Staying Connected: Basecamp

When you work with people who live across the country and around the world, you need a special set of tools to collaborate and keep in touch. AgileBits has been a remote company since its inception almost 10 years ago, and we’ve tried a lot of solutions to help keep us on the same page. Today, I want to tell you about Basecamp, a powerful, collaborative to-do app that helps us stay on top of all of our projects.

Basecamp is a web-based project management solution that can be as simple or as complex as we need. At its most basic level, Basecamp allows us to create to-do lists and share them with our various teams, wherever they are. Basecamp’s power is in its ease of collaboration though. We can assign tasks to our teammates, track due dates on the built-in calendar, and discuss items easily. This all happens within the context of various projects, enabling me to stay on top of my things, and remain blissfully unaware of the projects outside my purview.

Basecamp: Favourite Projects

Release, Rinse and Repeat!

Basecamp’s project templates are a feature I only recently discovered, but it’s already one of my favourites. With 1Password being developed across five platforms, we have a fair few releases and app updates that we want to tell our users about. From a social marketing standpoint, each of those releases looks roughly the same: we need to write release notes, update screenshots in our User Guide and press kit, write a blog post, and plan which features we’ll highlight in our various channels over the coming days. Now I’ve got a handy template for releases that includes all the tasks that we know we’ll need to complete, and all the necessary people are pre-assigned; it’s such a time saver!

Basecamp Template: 1Password Update

My world at a glance

Basecamp sends daily, optional emails letting me know what has changed in all the projects I follow, so that I can stay up to date without having to manually look into each project. I can also enable email notifications for tasks to which I’m assigned, so that I know when a deadline is approaching.

Team database

As our team grows, it’s getting harder and harder to know all the things, and we’re working to find ways to keep everyone in the loop. Weekly calls are scheduled with developers and support team members to discuss the top feedback from our customers, and to review progress on open bugs and feature requests. Because not everyone can participate in these calls, we store the notes in a Basecamp project so that we can get a CliffsNotes version of what’s happening on each platform.

We use Basecamp for social media style guides and for collecting relevant internal information. Its integration with Google Docs makes it a convenient place to organize our blog posts: each proposed post is assigned to an author and a Google Doc containing the draft is attached. This means I never have to go hunting through the piles of docs in my Google Drive to find a particular post.

There’s a lot more that’s awesome in Basecamp, but this is how it has made my life easier. See how Basecamp can organize your chaos on their site and let me know what features you love in the comments.


Staying connected: Slack

Did you know that most of us work remotely? We’ve got an office in Toronto and some of us pop in throughout the week to work alongside our amazing co-workers. However, the vast majority of our team work from around the world, in six countries and on two continents (so far).

A photo posted by Nik (@bleepnik) on

We get to see each other about once a year, when we convene for our annual(ish) retreat. The rest of the time, we use a variety of apps and services to collaborate and keep in touch. These tools are so invaluable to us that we thought it was high time we shared them with you and gave them a shout-out on our blog. Today, I’d like to talk about a chat app we started using about a year ago. It’s called Slack, and it helps us do everything but that.

Slack’s no slacker

When we first started using Slack, we had just a few different channels: the “water cooler” channel for chit-chat, one for announcements, one for developers, and one for our CS team. Over time, our team grew and projects diversified. Where we used to be able to have one conversation, now there are a multitude of discussions going on at once. We needed more channels.

Slack has accommodated our needs beautifully. Not only does it handle a large number of channels with speed and aplomb, but it offers us channel-specific settings that help us keep our attention and our conversations organised. For example, everyone gets notified of posts in our #announcements channel; for this reason, there is no chatter allowed there. (Most announcements have a string of emoji reactions, since they don’t generate notifications.)

You can add your avatar as an emoji, and it's rad.

You can add your avatar as an emoji, and it’s rad.

When a team-wide channel isn’t quite what’s needed, we can easily send each other direct messages or create private groups. These are just a few clicks or a keyboard shortcut away.

Speaking of which…

Do :allthethings:

Slack has a number of really useful features that aren’t immediately apparent. For example, it has excellent support for keyboard shortcuts and several built-in / (slash) commands. One of my favourites is /feedback. This special command causes my message to be sent to the Slack team as feedback, instead of appearing in the chat window once I press Return; it’s really slick! /mute is also great, handy for temporarily silencing a busy channel.

Another fantastic feature is integrations. We can easily configure any Slack channel to listen to a particular web service. We have a few channels that listen to a few different services so that we don’t miss anything important. We can see App Store reviews, server alerts, and even tweets that mention 1Password.

