This week we were fortunate enough to talk to Matt Davey, the Chief Operations Optimist at 1Password. 1Password is a leading online security app that stores key sensitive information in a secure and user friendly way. We discuss online security, remote work for a large team and even his success in making homemade ice cream!
A true generalist, Matt has his hand in everything from product, marketing, podcasting, design and partnerships at 1Password. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on everything from building remote teams, the public perception of online security, the motivations of data hackers, what you can do now to increase your online security and much more. Online security is a massively important component for everyone with an online presence, but even more so for people and companies working remotely. Matt was a pleasure to speak with, and we’re glad to share the 1Password product and team insights with our community.
To get yourself more secure in a user friendly way – check out https://1password.com/ now.
Follow Matt on Twitter at @mattdavey
Matt’s book everyone should read: “This is Going to Hurt” by Adam Kay
Matt H: 00:06 Hello, everyone. My name is Matt Hollingsworth, and welcome to another episode of The Remote Show where we discuss everything to do with remote work, entrepreneurship, business, technology, and much more. Thanks so much for listening.
Matt H: 00:17 The Remote Show is brought to you, as always, by We Work Remotely, the largest community of remote workers in the world. With over 220,000 unique users per month, We Work Remotely is the most effective way to hire.
Matt H: 00:27 My guest on today's show is Matt Davey. Matt is the Chief Operations Optimist at 1Password, which means he oversees marketing, design, content, and partnerships as well as hosting the random but memorable podcast. 1Password is a well-loved password protection app that we use here at We Work Remotely that allows us to keep our passwords and sensitive info protected in an easy-to-use and ultra-secure way. Please go to 1Password.com to check out how they can help you keep your info safe, and be sure to follow @MattDavey on Twitter.
Matt H: 01:02 Matt, thanks for so much for being on the podcast. We really appreciate it, man.
Matt Davey: 01:05 No worries at all. It's a pleasure to be here.
Matt H: 01:07 What I've been doing recently, and I think it's an interesting place to start as a jumping-off point, is to talk about what it is that you are most proud of that you've done either in business, or you can take it in any direction you'd like, but what it is that you are most proud of that you've done over the past 12 months.
Matt Davey: 01:25 Personally, I made some really good ice cream the other day. I was really worried about it, and I knocked out of the park. It's not usual that I get to say that about something that I've either baked or made, so I'm happy about that one.
Matt Davey: 01:38 In the wider business sense, I guess I've been at 1Password for a very long time. We hit kind of 40,000 businesses paying and using 1Password with some really great feedback. I think, after moving from a very consumer-focused app into more of a service and then kind of pointing our gaze towards business for a while, it brings me great delight that so many businesses are using it and really liking it.
Matt H: 02:03 Yeah, and to your point there, we... Just full disclosure, we at We Work Remotely, use 1Password, and we absolutely love it. It's always exciting when I get to talk to representatives of apps or online businesses that we use ourselves. Yeah, we we love it. Anybody out there who's looking for this kind of product to keep your passwords in a safe and secure environment, then I encourage you to check out 1Password because it's a great service.
Matt Davey: 02:27 Yeah, talking to customers of any size on a regular basis is just one of the best bits of my job.
Matt H: 02:35 That's a good segue, actually. Your title is chief operations optimist. Do I have that right?
Matt Davey: 02:40 Yeah, that's right, yeah. The COO, I guess most people know it as.
Matt H: 02:43 Right, so it's just framed in a unique way. What does that mean exactly at 1Password? Can you go into a bit about what you do there? Because I'm curious, it seems so general, but I'd love to hear your take.
Matt Davey: 02:54 Yeah. I think everybody has a different kind of take on what a COO role is. Personally, for me, it's overseeing content, marketing, partnerships, design, press, and product, so it's a really wide role. We have a lot of smaller teams, and I basically oversee those teams. It's me being more of a creative side of the business whereas CEO is... He likes to describe himself as the math guy. He's very kind of numbers-driven, and I am very not numbers-driven.
Matt H: 03:30 Beautiful. It sounds like that's sort of a good duo that you have. Was that role set out in that way? I saw that you grew internally, so was that something that you sort of formed your own role based on what your own strengths are, or was that something that was set out before you started in your role?
