed on home cameras and you've got people with million dollar budgets that just lose money. So, nobody knows anything; we're all kind of making it up. And so, okay, cool. Let that free you and not immobilize you. So, take action with that knowledge that, "hey look, focus on the right next step but at the end of the day if you're surviving and moving forward, that's really huge." That's become a core value of ours. "Go boldly forward" is how we personalize that for ourselves.
Shantel: Yeah, I'm definitely, I think, when starting a company ... And I'm sure a lot of our listeners can relate to this ... Like, "Oh shoot I don't know all of the answers." But I think it is really reassuring to know that no one does and entrepreneurs ... What I love about entrepreneurs is everyone is so helpful and eager to share experiences and be that shoulder to lean on, because we all get it. So, when people are having that trouble or they're stuck on something, it is really nice to have a good support system around you. You touched on that 'coffee, lunch, and beer,' which I may have to ping you for after. If you're open to sharing that email. I think that's pretty clever. It's a good little tip.
Morgan: Yeah, yeah. And I think really that was a turning point for me. So, if I look back to when I found out my wife and I were pregnant with our first daughter, Avery. I think a lot of people have this moment when they're holding their child for the first time, and I maybe had a curse of thinking too far into the future. And, as soon as I found out, kind of the next day, I had this realization of, "oh crap we aren't ready." Right? And not necessarily us as a couple because, my wife and I, we love each other and we communicate intensely but, you know, pretty effectively. But really, the business itself. I knew if something didn't change that our business could not sustain someone who had the type of overhead, if you will, from a family perspective that I was trending towards. So, I felt this tension of, "Well, wait a minute. We want to grow our family. By no means is she an accident. We want this. At the same time, I've been building this thing with my business partner that we believe in and we have been investing time and energy into ... How can I do both? Right? And first I was like, how do I survive? Maybe I need to get another job, right? So, as I started to kind of weigh these two things out, I realized other people have done this before. I'm not the only one. This is not unique. But I don't know who they are. So, I need to find them. So, that's when I started to look up some people in the community. And Craig Johnson from Matchstic is somebody in particular that always I admired from afar. Their company does great work. They have this culture and this vibrance to the work that they do that. We've always said, "Yes, this is the type of business that we want to create." Very human-centered, quality-focused. And he's also more of the business side of things. Blake, his partner, is more of the design side. I empathized a lot with that because Josh, my business partner, is design-minded. I was like, "Man, how do I talk to Blake?" I'm sorry, "How do I talk to Craig?" Had a couple people that kind of knew him and eventually I was like, "Wait a minute, he's got his email on his website." And, so you know, fired it up and I was like, "Alright. What do I have to lose?" Maybe he ignores me. Maybe he thinks I'm a creep and tells me to go away. I don't care. A child is on the way and this child that we've been building for that last couple of years is on the line. No thing is too risky. So, yeah. I was like, "what's an email that I would read if somebody sent it to me?" It's probably got to be a little clever but it's got to be really short. I don't want anything monolithic and long. So, yeah. I was like, well, when would I meet with him? Any time of day, really. "I'll meet with you whenever" sounds super desperate. Well, okay, I like coffee and I eat lunch every day and I love beer, so maybe he does, too. Anyway. And then it stuck. And I realized: "Well, wait a minute. This is a simple, cordial way of reaching out." So yeah, feel free to tap me for it. I've shared it with a lot of people. 'Cause it kind of Like, hey, I'm not trying to mass-email tons of people. I have a short list of people that I would love to contact. It just reads pretty well. So, love to share it.
Shantel: And for those seeking new mentorship opportunities or really hoping to reach out to someone to talk to, do you come with a list of questions prepared or is it more of just a casual conversation for that lunch?
