About Duff

A dual national (US and UK), Duff Johnson spent his first thirteen years in England. Following a few stints in the commercial fishing industry in Canada and Alaska, Duff was soon writing internal software documentation for IBM in Boulder, Colorado.

In 1992, Duff went to work as a full-time political campaign operative where his innovative use of public-records databases helped foster a new world of targeted field operations. A political consultant from 1992 until 1995, Duff managed or contributed to campaigns in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin, and contributed to campaigns in several Caribbean countries.

Duff founded Document Solutions, Inc. (DSI) in 1996. The original idea for DSI was to service the political consulting industry with full-text search access to a candidate’s collected public record. It wasn’t a success – Duff sold precisely one (1) such project! Along the way, however, it became clear that plenty of organizations wanted solutions for electronic documents, and needed help making them work just right.

A confessed diving fanatic, Duff made his first SCUBA dive in 2003, and was instantly hooked. While warm water is always attractive, Duff also likes to dive in his native New England waters and other cold-water locations. He holds Divemaster and Solo Diver certifications with approximately 725 dives logged (as of July, 2016). Far too few.

Duff lives and works in Winchester, Massachusetts.

Background & ExperienceIndustry Leadership

A few things I’m great at

From blue-sky thinking to red team analysis, Duff’s consultancy offers strategic benefits for a wide variety of vendors and consumers.


  • Product and marketplace analysis
  • Feature specification
  • User interface assessment
  • Team facilitation


  • Marketing strategy assessment
  • Marketing plan development
  • Website analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Sales tools and content development
  • Branding


  • ECM requirements assessment
  • Technology and solution specification
  • Vender review and selection
  • Project oversight


  • Needs assessment
  • Visual articulation
  • Business planning
  • Red team analysis


  • Expert assessment of opportunities in document technology
  • Prospectus development
  • 3rd party negotiation
  • Leadership review and hiring
  • Interim CEO / COO


  • Researched, developed and wrote a business plan for an API developer
  • Provided ad hoc product management consulting
  • Ghost-wrote a software review
  • Advised on creation and development of sales tools
  • Facilitated a product analysis and development retreat
  • Reviewed a prototype for a major hardware manufacturer
  • Compared technologies for a venture capital organization
  • Developed and wrote specifications for web-based research software & image-processing software
  • Developed licensing model and transition plan
  • Analyzed competing business plans

iText Software

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NetCentric Technologies

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Closing Binders

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Although discretion is the norm, a few clients have generously allowed me to describe (in general terms) my work for them, and have provided testimonials regarding my services.

2013 was a year of great change for iText. Our rapid growth had outrun our existing paradigm. Duff Johnson helped us renegotiate existing relationships, update our licensing model, enhance our sales tools, professionalize the organization and create a business plan to take us to the next level. We’ve doubled the staff and more hires are planned in the future. The already existing growth is now running in the next gear.

– Bruno Lowagie, Founder of iText

Duff helped NetCentric move our marketing efforts to a better, more focused, consistent and effective place, including leveraging our years of standards committee work helping to develop PDF/UA. This has helped further fuel our rapid growth and cement our position as the leading vendor for tools and services in the PDF/other accessible documents space. We’re very happy about Duff’s work on behalf of NetCentric!

– Monir ElRayes, founder of NetCentric Technologies (makers of CommonLook)

Duff helped me on both technical and business strategy matters. His advice is very valuable; he’s helped me organize my thinking about the road ahead.

– Mark Mansoor, Founder of Closing Binders

Why Section 508 Needs PDF/UA

The following article was presented as Duff’s 2nd round of testimony to the US Access Board on the NPRM for Section 508 released February 18, 2015. The Remarks are in addition to my previous testimony…


Can you imagine a world without HTML? How about PDF?

It’s impossible, even in principle, to imagine a world without HTML, isn’t it? Certainly, there are various ways to convey textual content… but textual information will itself be a means…


Does your ECM system support PDF? Are you sure?

Here’s a conversation I have quite often with CIOs and IT managers, not to mention ECM industry people. It usually starts like this: ME: Does your ECM system support PDF documents?


I’m interested in…

learning about consulting opportunities, interesting problems and other ways in which my capabilities, experience, knowledge or contacts might be helpful.

To discuss how I might be able to help your organization, or on ISO or AIIM Committee business, please email

To contact me regarding PDF Association business, please email me at

I’m happy to respond to inquires from the press, standards committee participants, members of the PDF Association, and others who have questions about enterprise content management, electronic documents and PDF technology.