Matt Davey: 03:44 I think it was very organic. I started off as a designer on the product. We're talking like seven years ago. I think it was our first iteration of our Android app that I started on. Then it was, kind of gradually, I moved on to other apps and then more towards the marketing site, and then things got given to me that weren't exactly the marketing site, but they were kind of the marketing area. Then we started doing more business-focused partnerships, and we started talking to the press, and that kind of started to get put on my plate as well. It turned into a very odd role because I was, perhaps, designing in the mornings and then, in the evenings, I would be talking to other apps, and trying to get partnerships, and building promotional pages, and all this type of stuff. Then the CEO, Jeff, he kind of approached me and was just like, "We want to kind of make this a bit more formal, and this is kind of the role that we're looking for." I think it was very much organically positioned towards me. I don't think he'd ever hire someone and be like, "Hey, these weird departments need someone kind of making sure we're going in the right direction," so yeah, I think it was very organic, basically.
Matt H: 04:54 When you started, what was the state of 1Password as a business when you first came on?
Matt Davey: 04:59 We were a team of 20 people. For context, we're over 160 now. We're much bigger than I think people think we are. Hopefully, that kind of 40,000 business mark really drives that home that we're approaching a sizeable company now, which is nice.
Matt Davey: 05:17 When I joined, we were all remote. I think I was one of about three people in the UK so, already by that point, we were cross-time-zone, which is... I see a lot of remote companies now that are continent-centric, let's say, and kind of don't dabble in hiring so diversely across continents, but it was done before I even arrived, which is unusual.
Matt H: 05:41 Yeah. I think it would be valuable, maybe, for our listeners who don't know about 1Password, just take a step back to talk about the main product and what problems you're looking to solve. What is it that is the main sort of focus of 1Password? Is it business right now? Maybe we can talk then after about how it's shifted, but what is it that you're looking to solve for right now?
Matt Davey: 06:00 Essentially, we're a service. If you use the internet, you need something like this, right? 1Password is the baseline for online security. It's that secure place that you can trust and keep everything. It stores and generates unique passwords for every site. Really, the problem that we're solving is unique passwords are really the only defense against something like data breaches or anything like that. A strong, unique password means that when there's a data breach at some website that you use, you only have to change that single password, whereas the problem that most people face is that they will reuse them across several places. They will either forget them or something like that.
Matt Davey: 06:45 When a data breach happens, as they seem to every day now, the thing is you don't really know which one you've used, and maybe you have to change them in 10 different places or something like that. The other aspect is that you generally just don't notice, right? These companies have data breaches, and then you're just like, "I'll get around to that." 1Password actually alerts you when you've been included in one of these data breaches as well.
Matt H: 07:12 Wow. That's actually not something that I knew. We all see those data breaches all the time, and it is sort of one of those things where I just will assume that I will be notified or I'll find out somehow if it's really pertinent to me. Yeah, and then it becomes, "Oh, that's interesting," and kind of move on with your day, but you don't actually stop and think about what are the potential personal or business consequences of that sort of thing happening, so that is a fascinating piece of the business that I actually wasn't aware of.
Matt Davey: 07:38 Yeah. I think people think they're targeted a lot more than they actually are when it comes to hacking and stuff like that. I think when you bring up the topic, people are like, "Oh, yeah but, you know, I'm not a target." Most of the small businesses that exist are really the bread and butter for people who perform attacks like ransomware. The big ones always hitting the news, but it's the small ones that always just pay the $600 or whatever, the kind of smaller amount that these hackers ask, so I think it's a wide-ranging problem.
Matt Davey: 08:14 Online security is such an interesting area because you posed the question about how has our focus changed over time? Our focus was largely on, "These password things that I have to remember are really... They're a pain," right? When we started, it was all about productivity. Yes, as a business, we would be secure, but that was really so you didn't have to worry about it. Over time, I think it's developed into something that people really understand that these companies are not holding their data, perhaps, very well, and you need a defense against that. I think the general population's view on security has changed over time, I think.
