In the “Midst of Things” instead of “Out of Touch”
What sets working at PaperCut apart from run-of-the-mill jobs is the fair balance of hands-on customer care and high-minded technical development that everyone here gets involved in. (Well that and the free gourmet coffee.) In other companies out there these activities are usually separated into separate departments, which more often than not results in some sort of Chinese Wall that makes sure customers’ concerns get preciously little attention in product development.
In “The Power of the Marginal” technology entrepreneur and writer Paul Graham writes about the competitive advantage of companies thus structured: “The needs of customers and the means of satisfying them are all in one head.” In practice that means that at PaperCut, the customer’s question about a printer that seems not to be supported and the resulting update to the software that is being delivered to them by email are not more than a few hours apart. Bigger features may take a few weeks but we don’t usually refuse any functionality that has been demanded by at least 5 or so of our customers. And while other software products will entertain you with messages like “Error 0x800051ef has occurred”, error messages in PaperCut come with a one-click button that will deliver detailed information directly onto the developer’s desk so that the problem can be pinned down on the spot and the answer emailed back to the customer.
This is also why I recommend our customers to subscribe to Upgrade Assurance, where at little additional cost to their license they get a first-row seat in this feedback loop and can focus on their actual work, knowing that their print accounting will be kept up-and-running for years to come.