Morgan: Yeah, so, I try to come pretty openhanded and just like ... I have questions that I have. But trust the fact that they know more than I do and I may have blind spots in value that they could contribute that I'm not even aware of yet. But I do come prepared. So, I try to put together a list of questions for them based on my perspective. What are things I would hope to learn from them? Or hope to glean insight from. And then, also, just problems that I'm currently facing. Like, what do I think today's biggest problems are within our business? So then, when we sit down, I haven't just wasted their time. It's very, "Hey, I would love to know these things. People tend ... Especially people who have been there, been around a little bit longer and have more experience. I tend to really appreciate the foresight and the appreciation there. And then, also, took what he had mentioned, I was crazy writing notes. Two or three pages of notes. Just stuffing it. He was saying things that to him seemed so run-of-mill, mundane, but to me it was like nuggets of gold to cling to. So, I'm writing these things down and then he had mentioned a couple of suggestions. Like, "oh, check this out. Or do this." And so, I made special note of that. Afterwards, followed up. So that was the third piece. So, prepare with questions. Document. Take notes along the way. And then following up on the back-end with, "Hey, thanks so much for taking the time. Here are things that you shared that I found really valuable." Because what I've noticed is people who are willing to take the time usually don't do it once, they do it with many people. And so, if they know what I found helpful, maybe those are things they could lead with for the next person or, if nothing else, it shows a level of thoughtfulness. And then I'll follow up on, "Oh, you should check out this website." And then I'm like, "Oh, hey, checked it out, seemed really helpful. Here's some things that I think are really great." Or I'll ask some questions or if it has no use to me, "Hey, thanks so much. Checked it out. I don't think we're at that season of business yet, but I appreciate the recommendation." And usually, I'll leave it at that. Right? So, they honored, they showed me respect and appreciation to just give me some time. And so, I don't want to ask too much. I'll just leave it. And usually, a couple weeks later, I'll follow up. I've yet to have a meeting with somebody who is further down the road than myself that they haven't left me with something that I just can't stop thinking about. And so, I honor that by, hey, couple of weeks later, I'm gonna follow up with them. "Hey ..." In this case, we'll keep using Craig for an example. I don't think he'll mind. "Hey, Craig. Haven't been able to stop thinking about the number focus that you talked with your team and the monthly stand ups that you do. That's really transparent and you communicate XYZ ... I'd love to know a little bit more. Could we catch up? I'd love to grab coffee again." So, again, not like: "Would you sign here to be my mentor?" But very like: "Hey, look, low commitment. I'm not asking anything from you other than some of your time. But when you give me some of your time, it is gold to me. I'm gonna treat it like that." That's been a huge part, that as I reach out to other people ... Yeah, in hindsight, it's worked really well. Haven't had anybody just shoot me away or not take follow up emails or phone calls. That kind of stuff.
Shantel: That's great. And I know ... Congratulations again. You have a newborn. So, in addition to Avery, you are now a dad of two.
Shantel: Do you remember any of the ... some of those tactical things that Craig had mentioned in that first meeting? Or things that you're now reflecting on that you've changed in the last couple years of business that has freed up some extra time or bandwidth or even just brainpower. So you could focus on some other priorities.
Morgan: Yeah. Solid question. So, with Avery, when she wound up ... So, fast forward nine months. When she was born, we really just created a gap in the business. Right? "Oh, we're gonna need some time to be with family. A week or two sounds like we could survive. And we're gonna hold our breath for that time. And do whatever works on the table but very clearly the business is just waiting for him to return." But some things that Craig mentioned that take time to start to develop are regular touchpoints with the team. The second is around client interaction or customer interaction, depending on what type of business that you have. He shared this idea that after every couple weeks of work, he would ask for feedback. "Hey, how was it? One to five stars?" If it's three or less, he immediately jumps on the phone with them and contacts them. If it's four, it's like, "Oh, thank you so much, but dear team, what could we do better?" And then obviously, five being the goal there. So, a team focus. Getting team alignment. A client-facing focus. And then he also shared around hiring and firing based on company values. So, having a clear picture of: What do you we stand for? What is acceptable here? And then building values around that, that you are so bought into and so passionate about, that you would hire or fire based on. And so, taking a lot of those things, plus plenty of outside influence and also building more people into the team, as baby number two ... Her name is Rowan. She was born two weeks ago. As she was born, the business has both sustained and continued to pick up steam in my absence. Which is night and day different, right? Instead of holding our breath, it's like, nope, everybody's doing the stuff. And when I came back, my goal was, hey, don't just jump in and snatch everything back out of people's hands. How do we then continue this momentum to not make the business dependent on any one person? Because that's something that as we've grown, to now, between 12 and 14 people. That's the kind of stuff that could keep you up at night is, if something happened to me, these people are counting on me to feed their families, to feed their spouses, their loved ones, for their future! How do I not let them down? And the answer that I've come across is, hey, don't make it dependent on you. Right? Work passionately to get out of people's way, find the right people, trust them to do that work, and then move on to continue to grow and develop them into remarkable people.
