Having a blast at AGConf[7]

Every year since I joined the AgileBits family, I’ve looked forward to our annual reunion. It’s a rare opportunity to see the faces and hear the voices that only exist in my head and in text most of the time. AGConf gives us the chance to get together, discuss, plan, collaborate, joke, sing, dance, and occupy the same space for one glorious week.

Suffice it to say that AGConf[7] was a blast. We all met in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where we boarded the Independence of the Seas for a five day Caribbean cruise. We visited Labadee, Haiti, and Falmouth, Jamaica, before making the return trip and parting ways.

Seeing the same old friendly faces

Most of us work remotely, and with the exception of the odd trip to the mothership (Toronto), we don’t get to see each other. The first day is filled with hellos and hugs–and an abundance of both. We always keep our eyes out for the official AGConf tees, and this year’s 007 themed one was a big hit!

Seeing the shiny new faces

In addition to seeing our old friends and colleagues, it’s always fun to meet the new Bits on the team! It seems like we’re growing exponentially these days, and by some wonderful Agilemagic, everyone fits in just right. I’m already looking forward to meeting more new Bits next year!

Getting some work done

Getting such great minds together always makes for some interesting discussion. It’s fun to put our heads together to help customers, solve problems, and make plans for the future. It’s also one of the few times during the year where we can have face to face discussions. Any big plans we’ve been working on in secret can finally be revealed. Any questions we’ve been wanting to ask get answered, sometimes with a full lecture.

Beyond all of the enlightening and productive internal discussion, we also spend a lot of time supporting our customers. At AgileBits, we take customer support very seriously, and everyone takes part in it. On the high seas, we all have each other to bounce ideas off of, or help with tricky issues we may not be too sure about. Need a developer? Just grab one. Have a security question? Goldberg’s got you covered. Working during AGConf almost doesn’t feel like work at all.

Having lots of fun

And of course, when we get together, we have fun. We play games, soak in the hot tubs, drink Labadoozies and rum punches galore, get dressed up fancy for dinner, sing karaoke, eat lots of dessert, get late night pizza, do yoga, watch the sun rise and set…I could go on. There’s so much to do, and so many people to see, it’s hard to make sure to get enough sleep! For a bunch of computer geeks, we’re a pretty rad crew.

 

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Like all other good things, AGConf, too, must come to an end. We came, we saw, we conquered, and we did some other stuff too. Now it’s time to get back to developing software we’re passionate about, and supporting customers we love. Until next time, Bits!

Meet Saad, AgileBits Test Pilot

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Behind the Mug: Saad and his mug

Hi! I’m Saad :) My name is often misspelt as Sad, Said and sometimes even Salad (thanks to autocorrect!). I’m 25, living in Toronto and I am among the few that have the luxury of working from home and regularly visit our office located in the heart of the city. I’m a technology enthusiast. I enjoy playing around with new gadgets and learning new things on a daily basis. I’m filled with small jokes, and I admit that sometimes I am the only one laughing at my jokes. Haha!

Football, or soccer as we call it in this part of the world, is one of my favourite sports. FC Barcelona is my team and in international matches, I follow Brazil closely. I also play friendly football twice a week and occasionally join my friends in the FIFA video game tournaments.

All my free time at the moment is committed to wedding planning. My lovely fiancée, Megda, and I are planning our upcoming wedding this summer. It is a lot of stress, but we are excited to start our lives together. Megda also loves watching football and she is a hard-core France fan, her birth country. We often butt heads with each other, especially during the World Cup—but it’s all with love and it only happens every 4 years. ;)

What do you do on the AgileBits team?

I come with a Computer Science background and I am one of the developers working on 1Password for Android. My job title, Test Pilot, suggests I test a lot of things—which I do! I make sure what is broken gets the attention that it needs.

Our users are a big help with this process and I appreciate every individual that takes time out of their busy day to provide us with feedback. I am often found in our discussion forums and answering e-mails too. I find that it’s the best way to connect directly with our users.

How would you spend one million dollars? And it has to be spent, so no saving it for retirement with this windfall.

ONE MILLION DOLLARS! Woo! First of all, I would try and figure out how I would split the money for three different things: myself, family/friends, and finally making a contribution to the world. With my personal cut (which I would share with Megda, obviously), I would use the funds to travel around the world.

What is the wildest thing that you have ever done?

While doing Christmas shopping one year, three of my friends and I impulsively decided we needed a vacation to escape the Canadian winter. We literally dropped everything and left a few days later for a long road trip to Miami from Toronto.

The drive there was a lot of fun. We stopped at all the major cities we wanted to check out along the way and had a great time staying in the Miami area. The drive back was a different story, as it always is during a return trip.

This was one of the wildest things I have done to date, because it was a spontaneous decision that was made in a few days. We each had to rearrange existing plans to make sure we could make this awesome adventure happen. It’s hard to find time like that. In fact, I don’t think I could do something similar in the present time! I would really like to do the same on the west coast, some day.

What’s your biggest challenge explaining 1Password?

