SignNow Blog

Productivity Growth Relentlessly Grows Through Technology

This post was submitted by Chris Hawkins

Recently, The Conference Board Total Economy Database reported that global productivity growth slowed. What gives? Aren’t we supposed to be in a jobless recovery? Isn’t software eating the world, and driving us toward a future where nobody needs to work? The reality is that this recovery is weaker than usual, but the macro trend is the same: technology makes us consistently more productive each and every year.

To understand any misperception, lets dig into how some of the terms being used.

First, what is labor productivity? Labor productivity is real GDP produced per hour of labor. Don’t confuse GDP with the stock market. The stock market can vary widely from GDP and GDP growth, as shown in the chart below:


Source: Seeking Alpha


Over the last few months, the stock market has grown tremendously at about 30%, GDP growth was a reasonably strong 4%, but labor productivity grew a more tepid 1.7%.

What is a jobless recovery? A jobless recovery in theory would be one where economic growth has recovered, but employment has not. Because productivity has gone up, definitionally this cannot be true. Statistically, the labor market recovery over the last few years has been consistent with Okun’s rule of thumb. This means it is not any more “jobless” relative to the growth rate than previous recoveries.

So why has this 2008 recession been perceived to be “jobless”? The major difference is that GDP growth has been slower. For reference, after the recession of ‘81 the GDP growth bounced to 5.9%, or roughly 50% faster than today’s recovery.

So the reality is that we are in a slower recovery, not a jobless one, in the middle of an era of continued, sustained, technology driven productivity growth. Since the 1950s, labor productivity has grown very consistently. Technology is constantly augmenting and replacing human labor to do more for less. This isn’t a trend that moves in large spurts, rather is a collective effort, much like Moore’s law. At a very consistent 2% labor productivity growth rate you can assume that we can provide roughly the same standard of living today, with effectively no human input, in about 36 years.


Source: National Bureau of Economic Research


It is obvious to anyone in the technology business. The amount of work an individual can accomplish and the speed by which they can accomplish it is moving at a tremendous pace. You can work anywhere, anytime. Workforce automation tools save people time from menial tasks. The costs to deploy sophisticated IT infrastructures have been and continue to come down dramatically.

The real winners of this trend will be those who invest in technology. Companies that don’t make their employees a little more productive every year will be quickly outpaced.

So find something, automate it, and win.



Chris Hawkins was the founder of SignNow, an eSigning and workforce automation tool, and is now a GM at Barracuda Networks. Barracuda Networks is a leading technology company that focuses on making IT solutions easy and affordable for businesses of all sizes.


SignNow – 1st eSignature platform used for National Signing Day

We are incredibly excited to have partnered with UCLA to be the first company to enable high school athletes to eSign their National Letters of Intent.

Electronic NLIs National Signing Day

From the UCLA Athletic Department:

For the first time, UCLA football recruits will now be able to sign their National Letters of Intent (NLI) electronically during the 2014 National Signing Day period. One of the first universities to take advantage of this new platform, UCLA is offering football recruits the electronic signature option through SignNow by Barracuda. SignNow allows users to sign and fill out documents via computer or mobile device.

The process is simple. UCLA will email recruits both NLI and scholarship contracts, which can be electronically signed beginning Wednesday, Feb. 5. Electronic signatures can be drawn by using a mouse or by hand on the screen of a mobile device. Once the form is filled out by both the recruit and parent, a final copy will be sent to the family and university via email, expediting the process of receiving and verifying the letter.

“Once the NCAA approved electronic signatures for NLIs, it was an easy decision to partner with SignNow on this project,” explained UCLA Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Matt Elliott. “The technology provides accurate time stamps and ensures that we receive the signed contracts as soon as they are executed.”

Various sports-related uses of the SignNow platform include Pepsi notarizing more than 500 signatures for photos submitted from around the country to be used as part of the 2013 Superbowl Halftime Show and Brooklyn Nets’ All-Star point guard Deron Williams signing a $98M contract on his iPad using the electronic signature app.

“UCLA Football is all about forward thinking and using new technologies to improve efficiency and effectiveness,” said UCLA Football Director of Player of Personnel Pat Girardi. “Signing a National Letter of Intent electronically will be cutting-edge, and we want this year’s recruits to be able to say they are the first to ever do such a thing. Our goal is to be on the forefront of exciting technology coming down the pipeline. This is just another advancement in the Bruin Revolution.”