Shantel: That's great, that's great. Are you primarily responsible for business development? Or have you built up a team around you? And your business partner handles more operations than the design work now.
| PEOPLE OVER PROCESS |
Morgan: Great question. So, we're a little bit different in that sense. My business partner, Josh, is really a very creative director centered. So really about making sure that the work that we do and also the way in which we do work is something that we can be proud of. We're not looking to just create a business that makes money. We're looking to create a human-centered business that values and develops people. And that's something where when I look at our natural giftedness, I tend to ... On paper, I look more like a computer than a person. And he's kind of the other way. So I have very regimented, consistent schedule, all these things. And he's very go-with-the-flow and as-it-feels-good kind of thing. And so, he's focused more on the ... both design and aesthetics side of our business but also the internal design piece, and kind of keeps me in check there. Jim is somebody who we got onto the team recently that actually focuses more on ... he's over operations and then he and I split the load on business development side of things. Finding the right person ... So, having Jim come on as part of the team has also kind of shown me some areas that I could start to step back more and more from business development. 'Cause most of the entrepreneurs that start businesses like us, like our style, that's usually the last piece that they struggle to unload ... is sales, growth, and business development. For me, I'm like, well, if this thing's not going to break if I leave, you gotta figure it out. And yeah, it's helped. It looks a little bit different. Jim and I tackle, kind of split the load between ops and bus dev, and then Josh is on the design and really is, I would say, the cultural compass for the organization. "Hey, Morgan! People over process." "Oh, yeah. People over process. Got it."
Shantel: Well, thanks for sharing that. I think that's great. I want to switch gears just a little bit for the last few minutes. I know you're a busy dad, you have a largely successful company that's growing really quickly, and you've also started other companies at the same time. Which I'd love to tap into a little bit. But let's talk about your day-to-day and how you set boundaries. How do you optimize your day?
Morgan: Yeah, that's great. I realized pretty early on ... My wife and I had this thought when we got married that we want to go to bed at the same time every day. At the same time. I sleep really well and she does not. And so, if we try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, I'm twiddling my thumbs and actually sleep to the point that I'm now more tired. And so, going to bed at the same time, I started looking at, well, what would it look like for me to get up earlier. And then it became earlier and earlier and earlier once I realized that, hey, nobody's awake at this time. I can get a ton of stuff done! So now, usually my day starts at four am. And get started, kind of have a little bit of a morning routine to get me into gear. And then have a couple things that I work on from usually about 4:15, 4:30 until seven. About seven o'clock, Avery starts to wrestle. She's very schedule as well, so I go get her up. Change her, get her ready. And usually, I'm out the door by 7:30 to go to the gym. That leads me into the office at about nine. We put in a shower and all that kind of stuff, so it moves pretty quickly. Yeah, and then, usually throughout the day, I try to figure out, how can I batch as many things as possible? So I batch emails, I batch phone calls. Usually try to take those in the car. And then also batch time to sync with our team. Ally, we have a project manager we brought on, trained. So, as it stands right now between her and Jim on operations, they tend to need just the most quick touches. So, making sure I sync with them, and then have certain chunks of my day committed to meetings, phone calls, for business specific stuff. Yeah. And then usually try and to get home by six and then from there, I unplug. So, I'm not responding to anything. Ideally, I'm not even checking my phone. And these days it's been dying by that time anyway, which is perfect. And really try and take that six till bed, just all in, family time, bath time, story time, bed time. Spend time with my wife. Yeah. So, it looks like that really for about six days a week. And then, when I shut down on Saturday, I am off the grid usually until Monday morning. And that allows me both to build this business as well as work with a nonprofit that I've become incredibly passionate about called New Story. We've been in the news a little bit recently with a 3D home printer that was constructed in Austin, Texas. The only way that both of these work ... and everyone gets the part of Morgan that they need is, yeah, by being just pretty regimented and disciplined. Which, at this point, has kind of become soothing. I don't have to make a lot of decisions. I wear the same thing every day and all that kind of stuff, like, cool. I just run the play. And yeah. It works for me, it's definitely not for everyone. I am by no means saying it's a one-size-fits-all solution. But yeah.
