Dean is co-founder and chief maker at Paperform, a powerful form builder. He’s married to his co-founder Diony, and they have two boys and a small dog.
Q: What would you like to see your team accomplish in 2019?
We’re prioritizing long term growth in 2019 – up until the start of 2019 Paperform was a two-man operation, but we decided that if we are going to grow Paperform to its full potential, that we couldn’t go it alone any longer. We’re now a team of six, and everything about the rest of 2019 has been around building a stable product, team, and growth strategy so that as our growth accelerates, we have the resources to support it well.
For our marketing team, this means prioritizing longer-term strategies (like content and SEO) over short-lived quick wins. For the product team, we’re refining the product and processes around it before moving on to new features, products, etc.
Q: Who is your role model or hero?
Jason Fried and DHH!
Q: What is your favorite book?
I don’t read many business books, but I did enjoy Zero to One (Peter Thiel) and The Icarus Deception (Seth Godin).
Q: Do you use any specific method or system to run daily operations?
We’re experimenting with variations on the lean methodology for our day to day. Our teams organize work into weekly sprints, with a weekly sprint planning meeting, though we’re not afraid to ditch the system where it makes sense.
We also do weekly team sync that gives everyone a cross-functional overview of what’s happening elsewhere in the business. We try and keep meetings under the 40-minute mark.
Q: Why did you choose your present industry at this time?
My professional history is as a programmer. I’ve worked in a few different industries before Paperform, but the SMB B2B space always looked really appealing to me.
Having worked for large corporates, I didn’t want my first business to be at the beck and call of large stakeholders, and the comparatively small deal sizes at Paperform means that we’ll never lose a significant chunk of our revenue should a large customer decide to leave.
In regards to the form space, form builders is a huge category with a lot of competition, but a lot of the competition aren’t doing a great job with their products. We started making Paperform, because we believed we could do a much better job of forms themselves, and that forms are a great entry point to providing more tools for businesses in the future.
Q: What is the best/worst moment you can remember in your career?
The best moment of my career so far was when we hit the point of sustainability in that first year of Paperform. It was proof to myself that we can run a business, and we don’t need to work for others!
Q: Looking back – if you could advise a younger version of yourself to do something different – what would it be?
Take some time to plan things before doing them. My natural tendency is to think-by-doing, but this only scales to a certain point. The biggest issue with this style of thinking, is that it is impossible to communicate.
Follow on Twitter: @dean_mcpherson