Reviewing documents is a pain for anyone who deals with contracts, research papers, presentations, or reports. It is time-consuming grunt work that isn’t high-value for the people doing it and the organizations they work for.
We know. We’ve experienced it before, many times.
Sam (Macro’s CTO) and I met at Bridgewater Associates, the legendary asset management firm founded by Ray Dalio.
My role at Bridgewater was as an Investment Logic Engineer. In English, it means that I was working on algorithms to help inform investment decisions.
Our early (painful) experience with documents at Bridgewater
Wasting time annotating daily reports
Every morning, all Bridgewater employees receive a PDF research report spanning 1 to 15 pages with the firm’s daily perspective on financial markets, the global economy, asset trends, etc.
Being young and ambitious, I would read every single report and aspire to assimilate as much information as I could, but quickly realized how painful that was.
Memory alone couldn’t help me, so I would try to make highlights and annotations with Adobe Acrobat Pro. Taking notes on any parts of the document that involved calculations or graphs wouldn’t work. Importing Excel sheets would crash the application, and I would NEVER be able to find my old highlights.
Even worse, I constantly lost old reports I wanted to return to in my email or computer folders, making referencing past information a pure mess.
Might I remind you - this wasn’t even part of my work.
My job responsibilities involved analyzing large amounts of information, coming up with suggestions for improving our investment algorithms and sharing them with senior members of the Bridgewater investment team for review.
It involved reading hundreds of S-I fillings, research papers, credit agreements, and an inhumane amount of Excel sheets.
In a nutshell, I spent my days - with a total lack of efficiency - in documents.
Scrapbooking contracts together: Ty’s story
While at Bridgewater, I had a friend (Ty) who worked as an investment analyst for a top-tier credit hedge fund in New York City.
On a Wednesday evening, Ty and I had scheduled dinner to catch up.
He showed up 90 minutes late.
When he did, I asked why.
Ty: “Man, I spent the whole day reading a bunch of documents, and it sucks!”.
Ty then explained his process for reviewing long credit agreements, which blew my mind.
He was so fed up with scrolling through PDFs for hours that he would print out documents, cut out key definitions from one document, and glue them onto another copy of the original document, where they were referenced.
This way, he could quickly reference definitions when reviewing contracts.
I couldn’t believe it.
Ty, very handsomely paid as a finance analyst for generating investment reports, was doing… scrapbooking!? There had to be a better way.
Getting lost in research
While working for Bridgewater, I was also going through writing a thesis for my Master's degree.
Naturally, I spent a lot of time reading papers. A LOT.
Not only was it cumbersome to go through paperwork, but I would also constantly get lost in a black hole trying to investigate sourced papers.
At one point, I had 70 documents opened on my computer and would even redownload papers multiple times because I couldn’t find them anywhere.
Trust me: there’s nothing worse than scrolling through hundreds of pages for hours, only NOT to find what you need.
Problems with reading and reviewing documents
Problem 1: Reading documents is way too slow
When was the last time you reviewed a document from first word to last, by reading every sentence?
Chances are, that’s not how you do it. Most people jump around to get the information they need.
Yet existing ways to read documents online mimic the experience of turning book pages one at a time, going through the text in a linear fashion.
In reality, you likely:
- Read one clause
- Go over to the section where it’s referenced
- See that it’s referencing a definition
- Head to where that definition is in the document and read it
- And so on…
Most PDF viewers are linear - scroll pages or click through manually added bookmarks.
That’s not how people work.
Problem 2: Finding information is a mess
When Ty first told me how much time he lost digging for definitions, my first thought was:
“Maybe we can automate your job! Maybe firms don’t need associates/analysts spending hours researching.”
Turns out that most knowledge work involving complex information (reports, contracts, presentations) requires human thinking, which AI can’t automate:
- It requires human judgment
- Information is always missing
- It requires understanding people and their motivations
- It involves interpreting many different sources of information, like internal documentation and personal experiences.
These are extremely time-consuming for humans yet unachievable for artificial intelligence.
Problem 3: Collaborating creates massive bottlenecks
Any professional dealing with external stakeholders (Legal, Finance, Real Estate, Insurance, HR, and Sales) knows collaboration creates chaos.
Everyone has their own contract version. Multiple people make edits. People send over their comments via email, etc.
What ensues is 34 versions of a document, comments everywhere, unclear highlights, never-ending email threads, and lost copies.
And that’s to find the most up-to-date versions.
Once you do, someone must consolidate edits and prepare a final version, which involves even more back-and-forth.
Problem 4: Available tools don’t cut it
Sam had a similar experience as Ty and I. So, we tried to find a tool that made reading and analyzing documents easy and fast.