Slack encourages customization. It’s so easy to add our own emoji that we now have a rather large library. Slack uses aliases in addition to a visual browser, so instead of searching for that icon I added for “all the things,” I can simply type :allthethings: to make the icon appear in my message. It’s so clever and convenient that I often find myself typing the aliases in other apps; I wish they worked everywhere!


Slack on, Slack off

Whether it’s discussing a new 1Password feature, sharing a funny GIF, or celebrating personal accomplishments, Slack helps us forge real relationships in a virtual workplace. Available on every major platform (including an Apple Watch app) and offering integration of the 1Password app extension in iOS, it’s easy to use Slack wherever and whenever we need it. We are really glad Slack exists, and are grateful for their support of 1Password. You can even catch @SlackHQ and @1Password occasionally bantering on Twitter. =P


Jessysaurus Rex joins the AgileBits team!

An adventure 65 million years in the making

A couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to the wonder women of AgileBits, who make this company and 1Password what they are today. We’re happy to announce that a new member has joined that illustrious team. If you follow the world of online security, you may already be familiar with her (or at the very least with one of her security sign bunnies hopping around Twitter!).

JessysaurusRex - Jessy Irwin

Her name is Jessy Irwin, and she is an influential voice in the world of information security. She also happens to love dinosaurs. A published writer and presenter, Jessy champions online privacy and security and spends much of her time educating people about the need for strong, unique passwords; secure software development; and operational security (opsec). She works to raise security awareness among students and educators, and helps the average Internet citizen learn what they can do to keep themselves, their data, and their online identities secure. She’s an obvious choice and a natural fit for our team, and we’re so glad that she’s here. @1Password and Jessy have been each other’s Twitter boo for a long time, a courtship that culminated in a grand proposal. (Spoiler alert: She said yes!)

Thanks for the Storify and kind words, Matthew!

This week, Jessy was a guest on Threatpost’s Digital Underground podcast. She and host Dennis Fisher had a great discussion about passwords, student privacy, how Jessy got her start in the world of information security, and her new role at AgileBits. You can subscribe to the Threatpost podcast on iTunes or listen to Jessy’s episode on the Threatpost website.

If you’re interested in learning more about online security, I highly recommend following @1Password and Jessy on Twitter. Jessy frequently shares her thoughts on the latest tech developments (such as Wednesday’s Apple event) and how they might impact your security, as well as great articles and blog post written by some of the smartest hackers and security researchers in the world. I enjoy following her on Twitter and having her do the work of curating all those interesting articles for me.

The wonder women of AgileBits

The wonder women of AgileBits

In continuing our celebration of Women’s Equality Day, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to some of the awesome women that I get to work with on the AgileBits team. Here’s a little bit about us and how we all get our start in the tech industry, and some of our future plans.



Aleen is the official writer for 1Password for iOS. She hails from Phoenix, Arizona, where she lives with her husband and two cats. She’s a diversity advocate, budding developer, wordsmith, and podcaster. If you’ve seen her at all on the Internets, you’ll also know that she’s in contention for the team’s coveted coolest hair award.

Aleen has always been interested in tech (she spent her 16th birthday reformatting her computer’s hard drive!) and has a degree in technical writing. She’s currently writing an app of her own to learn Swift 2.0, and she looks forward to helping out on the development team in the future.

You can read more about Aleen in her Behind the Mug feature.



Eva is a crafty geek who came to the tech industry reluctantly after attempting to avoid following in her programmer-parents’ footsteps. She loves tackling difficult problems, knitting, and all things Whedon. Eva works on our customer support and social media teams, and dreams of enhancing her PHP coding skills in her spare time. She and her husband are working on adopting a daughter and aspire to raise her to embrace her own geekiness, whatever form that may take.



Born in England, Laura has become a California girl by choice. She’s been working in tech since leaving school, first as a computer programmer and then as a teacher of programming, system design and database design for Tandem Computers. After raising two children, she pursued her tech passion and finally joined our team to wow our customers every day.



I guess I should tell you a little bit about myself, as well.

I’m an artist and a big sci-fi/fantasy geek (on the dressing-up-at-conventions level on the scale), and I’m responsible for leading the social media team here at AgileBits. When I’m not helping users in the forums or crafting content for 1Password on Facebook, you’re likely to find me exploring some new place with my camera or getting my hands messy in one sort of project or another.

