Paperless Parts was founded with a mission to drive innovation by making manufacturing more accessible.
We connected with Matthew Sordello, Staff Engineer, and Darcy Parker, Director Computational Geometry, to get an inside look at the company's technology, various projects, the team's culture, and more.
Quick Hit Details
- Year Founded: 2017
- Number of employees: 121
- Number of engineers: 32
- Industry: Manufacturing
Can you share a summary on what Paperless Parts does?
At a high level, Paperless Parts makes manufacturing software. We’re a SAAS platform that serves small and large job shops across the country. We enable them to quote quickly and accurately which saves them time and money to focus on what they do best.
What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?
Unfortunately, I need to be vague about our tech stack for compliance reasons. However, I can say we are hosted on AWS GovCloud. We use Django in the backend and react in the frontend with our view powered by WebGL. Geometric analysis performed on CAD files is done using custom processes and calls to our CAD kernel.
From a dev-ops perspective, we’re moving to Kubernetes and making all the changes necessary to facilitate that, which I’m excited about. We also have a great problem set for those interested in security. Because we can deal with ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) controlled data, we need to ensure that we’re compliant with some of the strictest security standards.
What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?
Model-Based Definitions(MBD) is one of the most exciting projects I think engineering is currently working on. We’re going to start showing technical specifications, like tolerances, dimensions, etc., with the 3D model of the part. Once we begin parsing this data, the sky's the limit on what we’ll be able to automate for our users when quoting.
Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?
Yes! We have “Freedom Fridays” meaning we can do whatever we want from 2pm-5pm. If that’s going home early, working on a skunk work project, or anything else, you can do it. Paperless Parts is the first company I’ve worked at with a policy like this, and it is one they honor. I’m a huge fan and hope this gets expanded on. I’ve used the time to research/implement new technologies, leave a bit early after a long week or hang out with people in the office.
What is the culture like at Paperless Parts for the engineering team?
There’s a saying here that nothing is sacred. We say that because new technologies and methods come out every day. So if there is a better way to solve a problem, we’re open to making the change. We have an overall collaborative culture that’s open to change.
I believe the goal of this engineering team is to build a platform and product that other engineers want to work on. One that our engineering friends will be jealous of. We may not be there today or tomorrow, but we’re getting there. This is the attitude that I love. When we do things right, people won’t be sure we’ve done anything at all.
What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?
There are the usual get-to-know each other questions and coding challenges. Though my favorite part is a collaborative problem that we work on as a group. The best part is the interviewee and interviewer both learn something new. Interviewing shouldn’t just be a test. If both sides can walk away with new knowledge or ideas, it’s time well spent. I have seen people approach the collaborative problem differently from myself and vice versa.
Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?
Covid’s taken its toll on the meetup scene in Boston, so I haven’t been to any in recent years. Hopefully, meet-ups get going again soon.
Rapid Fire Q&A
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Can I pick Stargate instead? Out of the two though I have to pick Star Trek. It gets me to look ahead and envision a better tomorrow.
iPhone or Android?
Android hands down, it’s a much more open platform than iOS and if you’ve ever made an iOS app you know getting it on the store isn’t fun.
Coffee - hot or iced?
Iced even when it’s cold out and never cold brew because it’s less caffeine!
Favorite employee perk?
Freedom Fridays, almost half a Friday to do whatever we want. Hard to beat that.
What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?
Now, I can definitely say Stargate. A small dedicated group of people having a large impact.