So what was the result?  UCLA got a great class of recruits, we had no hiccups….. And the industry was a big fan.  Check out a few of our mentions:

Fox Sports:

LA Times:,0,7480194.story#axzz2sb86tQuo

Bleacher Report:

College Football Talk (NBC Sports):

Yahoo! Sports:–ncaaf.html

Business Week:

New Jersey:

Courier Journal:


Want to get your favorite sports team onboard?  Just give us a call.

SignNow + Webmerge = More Document Flexibility Than Ever

Does the text of your documents change constantly? Need to collect form information to populate a changing word document? Now SignNow can help you with a wider range of document types with our newest integration partner: WebMerge. Webmerge lets you upload a Fillable PDF, a customized Word document, or build one from scratch using an online Document Builder. it supports flexible document types, dynamic content, and deliverability options.

Below we’re going to show you how easy it is to generate a contract using Webmerge and send it to SignNow. The first step is to setup the document in WebMerge. We’ve taken a pretty boilerplate contract and put in our template variables for the customized information (name, company, pricing, terms, etc) that will be unique to each specific contract.


Our next step is to setup the Delivery option that will send the merged contract to SignNow. For this step, you’ll need to go to the Delivery tab, then click New Delivery and choose SignNow. Next, authorize Webmerge to send documents to your account.



After you have authorized WebMerge, you will be redirected back to the Delivery setup. Here is where you will indicate who should be signing the document. This can be a specific person/email address or you can use a variable that you have setup in your document. For our example, the signer will be the client, so we are going to use the “email” variable we have setup in our document. There are also a few other settings your can setup under the Advanced Options.



Once you have the Delivery setup, our next step is to generate a sample contract to see this all working! Let’s jump over to the Merge tab and click the Manual Entry option. Here, you’ll see a Merge URL, go ahead and click that and you’ll see a simple form that lists all of the variables that are in your document. Enter in the information you’d like merged to the contract and click Merge. This will send that information to your document and then send the document to your client via SignNow.  They should see the document ready for signature in seconds.



Now you have more power and flexibility than ever in getting new and unique types of documents signed.  If you are interested in help setting up this integration, simply contact

We’re Moving

Just a friendly heads up, we are joining the rest of the Barracuda blogs next week at a new url:

We plan on increasing the great content in 2014, so stay tuned!

New Feature! Import Fields From Other Templates/Documents

We’re super excited to be releasing the Import Fields feature. As the name implies, it allows users to import the fields (and roles, of course) from an existing template or document. And that includes team templates. NOTE: Your fields will be placed in the exact same location as they were in the original document/template, so depending on your new document you may have to reposition them. Don’t forget that you can’t drag fields from one page to another.

Where You Will Find It

In any document or template’s editing view, you’ll see the Import Fields at the very top of your screen (to the right of the Hide Menus button). You may also have History available up there, which would show up between Hide Menus and Import Fields. You can also import fields from within the invite process. How cool is that?

SignNow Import Fields

How It Works

1. Navigate to the Source Document

You can choose from Documents, Archive, or Templates (Team Templates coming soon).

Import Fields - Step 1

2. Select the Specific Document/Template

Browse through your files and find the one from which you would like to import your fields.

Import Fields - Step 1

3. See a List of Roles and Associated Fields

For reference purposes, you will see how many fields there are for each role.

Import Fields - Step 3

4. Select the Roles You Want to Import

After you’ve selected the roles you wish to import, click the Import Fields button.

Import Fields - Step 4

5. Congratulations! Your Fields and Roles Have Been Imported!

You will now see the fields in the exact same location as they were in the original document. And the roles are over on the right. You could even add new roles if necessary.

Import Fields - Step 6

Examples of When You Could Use It

1. Making Slight Changes to the Underlying Document

Maybe you’ve got all the fields and roles set up just right and you want to use them in another nearly-identical document, that contains only slight changes in text. But to re-do all those fields…the horror! Not anymore! Just import fields.

2. Customizing a Team Template That’s Been Shared With You

Your team admin has built this amazing template with all the fields and roles you could ever need. The problem is that you need some slight alterations, or a customized version with information specific to you. Or you have to upload different contracts for each client but need to use those same fields every time. Import those fields!

3. To Correct an Error (Whatever the Reason May Be)

You’ve spent 25 minutes creating an unbelievable template with fields for you and your signer. Then by accident you insert a text element instead of a field and have saved it. Uh oh – now it’s in there, but you don’t want that in your template. No problem. Just re-upload the document and import the fields you spent so long creating. Or, maybe you mis-spelled your client’s name or some terms have changed in the contract. Not to worry. Just upload the correct document and import your precious fields.

More Information

This is just a brief look at the Import Fields feature. We’ll be creating a more thorough guide as well as a video tutorial. Stay tuned for that!