There has been so much angst about 1Password raising $200 million in new funding and many are expecting that the 14-year old company is going to be ruined by an influx of cash. It is understandable that their fans are worried — too much money corrupts. But why are reporters showing paranoia when instead they should be asking questions? (For starters: Why so much money?)
If you ask me, money won’t ruin 1Password. There are precedents for this sort of thing: Atlassian was a private, self-grown business that thrived for years before it took venture capital and then went public. The capital only helped expand its footprint. It continues to thrive.
1Password is a totally remote company, which doubled its workforce over the past 18-months. So, it is not surprising to think that they might need a cash infusion. My guess is that the new capital is going to be put towards growing their footprint in the corporate sector, where security has been one of the biggest areas of spending right now — about $124 billion in 2019 according to Gartner, a research company. In 2022, that will balloon to $170 billion. 1Password has a good presence in corporations big and small, but it has rivals who are better funded and are chasing a similar market.
What we should be worried about is that 1Password could start behaving like Dropbox, forcing crappy new features and higher prices on its customers. That would upset me a lot because I currently get a lot of use out of 1Password. It is one annual subscription I actually don’t mind paying. Thanks to them, I have gotten into a habit of changing my passwords once a month, which has made things a lot easier. I do so because I tend to live in “private mode” on my Brave Browser. When I use Safari, that too is in private mode. So, I appreciate the importance of passwords.
Talking about passwords, here is a wonderfully elaborate article by Jon Xavier on passwords and how we should think about them in our increasingly digital, connected, and difficult-to-secure world. And when you are done reading that, check out designer Khoi Vinh’s piece on why passwords are a design problem.
And as for 1Password, if you don’t like it and live in the Apple ecosystem, then you can totally use Keychain and not have to sweat paying for 1Password. That said, I much prefer my ability to manage my password life with 1Password. And I expect that will continue to be the case.