I thought I was an expert at explaining 1Password, but my recent trip to Bangladesh made me reconsider that thought. Naturally, after visiting my home country after more than 10 years, friends and family were curious about what I did for a living. Now to try and explain our beloved 1Password in Bengali was a challenge! I think I did a fairly good job after a few days of practice. Unfortunately for me though, I still haven’t figured out how to explain it to this goat:

Behind the Mug: Saad and the goat

Behind the Mug: Greig Allen

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Behind the Mug: Greig Allen

Hey, I’m Greig, part of the AgileBits UK contingent. I’m 28 and live in Aberdeen, which is in the Northeast of Scotland, a truly beautiful part of the world; it’s home to Scotland’s only dedicated castle trail, several Whisky distilleries and the infamous Rowie. I’ve been married to my wife Lauren since June 2014 and we’ve recently upgraded from an apartment to our own proper grown-up house with a garden (or should that be yard!).

Behind the Mug: Greig Allen - Greig in his native habitat

In my spare time I love playing and watching American football, following tech news, cultivating my new-found love of BBQ and enjoying any local whisky. I’m at my happiest either in my “man cave” surrounded by gadgets, LEGO, and games; or sitting in a field at a festival enjoying music with my family and friends. Music is one of my great passion—our house is always abuzz with the sounds of Ryan Adams and The White Stripes or my guitar, which I’ve played since the age of nine.

Behind the Mug: Greig Allen - Greig and his toys

If you were sent to the International Space Station for 3 months and were only allowed to bring 3 personal items, what would they be?

I’d definitely take some home comforts:

  • My iPhone (for music and photos)
  • Crate of beer
  • Reese’s Cups, in copious quantities!

If you had one chance to travel anywhere at any time, where and when would you go?

Before I tell you where I would go, I’m telling you how I would get there, and that has to be in the DeLorean! I am the biggest Back to the Future fan out there. As for where I would go, it would definitely have to be Woodstock; to be a part of such an iconic event in music would be incredible. Just as a little side note, not to be mushy but I would love to relive my wedding day too!

What is your hidden talent?

My hidden talent, well, if you’ve seen me after a few drinks you’ll understand why they call me “Snake hips Allen”. Give me a dance floor and good music and I’ll dance all night long. It’s maybe not a hidden talent… I’m maybe using the word talent pretty loosely but I sure do enjoy it!

What does a typical day in your life look like?

My wife gets up super early and once that hairdryer gets going, I’m up and out of bed. I set myself up for the day with a bowl of Krave, log on, check the football scores and blog feeds. Once that is taken care of, I’m usually one of the first in the morning to start engaging with and helping our amazing customers (might be something to do with the time difference). I’ll take a break for lunch and get some fresh air, taking a walk down by the burn and listening to Back to work.

Behind the Mug: Greig Allen - Greig's office

Then it is back to offering support to our customers until my wife comes home from work. We really enjoy cooking together so we will usually do that of an evening. In the winter our weather gets pretty bad so we tend to hibernate with a movie but in the summer we will visit family and friends, hang out in a beer garden, or fire up the BBQ!

Behind the Mug: Greig Allen - Interesting

 

Meet Virginia, AgileBits Day Brightener

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 32 (pronounced “thirty-too-legit-to-quit”) and originally from the Detroit area. I’ve been living in beautiful Portland, OR, for 10 years and counting. I spend my free time in pursuit of fun and adventure! I’m an Associate Artist with an awesome local theater company, Action/Adventure Theatre. I like to sing a lot of karaoke, play pub trivia with friends every week, go out to brunch, see comedy shows, visit my family in Seattle, and generally frolic about. I’m often sporting several temporary tattoos but no permanent ones.

What do you do on the AgileBits team?

Virginia and kitty

I’m proud to be a member of our world-class Customer Support & Social Media teams, answering questions and providing help to our awesome customers. My title is “Day Brightener,” and I strive to live up to that in all my interactions with customers and teammates alike. If I’m not brightening somebody’s day, I’m not doing my job! I get inspiration from my housemates’ two dogs and my boyfriend’s cat; furry little critters always brighten my day.

How did you get your start in the tech industry?

With a BA in Arts & Letters and a background in primarily customer service and admin support jobs, it took a lot of commitment for me to pivot into tech. I started by talking to friends working in tech; poking around in some free online coding tutorials; and attending conferences, talks and meetups here in Portland. This is my first job in the tech industry, and I love it more than I could’ve imagined. :)

What’s your favourite thing about what you do today?

I love the flexibility of working remotely and learning all the ins and outs of 1Password. I’d have to say the upbeat attitude and collaborative environment of this company are my favorite parts. And it’s a great feedback loop: we care so much about our customers and making a product that makes them happy, and they feel that and reciprocate. Our customers love us because they know we love them! My last job was in insurance claims, so this is definitely a happier environment.

What are your geeky aspirations for the future?

The only goal I have for sure right now is to continue learning and growing. Before I started at AgileBits, I wanted to be a developer, and I may yet.  But I love working in Customer Support & Social Media so much that I’m not sure I’d want to give it up!

If you had one free hour each day, how would you use it?

Walk around my neighborhood listening to podcasts and playing Ingress (Enlightened ftw!). Unless it was raining, which it often is here; in that case, I’d probably stay in and read.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation! I almost said flying, which would obviously be really awesome, but flying takes time and I’d rather be able to travel anywhere in the world instantly.

What’s your Patronus?

A unipeg (unicorn pegasus)! If we must stick to the natural world, I’ll say an otter.

Virginia

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: 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.

Passwordsmith

Khad

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.

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.

Wordsmith

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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

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

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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?

Caffeinated.

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.

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