Matt H: 08:52 Interesting. You found that that has gotten... I guess that's a positive move towards more security. Is that what you're saying?
Matt Davey: 08:59 Yeah, and not just from us, but if you look at all the products that Apple or Google or any of these have brought out over the last couple of years, it shows that passwords are a big problem, and it shows that no one's coming up with this golden bullet to kill the passwords. They're going to be around for quite a lot longer, and we need a better way, as people, to deal with these. I mean, so far, that looks like a password manager to us.
Matt H: 09:29 Well, I mean just given your growth and given the fact more people are using your product, I think that's a pretty good indicator that you probably are right in thinking that way. It will be interesting to see sort of what the growth looks like for you and also maybe competitors out there that are looking to get into it a similar space. Do you find there is more competition out there for a similar product, and how do you think about just how to differentiate yourself from those other products?
Matt Davey: 09:51 I think that there are a lot more competitors out there. It seems like a password manager is kind of a thing as something that you can add to your security bundle or something like that. There's very few companies that concentrate solely on a password manager.
Matt Davey: 10:06 There's competition, as well, in terms of other products like SSO, and that's single sign on like sign in with Facebook or something like that. I think all of these things cover different areas of security. At some stage, you're always going to have a password, right? Biometrics are great and face ID is great but, behind it all, there is still a password that you need to save, and so I think the competition from those angles have kind of increased, but you still need a password manager. It might be more convenient to do other things, but you still need a password manager.
Matt Davey: 10:42 The amount of password managers have increased. I think part of that has only helped us, as weird as it sounds. When Apple introduced password auto-fill, people looked at us in the room, and it was just like, "Oh, well. Goodbye to them," but actually what it's done is just helped normal non-technological people find the limits of those products and then realize, "Oh, actually, I can store my passport files. I can share the Netflix password with the rest of my family. I can do all these other things, and I can kind of move on from just the browser storing my passwords or something like that, and I can start doing more things with a more advanced product," so I think it's only helped us.
Matt H: 11:25 Wow. I guess it is just bringing more visibility to the problem that you are looking to solve and then, yeah, maybe it's just an evolution of people's usage is that they'll move on to a more secure platform like yours once they've realized the extent to which they are exposed online.
Matt Davey: 11:42 Yeah, and then having a variety of products helps us as well. We have a business product and, really, the success of the business product has come from people using us as a consumer previously. I would say our unique selling point, it's depressing that isn't unique, but our unique selling point is really that it is usable. There are so many password managers out there that are like, "Right, but what you've got to do is grab this key here, and then you've got to filter it through this other thing, and then you'll get your passwords, but only on this machine. If you want them anywhere else, you're on your own."
Matt Davey: 12:13 I think usability, although it's come a long way in security products, it still has a long way to go. I mean we've got a long way to go as well. I'm not saying that we're incredibly easy to use. A password manager, in its own way, is actually difficult to use. There are a lot of parts that you have to put together, and it's a behavior change as well, but I think we make that as seamless as we can at any time.
Matt H: 12:37 Yeah. Have you found that the usability component might be actually working against you? Because people's perception of a secure password manager is that it inherently needs to be difficult to use because then, therefore, it implies that it's a safe and secure. Have you found that just in terms of people's perception, and is that something you've thought about at all? I just am curious about that.
Matt Davey: 12:57 Yeah. I mean the trust of a password manager and that kind of feeling of security, it's a very difficult thing to harness, really. When you're making your product almost more difficult to make it seem secure, that kind of security theater is only going to bite you when people give it up very quickly. I mean no, essentially, we haven't really found that. I think it's quite difficult to go around and say, "We're trustworthy, and we're secure." I think you really have to do it by your history as a product. We've had a few knocks in the past but, really, we've been around for 13 years and never had any kind of major incident, so I think our history really speaks for us.
Matt H: 13:40 Yeah. Maybe it just is people's perception about you as a business and how long you have been around, because I didn't know that that's how long you've been around and been successful in that area. Have you thought about... Again, I'm not a marketer, so I don't know and, obviously, you've thought about it this more than I have, but just the idea that you have been around for this long and yet you haven't had a data breach or anything of the sort. Is that something you've thought about communicating more, I guess?