AgileBits is my first foray into the tech world, and honestly, I couldn’t be enjoying it more. I love the challenge of solving problems for our customers and sharing the secure word about 1Password in a fun and creative way. (It’s also pretty great to be able to work from my choice of hammock or beanbag chair at the office!)



Michelle comes from an arts and sciences background and is responsible for keeping the AgileBits Toronto office organized and running smoothly. One of her favourite parts of her job is being able to send birthday treats to the AgileBits team members around the world. I have to say, it’s one of our favorite parts of her job, too!

Michelle is just about finished with her first big project at AgileBits: designing and coordinating our move into a shiny new office. You’ll soon get a good look at all her hard work, right here on the blog!



Peri is a musician who loves hiking, camping, and river excursions. She works on our customer support team, focussing her attention on 1Password for Android. After being the person in her family who always fixes the problems with everyone’s computers, an internship at Mozilla (the Ascend Project) introduced Peri to a few other AgileBits team members in her hometown of Portland. She just couldn’t resist joining us!



Sara is our Minister of Magic, responsible for making sure everything at AgileBits keeps running. Her favourite part of the job is working with awesome people. As one of the founders, she has often preferred a behind-the-scenes role, but is always ready to dive in and make sure our users know they are being heard and helping people feel the love. : )



Virginia is another Portlander who joined our team after attending Mozilla’s Ascend Project. When our official “Day Brightener” is not making users smile in the forums or via email, you’ll likely find her hosting a pub trivia night; singing karaoke; or off on some other pursuit of happiness, fun and adventure!

With a background in customer service and admin support, Virginia got her start in tech by talking to friends in the industry, attending conferences and meetups, and completing online coding tutorials. She’s been dreaming about development, but she’s enjoying customer support so much that she’s not sure she wants to give it up!



Winnie is a German expat living in Montreal. She’s an iOS developer with a passion for photography, travelling, and her two crazy cats. A teacher sparked Winnie’s love of programming, and she hasn’t looked back since! She loves being able to add new features and fix bugs in an app on which so many people depend.

Winnie is active in her local programming scene and is spending her spare time building an app that automates some of the processes in her home.

Want to be a part of this amazing team?

We’re always looking to add unique voices to our team. If you’re interested in talking to us about employment opportunities, please write to

1Password Core Developer

Wanted: 1Password Core Developer

Do you like back ends and cannot lie? We’re expanding the 1Password team and are looking for a developer to set up shop in the common code layer that lives between 1Password for Mac and 1Password for iOS.

Who are you?

Well, you are an experienced individual who’s passionate about code and security (you’ll get bonus points for being extra passionate about 1Password too!); and you are someone who can help us raise the bar in terms of code quality, testability, and reliability.

You will be working with all sorts of fascinating things: data model, sync, security, and many other features shared between the apps. You’ll be tasked with awesome responsibilities like re-engineering core parts of the apps, fixing bugs whose reproducibility is minimal, and helping us define the future of 1Password. (With great responsibility comes great power, but don’t let it go to your head!)

Here are a few points we’d love to see in your resume:

  • Has expert knowledge of Objective-C and its runtime
  • Is intimately familiar with Foundation & CoreFoundation
  • Knows memory management rules like the back of their hand
  • Has the scars of experience with threading
  • Loves SQLite
  • Has a strong working knowledge of libdispatch

Want to impress us? Tell us about…

  • A sync system you’ve built
  • The socket servers you’ve designed
  • Crypto stuff you’ve used
  • XPC services you’ve deployed
  • The time you were put in charge of a designing a system that uses all of the above and had it successfully deployed to millions of customers

Curiously absent from this list is AppKit and UIKit experience. While you’ll be expected to contribute to both the Mac and iOS user interfaces at some point, it isn’t the focus of this position.

Who are we?

We’re a team devoted to our customers and the quality of our software. While we are physically headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the majority of our ‘Bits work remotely from around the globe (mostly the States, other parts of Canada, and Europe).

Everyone on our team gets the opportunity to interact directly with our customers. Experiencing customer reactions and feedback first-hand is extremely valuable and empowers everyone at AgileBits to do something to continually improve 1Password, whether that’s by writing great articles, refactoring and perfecting code, or supporting our customers around the clock.

If your interest has been piqued, we’d love to hear from you. Email us a resume and an overview of the apps you’ve worked on.

We can’t wait to work with you!

<3 The 1Password for Mac & iOS Teams

Behind the Mug

Behind the Mug: Ben Woodruff

Today’s edition of Behind the Mug focuses on a long-time member of our team, Ben Woodruff!