We couldn’t find one.
I had a personal distaste with Adobe. Mainly because of the clunkiness involved with the platform, but also because of the pain of managing a subscription with Adobe products. They force you onto bundles that overload your computer with unnecessary downloads.
Just an awful experience overall.
I then tried to find a way to consolidate my documents, and ended up on Litera. My frustration grew when I learned that the only way to access Litera Compare was to talk to sales and that Litera’s pricing wasn’t transparent at all and could run up to 6 figures!
After further research, I realized that I wasn’t the only one:
So Sam and I decided to build the perfect solution for reading documents: Macro.
Here’s why you should care 👇
Grunt work is costing businesses a fortune
There are 2 sides to this coin, which I explain below and showcase in this graphic.
- Professional services
Think of how many hours are wasted reviewing and consolidating documentation. Associates report spending 90% of their time on contracts!
Generating revenue from billable hours? Your billables most likely to be written off are hours spent by associates doing grunt work.
With an efficient document review process, firms onboard more clients without compromising quality and cut costs by doing more with fewer employees.
- Businesses employing professional services
Chances are, you’re overpaying for professional services. You shouldn’t have to pay for your legal or finance provider’s inefficiencies.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s justifiable to pay the high price for outstanding legal or financial work.
However, people want to pay lawyers to think. To exert very specific expertise on a problem or objective, not to manually compare redlines or scroll through contracts.
Clients expect better, faster service
There’s nothing like providing high-quality work to clients on time.
I’ve spoken to hundreds of lawyers over the past few months.
I kept hearing: “Whatever people might say, clients are always happier when work is delivered fast.”
Clients value and are happy to pay for outcomes. Not the grunt work that comes with it.
Furthermore, they expect bulletproof documentation from service providers - and they want it fast!
Most practices grow through referrals from happy clients, so this can’t be taken lightly.
How Macro is changing the way people read online digital documents
After my friend Ty explained his “cut-and-glue” method to read contract clauses, he picked up one cut-out definition, put it next to a word on his printed document, and said:
“If you can make it so that when I click on a term, clause, or section like this one, I can read its definition, you would save me and my firm thousands of hours.”
So we did.
In Macro, documents become clickable so you can read them 10x faster. Click on terms to view their definitions or what they reference.
Before Macro: Scrolling for hours
After Macro: Context in one click
“Macro makes reviewing complex documents fast and painless. No more octopus arms trying to keep a finger on all the relevant clauses and definitions.”
Consultant @ King & Wood Mallesons
Elevating human intelligence
When we started working on Macro, Sam and I asked ourselves 2 questions:
- What aspects of human intelligence can be elevated by technology?
- How can we make it accessible to all?
The answer IS NOT to ask professionals to exit documents to go on Google or ask ChatGPT a question. Nor is it to go back to file folders and search for information in past contracts.
The answer is providing the information right there while writing or reading.
With Macro’s LLM (Large Language Model), people can:
✅ Review clauses
✅ Look up internal documents
✅ Answer questions
✅ Auto-complete paragraphs
✅ Summarize long documents
✅ Find mistakes
✅ Double-check facts
✅ Rewrite sections
Here’s an example:
“The ability to work efficiently is more important than ever. [...] Tools available to you, such as Macro [...] that allow you to move much faster when responding to client demands and in getting your day-to-day work done smarter.”
Enabling Painless Collaboration
Enhanced navigation and instant access to knowledge are transformative, but it’s missing one key element - contracts often involve many stakeholders.
To make it seamless from the first read to the final version, we had to fix document versioning bottlenecks.
Here’s what a typical document review process looks like 👇
With Macro, professionals can compare as many document versions as they like.
Not only do they get individual blacklines, but Macro also generates a consolidated version with every edit, compatible with any file format.
Working towards the future of knowledge work
Macro’s vision is to elevate how humans create and consume knowledge, specifically text.
We want people who use Macro to feel like they have total focus while also being in an Ironman suit.
Imagine sitting at your desk on a quiet night in front of a typewriter.
Lights are dimmed, glass of wine by your side.
The door is locked, and your phone is off. There’s just you, and a piece of paper. You have complete clarity of thought, and can let your mind run free.
You pick up your glasses, and suddenly your document becomes alive. When you write or read something, the information you need automatically appears in front of your eyes.
You think of something, and the answer appears. You can summon other data interpretation methods, such as graphs, timelines, or images.
You feel like a cyborg with superhuman intelligence.
It’s this combination of focus and elevated thinking that Macro strives to help you reach.
Want to be part of the journey?
Review 10x faster with Macro