Matt Davey: 14:05 I mean it's a difficult one to shout about, right? As soon as you shout that nothing has happened in 13 years, the emphasis is on something that could happen. Yeah, I mean a white paper is out there and available, and security experts have kind of vetted that, and so I think, basically, approval from the industry is where we're trying to go in our approach to saying we're secure. The fact that experts have looked at us and said, "Yeah, these guys are doing everything right," and the fact that we basically... We hire people to do things like that. We have $100,000 up for a bug bounty to try and capture a flag, and it has not been captured. We're constantly doing stuff to test our own systems, and I think that speaks volumes.
Matt H: 14:50 Yeah. There you go, folks. There's your task for the next little while if you've got a lot of time on your hands and you're and expert in security. Go try to claim that bounty at 1Password, and let us know if you do, because I'd be pretty interested to hear about that.
Matt Davey: 15:01 Yeah, it's a public program, so you can get it to Bugcrowd or HackerOne. We're on both of those.
Matt H: 15:08 Okay. We'll link to that as well so they don't have to go and search for that. This is kind of going on a bit of a tangent, but I'm just so fascinated by online security. I'm guessing, in the position that you are, you have a pretty good pulse on sort of the state of online security is right now. I guess it's become mainstream to talk about this sort of thing, and I think it's a good thing that it has because it's brought a lot of awareness, but is the public perception of online security different from the reality that you've seen working in the industry at all, or is it pretty well as people feel about it online, or is there any overlap or disconnect between the public perception and what you're seeing?
Matt Davey: 15:46 Yeah, I think so. I think when one person gets hacked, the idea is that the hacker only did it once. I think that public perception, it has to change because the idea of, "I'm not a target," just doesn't work.
Matt Davey: 15:59 When we look at things, some of the largest hacks that were out there like the Yahoo one that stole a crazy amount of people's data, they didn't really do it to steal those people's data. They did it to target a very few. I believe they were Russian hackers that were trying to hack a very small group of other Russians. Really, it just got caught up in what was made essentially public, and so there was a lot of backlash about that.
Matt Davey: 16:27 You're never really a target. You're fodder for these massive credential-stuffing attacks. By credential-stuffing, essentially, what I mean there is what happens to data when it's stolen is it gets bundled up in these big kind of zip files that get passed around, and then it's just people looking to try those details on other websites, so if you reuse your password, you can become caught up in these. There's a whole world on YouTube that is kind of 13-year-old, 14-year-old kids who have downloaded these details, and they're running them through programs that they got free off the internet to try and find free Spotify accounts. It's not that.
Matt Davey: 17:03 ... for free off the internet to try and find free Spotify accounts. It's not that shady figure in a hoodie that's particularly targeting you. It's the whole thing if you park your car next to an unlocked one or you don't lock your car, it becomes a target, right? If you do the bare minimum, and not reuse passwords, and use the advice that everybody gives you about passwords, you can probably bypass a lot of these attacks that would potentially happen to you.
Matt H: 17:25 If you could go in and change one thing about everybody's online presence to increase their security online, what would it be? Is it changing the individual passwords or what would be the best bang for your buck?
Matt Davey: 17:39 The security community in general, I think, would probably say 2FA, two-factor authentication. As like if they could add one thing to everybody's account, it would be that, right? It's the two things, the thing I know, which is my password and the thing that I have, which is usually my phone or something similar. I think that the usability of two-factor authentication comes under question. Us, as technical people, I think it's always the thing that I add on the account first, but actually, some of the highest adoption rates are in the single-digit percentages of people who actually turn on 2FA. I think even when it's built into devices like Apple, I think there's is still single-digit adoption rates. So it's really difficult to say, "If I was going to change any online habit, it would be to turn this on for everybody," because I think what it would do is to confuse a large amount of people.
Matt Davey: 18:36 So I think from an experience side, what I'd do is just say just use a password manager or at least, at least create a unique one for every website using whatever generator that you use and write them down if you have to. I think unique passwords, they protect you against so many things because you're not giving out one key to everything. You're giving out individual keys that only unlock themselves if you see what I mean.
