Derrick Morton knows how to keep it all in balance. He’s spent the past decade as CEO of multi-platform game developer FlowPlay while still making time for his interests — like backpacking, live music, and travel.
“My friend, co-founder, and CTO Doug Pearson and I started our journey with FlowPlay in 2007 and recently celebrated 10-years of building virtual worlds for audiences from every walk of life,” Morton said.
While Pearson handles the technology side of the business, Morton focuses on managing teams, marketing initiatives, business development, and operations. Before FlowPlay, he spent three years at RealNetworks, where he served as general manager of mobile games.
We caught up with Morton to find out how he makes time for his family, hobbies, and career. Continue reading for his answers to our Working Geek questionnaire.
Current location: “Conference room in our Pioneer Square headquarters overlooking the new Big Fish office construction.”
Computer types: “Mac, mostly because there aren’t many viruses for them.”
Mobile devices: “Android. I’m not a huge fan of iTunes and the Apple app ecosystem.”
Favorite apps, cloud services, and software tools: “For productivity, I use Keep. To log my beer recipes, I use Evernote to easily reference the pros and cons of each batch. I use Headspace for meditation and I don’t see a movie without referencing Flixster/Rotten Tomatoes.”
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “I really hate sitting down, so I’ve been at a standing desk for over 10 years and tend to pace around the office while taking calls. The entire company also works in an open floorplan and we’ve arranged six of the staff members that my co-founder and I most frequently interact with within 10 feet of us, which helps with communicating efficiently.”
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Compartmentalize your work into siloes. I try and dedicate full days, not just hours, to specific areas of the business, from marketing to finance, business development to product.”
Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “Facebook. I’ve built a pretty large network having worked in games for over 20 years, so a lot of my friends on there are also gaming industry connections. I’m also not shy about posting business news.”
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox?: “Zero unread and 4 flagged that need to be responded to.”
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? “I technically have 15 scheduled meetings this week, but on any given day that the staff is in the office (we have work from home days Tuesday and Thursday) I’ll usually have around four to six ad hoc meetings requiring my dedicated time.”
How do you run meetings? “When formal meetings are scheduled, we send out a recap of the last meeting so everyone is up to date. We have a quick review in first five minutes of the meeting and discuss what’s been done in the interim. From there, we decide the actionable items and discuss what we’ll do until the next meeting.”
Everyday work attire? “Pretty casual – jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. Today I’m wearing a TOOL t-shirt.”
How do you make time for family? “On weekdays, I never work past 5:30 p.m. in the office and don’t work on weeknights or weekends until after my family has gone to bed at around 8:30 p.m. I’ll then get in another two to three hours of work before bed.”
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “Backpacking. Every year, I’m off the grid for a total of 12 days, at least seven consecutively, where I’m completely unplugged from the internet, my cell phone, and most importantly email.”
What are you listening to? “Lately, I’ve been listening to the podcast series from neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris. I also consistently listen to books on tape if I’m driving or working in the kitchen.”
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “GeekWire, of course! I also make sure to at least read the headlines from the CNN homepage to know what’s happening around the world, while I get more of my entertainment updates from Huffington Post.”
Book on your nightstand? “I’m a parallel reader. Right now, I’m reading The Design of Everyday Things for our FlowPlay book club, listening to The Plantagenets on tape and reading The Knight of Seven Kingdoms for fun. So far, I’m 14 books into the 50+ I’m trying to read this year.”
Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? “Somewhere in between. I generally go to bed around midnight and get up at 7 a.m.”
Where do you get your best ideas? “My best ideas usually come while listening to other people talk. Mindfulness training and meditation has been a personal passion, and I’ve worked to train myself to be more present during conversations which has led to many sparks of inspiration during meetings.”
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “Richard Branson. He seems like an interesting guy who’s figured out how to be wildly successful while still enjoying life.”