Shantel: That four am is still like nails on a chalkboard to me, so I'm trying to ... I hear it a ton. The early wake ups. But it's a struggle city for me. Do you go to bed super early?
Morgan: We go to bed pretty early. Usually I get restless at about nine. I start kind of dozing off or my eyelids get heavy. If I'm not in bed by 10, I know that it's gonna be a rough morning. Right? So, trying win the morning at nighttime is something that I even stop drinking coffee at three, so I don't have anything that's still working through my system. I also found that drinking beer makes it hard to get up in the morning. So I cut that out except for on weekends. Really just try to focus on, what are the key pieces that when properly placed allow me to be the best version of myself? I didn't start at four am either. First time I was like, oh, cool, what if I just got up at 6:30 every day? So it's a consistency of every day. Then I did six. Then eventually, when Avery was born ... It's really hard to plan around children? So even at the schedule that she is, some days she gets up at six, and some days it's seven. And anywhere in between. And I found myself getting frustrated. So, if I was waking up at five and had a chunk of stuff I needed to do before seven, if she woke up early, I was kind of getting agitated. I was like, "Ugh! Okay, what can I control here?" And honestly, you can't control a two year old child. Well, what if I just woke up an hour earlier or ... I figured just thirty minutes and then it became an hour every day. And then when inconsistencies come up, I just roll with it. Because I've planned ahead of time to get a little bit more done every day, so that then, on the off days when my wife may need me to spend a little extra time at home to help get the girls ready or those kinds of things, that I've done everything I possibly can to be available for the inconsistencies of family life. Because the last thing I want to do is invest so heavily into building a company and a culture and all these things in the name of elevating humanity and then drop the ball at home. Right? I think there's a balance to being able to do both and I think the core part of it is consistency and thoughtfulness. And so, it's slow, incremental ... I will say one hack that I learned from a friend was "wait until the time change." So most people say ... What is it? Spring, I guess, where you ... No, fall. Fall, people say, "Oh, I get an extra hour of sleep." Don't. And just set your clock an hour earlier then. And what's gonna happen then is that your rhythm is already being thrown off, but now it takes it in stride. And congratulations, you're waking up earlier. So a friend did that, I was like, "Oh my gosh! That's amazing!" So if every year, you try and make a jump an hour earlier, it's not this one-and-done miracle drug. It's like, no, we're playing a long game here. So figure out ... Let's try a little bit of stuff. Give it three to six months, see how it works. Adjust. And then it's incremental.
Shantel: That is wonderful advice. Great advice. Two more questions for you to wrap things up, Morgan. The first is, do you have a defining moment or a memory in mind that just made you the happiest as a business owner? Like just very proud and excited and validated, that decision and that big risk.