Matt H: 19:00 Yeah. I think that's the good takeaway here for our listeners and I'm sure that people, hopefully, have already thought about this themselves, but if not, then another reminder for you to go check out 1Password and get yourselves a little bit more secure or, it not, a lot more secure with their service. It's a no-brainer, folks. Really it's just that's the reality of it. So I did want to shift a little bit to talking about 1Password. Maybe talk about the culture a little bit and talk about remote work. Are you fully remote or do you have an office as for 1Password?
Matt Davey: 19:28 Everyone is remote. We do have an office that we use for team meetings, and a few people head in because they live nearby, but we really don't know anything, but remote. Yeah, it's an interesting company.
Matt H: 19:42 Yeah. When you started, was that something that you had talked about as the roadmap for 1Password or as a piece of it or was that just not talked about and kind of just assumed that you would grow in this way?
Matt Davey: 19:55 When it started, it was two friends and their partners. They were not living very close to each other at that point, so the remoteness kind of just organically happened. As they brought on more people, they found the right people and didn't bother about location. I think we've just done that ever since. We now have people in nearly every timezone. I think the diversity that it brings, having people in different locations, when you sell a product to everyone, having a variety of people that understand the different ways that people live is just so valuable.
Matt H: 20:30 Yeah. No, that's not one that I even get to talk about very often as a pro for remote work, that diversity of thought alone and the different perspective it brings to your company is probably in itself a reason to even consider or start to consider remote work as a positive for your company. You've grown significantly. Is that something you had to think about in terms of process for remote work? Was there a time where you thought, "Okay. We're at this threshold of people. Now, we need to start thinking about how we work remotely and how this plays into our productivity, and our design, and that sort of thing?" Or is that not considered as much as a standalone issue to address?
Matt Davey: 21:12 I think we've done it for so long that it's kind of a given that we wouldn't create a team and place them somewhere. I think most of us know the dangers of some of the company being remote and then some being in a certain location. It engenders this weird kind of us and them mentality that as humans, we're always looking for a them. As soon as you split the company down into people who have in-jokes about the location that they are and other people who have general in-jokes, I think it gets dangerous. So I think it's always just been a given for us.
Matt Davey: 21:47 There are challenges to remote work, especially when scaling, but I don't think they're any different... Well, I think they're different, but I don't think they're any more or less than scaling a normal company.
Matt H: 22:00 Yeah. One of the things I talk about often is just how you maintain or build a culture in a company that people want to work for or people want to be a part of. I'd be interested to hear about your company, 1Password, just because it seems like there's a mission behind it. It seems like you are trying to help the world be more secure online. That might be one of the reasons or one of the things that really leads to that strong, cohesive culture. Do you think that plays into it and how have you thought about building your culture as a remote team with 1Password?
Matt Davey: 22:33 Our culture is very much built around smaller teams and communities there. So I think that the people that you generally interact with on a daily basis is probably the people in your team plus a few others that dip into hobby-based things with each other. But the nice side of timezones is that there's always someone about, so even if you're in the UK, for example, we have a small continent here that talk to each other and stuff. So I think it's really built around lots of small teams that all interact with each other.
Matt Davey: 23:10 I think really, that helps our culture, but our culture is essentially in-jokes, right? It's the things that you make when you all share something. So we have in-jokes around anything from we had our all-call, which is what we call the monthly call where everyone's on it and our CEO, Jeff, he talks about where the business is, where it's going, what we did well that month, what we're changing and perhaps doing differently the next month. And an in-joke that he likes charts, so every time everybody starts posting random charts that are from Reddit or something like that, and he's posting his as well that are like Google Analytics and stuff like that. So I think it's really about things that bring you together like that.
Matt Davey: 23:56 It's very hard to talk about culture and be like, " RIght. We're doing this. This is our culture." Because one person makes that decision, and then some people might disagree with that, and then you've got us and them again. And so, I think it's really things that you do to help move your company in the direction of all working together and all fighting the isolation, basically, because remote work can be very isolating. And so, I think, yeah, smaller teams and small communities that bond. If you're on one team in 1Password, you're usually on at least a couple, right? So your main team might be design, but you might be running in a couple of other projects. The main design team we have, I believe we have six, maybe seven designers now, but then the project might be five other people. So it's a lot about the small teams that you're working on and, yeah, it helps to keep it like that.