Positive Experience Architect

Our Positive Experience Architect, Ben Woodruff

How did you come to join the team?

I joined AgileBits on a part-time basis while still in school. I was a passionate user who had asked a few questions in the forums, and decided to spend some time helping out there. After writing up a few answers for fellow ‘1Passwd’ (as it was called then) users, I received an invite from Dave to join the team.

When I graduated AgileBits was the obvious answer to the question “where do I want to work full time?”

Would you rather night out or evening in?

Evening in! I’m a total introvert so I need time in the evening to ‘decompress’… Away from crowds.

Coffee or Tea?

Tea, but only iced tea. I drink a ton of iced tea. Not big on hot drinks.

What are your hobbies?

Ben, the firefighter

When I’m not helping folks solve their password problems, I’m helping folks in my community by volunteering with my local all volunteer fire department. 70% of the firefighters in the United States are volunteer. Small communities often cannot afford career staffing for fire protection.

I’m also an amateur (“ham”) radio operator, play Magic: The Gathering, and enjoy photography.

What’s your patronus?

The bulldog!

What’s your nickname and how did you get it?

 A lot of my friends call me Radio. It comes from my interest in radio communications — both with amateur radio and public safety two-way radio systems.

Behind the Mug

Behind the Mug: Khad Young

Khad spends his days writing about 1Password, making sure our User Guide and Knowledgebase are full of concise and helpful articles.  We thought it might be nice to give him a chance to write a little bit about himself for a change. Today’s Behind the Mug feature is all about our Passwordsmith, Khad Young.



After growing up goth in Detroit, Khad was ready for anything. He embarked on a journey across the United States to the City of Angels for more sunshine and less snow. After spending a number of years in Los Angeles, something was still missing. He met his lovely wife at Macworld and moved to Indianapolis for her for “one last winter” in 2013. After enduring the Worst Winter Ever, they are now back in sunny Los Angeles where they are both enjoying the lack of snow. It’s perfect weather for riding his 1973 Honda motorcycle year round.

Khad’s past jobs include a funeral home, a nightclub, a piercing shop, and a church. At first, it may seem that there is no possible connection there, but one of the things they all have in common is the opportunity for compassion toward others. The surrounding circumstances were all quite different, but that compassion continues to be a theme today in his work at AgileBits.

But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There is a tragic side to this tale. Khad’s strong proclivity for socializing has led him to develop a severe karaoke dependence. He has been spotted singing in Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and even the Dominican Republic. Friends and family are concerned that there may be no end in sight.

We’ve been doing our part to keep him busy and off the streets. If you spot him in the wild, please approach him slowly. He is a hugger.

A quick Q&A with Khad:

Early bird or night owl?

I’ve no interest in catching worms.

Fruit or vegetables?

Yes, please! I’m vegan, so I guess that explains my answer to the previous question as well.

Longer battery or better performance?

Battery for sure. I’m a ramblin’ man. I ain’t got time for shuckin’ and jivin’ from my gear.

iPhone 6 or 6 Plus?

WHAT KIND OF MUTANT HANDS DO YOU THINK I HAVE?! I’m still rocking my iPhone 5s and hoping a new 4-inch iPhone is released this year, so I can use my phone like the civilized, pants-wearing mammal that I am. These opposable thumbs aren’t getting any longer.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I have a fondness for this one lately:

“In this world you must be oh-so-smart or oh-so-pleasant. For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” — Elwood P. Dowd

How about some advice for the kids?

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that trained professionals use water.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I always wear a Daring Fireball shirt when I go to an Apple Store. It’s like playing on “Difficult” instead of “Easy.”

Khad's clean workspace

I like to keep a clean workspace.


‘Twas the weekend before Christmas

Sara Teare, our Minister of Magic (or Customer Support Manager), repurposed a holiday classic this weekend to show some internal appreciation for the Agile team and all their hard work over the holidays.

We love taking care of our customers, and the holidays inspire us in all sorts of ways. I just had to share this bit of internal joy and appreciation with you. :)

– – – – –
T’was the weekend before Christmas and all through the house,
every creature was stirring, including the mouse!

The stockings were out, needing filling with care,
the pressure is on, we are all so aware.

The children were running, everywhere but their bed,
With high doses of sugar going straight to their head.

Mom’s shopping on Amazon, iPad in her lap,
Dad is wishing that he could go for a nap.

When out in the Forums, there arose such a clatter,
We sprang into action to see what was the matter.

Over to Cerb, I flew with a flash,
Stopping to grab Jeff’s jelly bean stash.

Expirations of trials and license confusion,
A question here about sync substitution.

