Cast Member Highlight - Jordan Morgan
BY CAST TEAM
03 • 21 • 2018
We sat down with Cast member Jordan Morgan for a fun Q&A about life, professional goals, and why he chose to work in an open office setting.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: “At first I wanted to be a pilot, like my dad, in the Air Force. I always loved video games and electronics but never thought I would be able to work with them." In 7th & 8th grade Jordan wanted to be an architect, to make roller coasters and thrill rides for amusement parks. He went to Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) for 5 years, never taking a semester off. After years of school with no declared major, he eventually decided on a computer software engineering degree.
Q: What is your job position now?
A: “My “title” is Software Engineer for Buffer. A more recognizable term would be programmer. I code all day long and make iPhone apps. Code, code, and more code.”
Q: What led you to this position in your career?
A: “After not knowing what to do in college, I began looking into OTC’s CIS degree; Which we are super lucky to have such a great program here in Springfield, MO.” Jordan says. He bought a lot of books and began researching programming and how it worked. His first experience in programming was when he made a video game with game salad. This abstracted away the programming so he could use high-level programming without writing the code. He loved it.
He always wanted to work with iPhone apps, but he knew that no one teaches iOS in the Springfield area (only Windows curriculum). During his graduating year, he purchased a book about how to program iPhone apps it instantly clicked.
His first job after graduating OTC was at HealthMEDX (now Netsmart ) with healthcare software. The senior engineer there took Jordan under his wing and taught him a lot about working in the technology field.
Eventually, Jordan got “burnt out” with so many regulations and a strict office environment. As pressure mounted, he started searching for full time positions working with iOS, something he loved doing. He stumbled upon Buffer after reading a blog post, and started learning about the company’s transparency and revenue policy. Jordan was already familiar with Buffer, as he used it for side projects. Jansyn, his wife, told him to apply. Out of thousands of applicants, he got a call back. The rest is history.
Q: Are you paid doing what you love? If not, what would you like to be paid to do?
A: “Yes!” I get to program and work on everything I love in the tech world. As a programmer, I love side projects and building things.” After starting a family, Jordan relates that it became harder to dedicate extra time to side projects, however he still plays around with new ideas and brainstorms with other Buffer colleagues to “scratch that creative itch.”
Jordan loves that Buffer offers a learning stipend that allows all employees to purchase any Kindle book they would like to read. He mentions that the CEO of Buffer is incredibly passionate about changing how “work works.” He says, “Work wherever makes you happy, work-life-balance is critical, unlimited vacation, no schedule, and it’s all about acing communication.”
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: “My sole responsibility is iPhone/iPad (iOS) app for Buffer.” He makes sure it’s “best in class.” According to Apple, that means featuring all the latest technology, such as 3D touch tech. Whatever the newest iPhone has, Jordan will build for that. Two team members work on the iOS app at Buffer, and Jordan’s coworker Andy has been there since Buffer started. The mobile team makes its own roadmap and have “a ton of autonomy. We know best and they let us do what we need.”
Jordan mentioned the AGILE development methodology and how stressful it is, and what ultimately burnt him out at his previous job. It consisted of “two week sprints, and around here it is very popular.”
In contrast, Buffer is very loose with schedules – there is no “red tape” and there is more of a “do what needs to be done” mentality. The feedback loop is super tight; Feedback Advocates tell Jordan, and he and Andy fix it right away.
Q: What are you reading/listening to/watching/making?
A:The One Device – This recently publish book is about the history of the iPhone and how it’s made. Jordan tries to read for 10 minutes every day.
Irresistible – Interesting read about how we are all addicted to smartphones and technology.
He wants to read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Jordan loves to highlight and take notes on his Kindle. He uses the Streaks App for reading and waking up on time.
Q: How do you go about setting your daily/weekly schedule?
A: Jordan keeps it similar to a typical office routine (which is funny because he is considered a remote worker). “I like knowing I can be mentally done with work at a specific time and can spend my free time with my family.” Jordan needs stability in his work schedule for his them, so they know when to expect him home. “8:00-4:00pm is my groove.” It makes him feel different coming to a coworking space knowing that he made the choice to do so.
Jordan Morgan's dedicated desk at Cast Co+Work+Space
Q: What are some of your most proud accomplishments?
A: “Spirituality is big for me - leading my family and being a good husband and father.” Every single morning when he wakes up, he reads a life guide note to remind him of what’s important.
