Q&A: 1Password
by Mirko Zorz - Tuesday, 15 September 2009.
Carl Slawinski is the Chief Evangelist for Agile Web Solutions, the company behind 1Password, a hugely popular Mac software title. In this interview he takes us down memory lane and talks about how the idea for 1Password was born, he introduces some of the features that are coming in version 3.0 later this year, and also offers advice for Mac software developers.

1Password is the de facto choice for password safekeeping on the Mac. Can you give us some background on the project? How did you get from the raw idea to a product with a massive user base and a myriad of awards?

I am sure that a lot of us have heard that great software starts out as something that developers write for themselves as opposed to something created to be a product. This is certainly true in the case of 1Password. Roustem and Dave (the founders of Agile Web Solutions) like myself were previously Windows users and came to the Mac only in the last few years. So basically we were switchers who arrived on the Mac platform looking for Mac equivalents of software we used on Windows. The thing all of us had in common was that we were not able to find a password manager integrated into our browser on the Mac. In my case, this was the only software I did not find a Mac equivalent for and continued to search.

Roustem and Dave took matters into their own hands and decided to write their own since they both had a long history of application development in the corporate world. In early 2006 Roustem and Dave started investigating whether it was even possible to do an application of this nature on the Mac. Luckily they found that it was possible, had a beta released in May, and released 1Passwd version 1.0 on June 18th, 2006. Note the spelling of the name without the "or" in 1Password.

The original name was always intended to be 1Password and not 1Passwd but when Roustem went to purchase 1Password.com he discovered it was already taken. Since 1Password was an unproven application at that time, it was decided to change the name to the unix flavor spelling and thus it became 1Passwd. This decision tells a little more about 1Password as well.

Unlike some companies who look for seed capital or investment from the outside, Roustem and Dave decided that 1Password would have to support itself to survive. I think this is a contributing factor as to why it has been so successful as a product. We've always let 1Password stand on its own merits and interacted with users of 1Password on a close level. Ultimately, it is the users of 1Password that have made it so popular. We've always said that if we could just get people to try 1Password then we know they would love it. Therefore, we've spent almost no money on advertising and rely heavily on referrals from existing users. We have also done some promotions that other developers might label as plain crazy. In October of 2007, we were able to buy out the owner of 1Password.com and thus we changed the named to the current and originally desired name: 1Password.


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