When what to our wondering eyes does appear?
St. Nick in the forums with a spinning gear :(

1Password appears to be giving him trouble,
No fear Dear Santa, we’ll help on the double!

Go Adam! Go Marshall! Go Steve! and Go Mike!
Go Eva! Go Sean! With all of your might!

Go Jasper! Go Peri! Go Marc! and Go Scott!
Go Yuanou! Go Team – think all the good thoughts!

With a click and a clack, and a DR to boot,
a quick reset and good changes take root!

His 1Password now good, its Pro features reset,
With TouchID shopping, the quickest presents to get!

All our users are happy, and are singing along,
knowing they won’t get their passwords wrong.

A simple tap or a click, and they are all off to play,
having finished their shopping the auto-fill way.

The team taking care to reassure all,
Even spending some time on telephone calls.

Everyone is so happy with all of your care,
Customer service like this can be quite rare.

With rainbows appearing, the team knew they were right,
Happy Saturday to all, and to all a good night!

/- Sara Teare

the Agile Mug 01

Behind the Mug: Aleen Simms

For our second Behind the Mug feature post, we get to learn more about one of the recent recruits to our crack team of document gurus: Aleen Simms.


2014-10-21 10.28.36

Aleen descended from the foothills of the Rockies to the Valley of the Sun many years ago. When she’s not writing, you can find her podcasting, reading, taking pictures of her kittehs, or building LEGO sets with her husband at the dining room table (where else?). An unapologetic Hufflepuff, Aleen is committed to helping the world around her become a more accepting place.

Some Q&A with Aleen

If you had a warning label, what would it say?

Warning: extremely sarcastic.

What are your pet peeves?

The sound of chewing, when LEGO bricks refuse to come apart, stepping on LEGO.

Where is your favourite place to work?

My husband hacked together a standing desk for me soon after I started at AgileBits! Sometimes I get lazy and sit down, but I really love my desk.

2014-06-11 13.54.12 HDR

Family tradition:

Every October, I meet my mom, uncles, Granny, and subset of cousins in Las Vegas. Every couple of years, my mom gets show tickets for Uncle Jeff and me as early birthday presents. We’ve seen Phantom, Blue Man Group, a few Cirque de Soleil shows, and, most recently Le Rêve: The Dream. I look forward to it every year.

What’s your favorite book?

Jane Eyre was the first “grown up” book I ever read, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Most people I know find it insufferable. :)

Who’s your favorite author?

Neil Gaiman. I’m not one to fawn over people, but I admire both his writing and personality. I had the opportunity to meet him briefly last year and maybe made a complete fool of myself—I don’t strictly remember anything other than being completely giddy.

Aleen did a lot of training for her ‘mug shot’ … you can tell she’s a true pro when it comes to beverages in addition to word-smithery!

Aleen's Mugs

the Agile Mug 01

Behind the Mug: Jeffrey Goldberg

We’re starting a new feature here on the Agile Blog to tell you a little more about some of the awesome people who make up the 1Password team. We’ve got a diverse cast from across North America and Europe, and we think they’re all pretty neat.

Starting off this series with a bang is our security guru, Jeffrey Goldberg.

Chief Defender Against the Dark Arts


Jeffrey Goldberg lives in Plano, Texas. He moved there with his family from Southern California in 2005. When asked why, he would answer that he moved there for the weather. In this way, Jeffrey alerted his new neighbors that he was a serious contender for the role of village idiot. A title he has since earned and defended.

The real reason for the move, of course, is that he is a global stalker: He has been following his wife (an academic) around the planet since 1988. That includes living in Hungary, England, Southern California, and now North Texas.

Jeffrey suffers from a pathological compulsion to explain things to people. The people around him also suffer from his compulsion. His actual training is in theoretical linguistics (a PhD dropout), but he barely manages to speak one language.

Jeffrey was invited to join AgileBits (then Agile Web Solutions) presumably because Dave and Roustem liked his posts on the forums explaining security. At the time, he was working toward becoming a high school math teacher, but had learned through student teaching that he just didn’t have the right temperament for it. In a previous life (the 20th century) he had been a system administrator and postmaster at a UK university, a dilettante academic, publishing a few papers with his wife.

A quick Q&A with Jeffrey:

What’s your spirit animal?

Banana slug.

What’s in your mug: coffee or tea?


What’s your favourite family recipe?

Uncle Sweeney’s meat pies.

What’s your pet peeve?

That many useful theorems depend on the Axiom of Choice.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A fog horn.