He is proud with what Buffer has done with iOS. “It is getting a lot of buzz in the industry.” Jordan really enjoys pumping things out “super-fast” with Andy. Being able to move fast is huge in this industry, and he is proud to have a remote job that he loves.
*Toot toot* Jordan is psyched to have paid off almost all his family’s debt (credit cards, house bills, student loans, over 70k). Buffer keeps everything transparent and his pay is public knowledge.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: “I love video games (yes, that’s a stereotypical answer in this profession)”. He also writes frequently. Check out his blog, The Traveled iOS Developer’s Guide, hosted on Medium. He enjoys movies at Alamo Draft House and loves watching and playing basketball with his kiddos. “Benny already has a mean cross over, [he’s] gonna be rippin’ fools.”
Q: Favorite tool to stay productive (for example a specific planner or application, your favorite set of pens, an exercise program)?
A: He says the typical answer is Pomodoro timers. However, Jordan uses Noisli, specifically on the coffee shop ambience setting. It makes him productive and it “basically makes it sound like you’re at a Starbucks or Hebrews Coffee.”
He loves Spotify and has a chill and hard coding playlist. “The Chill is a lot of movie soundtracks. Hard playlist is hard rock.”
CAFFEINE – Jordan has at least 5 espresso shots every morning (thanks Starbucks in Ozark, MO). Yes, he has hit the maximum threshold for espresso shots, it involves “clouded thoughts - almost like a hangover.”
Q: What is something you have learned this year?
A: “The importance of work-life-balance. Just because you work at a company that focuses on it, it doesn’t make you do it well until you make the changes in your life.” He described a haunting image of him hovered over a laptop and his kids thinking he works too much. “Programming makes you think about programming all the time. I try to not think about it once I step outside of Cast CoWorkSpace.”
Q: What do you think people can do to make the world a better place?
A: “Find what you are good at and what makes you tick in life.” According to Jordan, after you have found that:
- Do that thing.
- Give a chance to share that with thing other people in life.
From that point of view, Jordan gives career guidance at OTC and speaks with students about a career in computer software engineering. He has had a lot of people ask for help and he loves teaching.
Q: What movie/TV show character do you most identify with and why?
A: “Inception and its main character, Dominick Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.” Jordan noted he is notorious about never getting misty eyed about anything. Although, once he had kids he became super soft about everything. This is similar to Cobb’s character having that “ah-ha” moment about sentimental life lessons.
Jordan also relates to the main character, Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt in Moneyball. He likes the relationship dynamic between Beane and his daughter. “He [Beane] made a lot of life decisions based upon his daughter’s needs.”
Q: If you had 1 billion dollars you would…
A: “Take a year off, hang out and splurge, then get back to Buffer.” He would work on side projects that he doesn’t have time for now. “I would buy every single white Mossimo t-shirt from Target because they are getting rid of that brand.” *Sad face*
Q: What should the Cast Coworkspace community know about you?
A: “I love pizza, caffeine, and making software.”
Q: Why did you want to work in a coworking space?
A: Jordan notes it was a necessity with Buffer, which is based in California. He needed a place to focus and not be around kids. “Mentally, it feels so weird working from home. I feel like I should not be working when I’m at home. I am absolutely more productive in a coworking space.”
He also enjoys the drive from Ozark, MO to Cast Coworkspace in Springfield, MO, a chance to catch up on his favorite podcasts.
Q: What are your thoughts on coworking in general?
A: “Coworking is going to be huge for remote work. It is only getting more popular and bigger. Remote work can work for almost any personality type.” Jordan stated that he “needs” and enjoys being around people in a coworking atmosphere. He feels that you lose comradery being remote, but you gain it back by working out of a coworkspace.
Q: How likely are you to suggest a friend, coworker, or someone in your field to use a coworking space?
A: “It all comes down to experience. What works for you? Do coffee shops work for you? What about working from home? You won’t be able to figure out what works for you until you try something different. Definitely try it [coworking].”
Q: What makes you awesome?
A: “Bennett & Remmy!” His kiddos make him awesome.
“I’m also lucky to have a good support system with my family, teachers, and the Buffer network.” Jordan says he is super self-motivated, excited about getting noticed for work accomplishments, and is thankful for landing the job at Buffer.
Q: Lastly, to leave our readers with something to check out, what are your favorite applications out right now?
- Streaks - won Apple Design Award in 2016
- Day One – Journaling app
- Workflow – Apple just purchased
- Get Flow - Instead of Trello, used at Buffer
- Notion – for note taking, tasking, and projects
Jordan on his bday wearing his classic white t-shirt
- The Cast Team