Why we built Paper
We didn’t start out to make contract software. We actually began making software to predict wind farm energy output so producers could better price their energy into the electrical grid. Unfortunately, while in the process of a licensing deal with a large prospective customer everything came crashing down due to people not understanding contracts they had signed in the past. We were devistated. But we became very passionate to fix contracts. To make them easier to understand. The process less chaotic. So people can build for the future without being haunted by the past.
What we think’s going to happen
Contracts will change more in the next five years than they have in the last 3,000. Our digital world moves too fast for contracts to remain static blocks of text being emailed around. With no data, no workflow, no automation, no transparency. If we want people to understand contracts faster, approve them faster, and sign them faster, then we need a new set of tools to design better contracts and processes. Tools to make them more interactive, more intelligent and more powerful. With Paper, we empower your team to collaborate and manage contracts better than ever. But we also help you transform your contracts for this digital world.
The evolution of contracts
It’s been about 3,000 years since we’ve really transitioned the medium of contracts from pieces of paper after we shifted frm clay to papyrus. In that time, our world and our relationships has become increasingly complex. But our contracts haven’t been upgraded.
Activating contracts with internet technology
We already know what happens when traditional interfaces are digitized and put online. They rapidly become exponentially more useful and usable. Other people build on-top of them and extend them to deliver new solutions to the market. The best example is maps. Maps used to be clunky, large pieces of paper that took forever to unfold and figure out where you were and the best route to get there. And the worst part, the route you planned to take was not driven by data. If you didn’t hit traffic or construction, you were either lucky or lying.
All the biggest problems in contract management become much simpler to solve when we agree to shift paradigms from static to dynamic, just like with city maps. Knowledge management, performance analytics, permissions, tracking, collaboration, and automation all become much simpler when we agree to move forward to internet-enabled contracts.
Here’s an example of some tech we’re working on:
Problem: Of all the problems with contracts, one of the worst is the navigation menu. Or the lack of it. Contracts are really hard to navigate. And the inherent structure of contracts require us to manually move around the document to find section references and defined terms.
By the time you find the section reference or defined term you started hunting for, you forget why you’re even there. It’s like a perfect trap for procrastination. No one likes reading contracts. So if you’re workflow is broken, you drop it and move onto to more interesting things.
If that’s your sales contract, your deal time just got extended by at least a day. Maybe two. If that’s your vendor MSA, then your vendors are signing contracts they don’t understand. If they comply, they’ll either be lucky or wrong.
Solution: If you need to figure out what Section 12(b) says, why can’t you just hover over that reference to see it. It turns out, when you make it easier for people to read defined terms and section references in-context, people read contracts 28% faster with far better comprehension. In a world where consensus and speed matter, this is huge. Sometimes small changes have big impact.
Join the Contract Re:Design Slack Group
Become part of a community of people that care about making contracts more human. Meet like-minded people, ask for advice, share ideas, or just observe. We’d love for you to be a part of it.