By John Gruber
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A few quick follow-up thoughts and tweets following yesterday’s item on 1Password raising an additional $620 million in funding, as they move to the enterprise market.
First, a few readers (and Dithering co-hosts) made the argument to me that the fact that good password management is getting built into OSes and web browsers is exactly why 1Password needs to move to the enterprise. That their traditional personal/family use market is disappearing, and enterprises have needs that consumer OS and web browser feature can’t address. How, for example, does a business share passwords (and similar secrets/tokens) with dozens of employees and contractors who need access to them? Maybe that is a multi-billion dollar opportunity. Honestly, what the hell do I know about the enterprise market? (Seriously.)
But, still, whether what 1Password is doing is smart business or not, there’s no question that the longtime 1Password users I know personally are unhappy. They’re not happy that the new 1Password 8 for Mac is built on Electron. They’re not happy that 1Password is going subscription-only. They’re not happy that 1Password vaults are now only hosted by 1Password. But these are all decisions that make perfect sense for the enterprise SaaS world. It might not be feasible to move to the new model without spoiling what many 1Password users liked best about their old one.
I’m with @gruber here. This much investment and valuation is going to AWAKEN THE EVIL GOD OF ARPU and I fear 1Password will succumb to his demands.
(“ARPU” = Average Revenue Per User.)
On a plus side, the product has never been better and the new features added last year and coming later this year are great. Also, the founders are still majority owners of 1Password and we all are huge @backlon fans — there is no chance for the EVIL GOD of ARPU.
We might even get @gruber to start using 1Password one day — we weren’t successful so far, no matter how much AppKit we used.
True! I never did use 1Password, personally. I’ve always thought it to be a great product from a great company, but, well, I had my own system for managing passwords from before 1Password existed (which admittedly is a long time ago: they started in 2005) and as the years have gone on, I’ve slowly moved from merely using Apple’s iCloud Keychain to depending upon it.
1Password’s transition reminds me, though, of an app I do use, previously loved, and now can’t wait to eliminate: Dropbox. Used to be just a folder that syncs, with lightweight Mac software that stayed out of the way and just did its job — keeping that one magic folder in sync. Now, well, it’s neither lightweight nor stays out of the way.
I’m rooting for the 1Password team though. If anyone can transition to a VC-backed enterprise model yet remain true to their Mac and iOS roots, maybe it’s them. Solid Safari extension support is a good sign.