Matt H: 24:48 Have you found that getting together in person has helped the feeling of isolation? Is there anything else that you guys do to remedy that issue? Because it's one that I think is one of the bigger ones of remote work and being on a team that's distributed. It's just the fact that you can't see your team, you can't go for a beer, you can't do those things that lend themselves to getting to know people more. Is it something you are deliberate about or encourage people to try different things or is that something you leave up to the end?
Matt Davey: 25:12 Yeah. We have a fair amount of internal, what we call, conferences. We call them conferences because essentially what we used to do when we were, I don't know, 50 people, around there, we used to go to a conference, and then actually, we would find it more exciting to build stuff together while in the same room. So we'd hang out in the hotel lobby. So this idea of conferences kind of came from us actually going to them. What they've grown into because we got kicked out of hotel lobbies was growing that into, okay, now we have an office. Let's bring that five people into the office and we're going to run this project in the office for a week. And so, you get all that kind of face-to-face meeting goodness, but you get it for a week and then you get to go home and have a balanced life. I think that really helps because you can discuss, in a situation like that, all the things that you perhaps wouldn't otherwise.
Matt Davey: 26:06 Then in terms of the whole company getting together, we've done this for the last, I don't know, eight, nine years. I don't know. Anyway, a lot of years. We've gone on a cruise ship. And so, the idea of the cruise ship is basically to keep all the people in one area, and have somewhere that can feed us all, and do something that this dietary requirement and that kind of thing. Also allows you to be involved as much as you want to be involved. People like interaction with people on a varied scale. So I think that's really important to not mess up people's thing by being like, "Hey. This is a team time. We're all going to really heavily socialize," when some people don't live like that.
Matt Davey: 26:51 Yeah, the cruise is really good for all being in one area and talking through those things and it's good to company-wide products, and projects, and things like that are really good to start there when everybody's in the same room because everybody is focused on one thing, whereas timezones and things get in the way when you try to start company-wide objectives in an afternoon on a Friday or something. Some people are already at home. It's Saturday for other people. Yeah. I think it really helps, all being in one room. It helps on the social scale as well. I get to meet people that aren't in my small, little teams or anything like that, which is really good because I think people assume others are not contactable sometimes when you're a fairly large team. And I like the fact that we're really approachable with people. If you really have an idea that you think you want to invest time in or something like that, the idea of emailing or Slacking the CEO in other companies just doesn't happen, right? But in ours, it's really approachable.
Matt H: 27:57 I'd love to pick the cruise ship thing up for just a second because I think that's really unique. How long do you spend on the cruise ship?
Matt Davey: 28:02 It really depends. It's usually somewhere hot because our office is in Toronto, and in January, that's not really an option. I lived there for a while. I found the Winter bearable, but the Summers are humid. So the cruise ship really started because they are the kind of places that can deal with 160 people plus some plus-ones and that kind of thing. Some people bring their entire family and so, there's not a lot of places that have stuff for all ages, have conference rooms that we can work in that are in daylight. A lot of these are like basements and stuff like that. The cruise ship has just worked on every single angle. The internet is always ropey because it's usu from a satellite or something and when you get 160 people trying to do customer service to answer customer questions and help our customers as much as we can, that gets a bit ropey, but we've made it work. It's really fun.
Matt H: 29:03 That's awesome. I'm always curious to hear about different companies and what they do in those because most remote companies have some sort of off-site that they do for that sort of thing, getting to know people better, and just to bring the whole team together, put faces to names if they haven't already done so, and that sort of thing. But the cruise ship one is not one that I've heard before, so that's fascinating.
Matt H: 29:24 I would love to talk a little bit about you and your experience working remotely if possible. What does your day look like typically? Is it something that you have very set schedules or how do you manage your time on a daily basis? Then we can talk about weekly and monthly too, but just day-to-day.