| UNLOCKING HUMAN POTENTIAL |
Morgan: Yeah, so, about two years ago, we hired ... This is our second hire, his name was John. He came out of code school. And we hired somebody out of code school before, but John was very unique and kind of quirky by conventional standards. When we interviewed him, he was super nervous and he was sweaty. He was not the guy you hire. At least between the other person we were looking at who was very professional, came in well-dressed up. All the things. Said all the right stuff. And John was a little quirky and he had even like this strange portfolio site which is how junior level engineers present themselves. But there was something about him that really stuck and we gave him a chance. And within a couple months, we realized, wow! The unconventional choice here was in fact the best choice. And as we've looked at that and kind of looked back at the work we'd done up until that point, we were like, wait a minute. What if ... Quote on quote, "business," as they teach it in school and as we understand it to be, is just wrong. What if it's built on some flawed assumptions and there are opportunities to take the riskier path or to take the less conventional path. That could be incredibly valuable. And so, for us, as we looked at it with John in particular, it was like, this is a big deal. Before he was working for a coffee company. Which is super cool. Working at a coffee shop and then being a software engineer, the terminal end of those careers is very different. And my mentor got to work with us a little bit. He came to me, just kind of startled, and he was like: "Hey, where did you meet John?" And I'm thinking, "Oh, man. Something happened. He broke something." Which happens all the time, we hire junior level code school graduates. And he was like: "He has a remarkable engineering mind." And that was the moment where I was like, "wait a minute. Let's talk. What do you mean?” And so he talked to me about more, and I'm like, "Man, if my mentor, the guy who's trained me and invested in and saw something in me also sees something in this guy that we ... that most people passed over. He had applied for other positions in those things and there was was something about him that caused him to get overlooked. But when we started looking for the less conventional things, it shifted within us. And so, since then, we've started to develop a curriculum to train people who are great people. And we can train them into great professionals. But really, if we can find the right people who are risk takers, who are willing to just get in there and try some stuff, who aren't afraid to make mistakes, who are open-minded to where things could go, and also have a little knack for thinking differently and outside of the box. Yeah, we figured out how to make a place for them, how to train them, and level them up into professionals and we're getting into a spot where now, we're like, cool, we got to make sure that we're compensating them correctly and we've got benefits. As this works, people are asking, "How are you doing this?" And so, we're trying to just honor that commitment. But really, I think it changed for me. Instead of trying to be a business that does really cool stuff, which we want always to continue to be true, but figuring out how could we be a business who is about something that really matters? And that something that now is like ... Awesome. Project selection is one thing. But being a company, having a culture that invests in people like John completely changed the game for me and opened my eyes to the fact that, hey, look. This isn't about making money. Walt Disney said ... He was criticized, I guess, for making movies. People said, "You only make movies to make money." And his correction to that was: "Hey, look. You've got it backwards. I don't make movies to make money. I make money because I love making movies." And I think for us, business ... The reason why I like starting businesses, I like being able to hire new people, isn't because it allows us to make more money, which ... Does it? Yeah. Our business has grown and all the good things. But for us, and Josh and I are very aligned on this, it allows us to reinvest in people, and I think that's something that over the years, it's just gotten lost. You could call it industrialization or whatever. But somewhere along the lines, we miss the facts that humanity is a gift. And what if we could amplify that through doing work and providing a place where it doesn't matter if you have experience or not, we're gonna make a place if you're the right person who wants to come on this ride for us. Sorry, I know that that took a little bit longer than you were expecting but that was something for me that I just look back and it was a massive game changer. And part of what gets me excited and keeps me inspired to do this work is the people we get to work with. And now, even as being able to figure out what this means, because people don't write handbooks about this kind of stuff, and then I look at my two girls at home and think, "Man, how could the world be different so that when these two girls venture out to be something, that they're not met with these preconceived notions of who they should be or what the world wants them to be or what they have to be. But they truly get to step into who they want to be." So yeah. It looks very different, right? Everything from Polar Notion's software to ... We got some franchise management stuff, to New Story, non profit, home building space, to being a father. And for me, it all comes back to unlocking human potential. And so that's really the common thread.
Shantel: I love that. John sounds like a great addition to the team and I'm sure, certainly elevated the culture. How can people get in touch with you? Learn more about all the businesses, Polar Notion, New Story, learn more about you or the team? What's the best way to get in touch?
Morgan: Yeah, so, I'm pretty open book. If you want to shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I do quite a bit of writing on Medium, which is where, if you're just wanting to pick my brain a little bit, that's probably a great place to start. I tend to ramble a little less and it's a little more pointed. But yeah, obviously, email is great. Try and clear the inbox out once a day, so, I can't promise it won't be the longest thing on earth or that we could go grab lunch, but try to make time for entrepreneurs who are trying to figure some stuff out.
Shantel: Great. Well, thanks so much for carving out the time, Morgan. We really appreciate your insight.
Morgan: Yeah, Shantel, I appreciate it. Love the work you're doing and thank you so much for taking the time to talk.