Matt Davey: 29:39 It's tricky. As a person who basically oversees other things, you have to be really flexible because you are essentially the temperature gauge of process, right? Is this product going well? Is this part of this going well? And that type of thing. So you have to be really flexible around the other teams that are there. I think my day is largely split into two. My mornings are generally way more Google Spreadsheets and Google Docs than I actually want to deal with. I, unfortunately, don't get to design anymore. I still try and grab some things and design because that's what my background is. I've been a designer for so long that I don't want to give that up and it's really useful as a skill as well because it helps you inform the product and how people use the product I think.
Matt Davey: 30:28 I set up my day based on Calendar events. So I create a four-hour Calendar event, and I'll be like, "Right. I'm going to design in this time," or, "Right. I'm going to get this product specification use case document, and I'm going to review this," and stuff like that. So I think really I just drag time around and then try and spend my time doing that. Yeah, a lot of it is meetings with various people. We try to keep meetings at a minimum. I think as you progress in a company, there's always the aspect of I'm just going to add a meeting for this and oh, I'll just grab someone's time for this, but we are pretty careful about. Yeah. It's generally catching up on projects and moving them forward project at a time.
Matt H: 31:13 This is actually one of my favorite questions. Take it in any direction that you'd like. What have you learned along the way that you wish that you knew when you started at 1Password? Is there anything that you can think of that you would have loved to have known when you started at 1Password? You can go before 1Password as well, but maybe we should start there.
Matt Davey: 31:29 Yeah. I think when you're working on one thing, when you're doing one thing, you have this mentality of, okay, I'm going to go and get feedback. I'm going to come back. I'm going to do this one thing again. What I really wish that I had started to do was this whole idea that I have of I create one note every week. I have a note. This one's called Week 36, and everything within that week, I make sure that I write down that either I have to check up on next week or I have all the questions that you sent me before this interview. I've looked in that and I've copied and pasted that into my week note.
Matt Davey: 32:10 And so, when I come back to it, it's really interesting to go through. I have I think three, maybe four years of these now. I've just, every week, I can go back. It really helps to look backwards sometimes and find out what happened in that week. And so, all of the interview notes and all of when I'm trying to hire someone, everything like that, anything that I pick up that I hear that I find really interesting, any book recommendations, it's really good to have a place that you put these.
Matt Davey: 32:44 I think I was struggling for a while because 1Password for me, even when I was not at 1Password, was the place that I put things. It was the drawer in my house that I keep my passport in. It's that drawer, but on my computer. There's all my insurance and everything like that in there, but I wasn't really keeping one of those for my general life as in I need insurance and that type of thing, and I need somewhere to put that. But it's kind of that everything else and I really wished I'd been doing those from the beginning, even if I was only working on one thing because I think it just helps to keep you on track so much better than anything else. Other people's idea of this week note changes and adapts to them.
Matt Davey: 33:32 I've gotten a couple of people at 1Password doing these weekly just through me evangelizing the idea of this, but it is really interesting to come, on Monday morning, and get a blank sheet. Then just go, "Right. Okay. What are some things that I really need to do this week" or, "What are the things that I should move from last week that I can go, 'Okay. It slipped, but I really need to do this week,' or, 'This person has mentioned this to me and I need to look at that?'" And so, I think most people keep notes on topics and I think the whole idea of that is interesting...
Matt Davey: 34:03 You will keep notes on topics and I think the whole idea of that is interesting, but it just means that that stuff gets lost to me. Taking things a week at a time is what I would have done from the beginning if I knew how well it worked.
Matt H: 34:11 Does that inform your process and how you sort of get things accomplished during the week or is that sort of just a reminder? What purpose does that serve for you in terms of your week to week progress?
Matt Davey: 34:22 Oh, absolutely. It's the focus of my week, right? If I have 10 minutes, I'll come back here and I'll find out what I didn't do or what I perhaps strayed from or anything like that. Yeah. It's my focus. It's my task list. It's my kind of scratch pad of, "Okay, this got mentioned to me and we want to focus on this" and here's my five bullet points that I then need to turn into a product spec or a use case. Or, I spoke to a customer and they had these three really good points. I'm not going to open up GitLab issues or anything like that, while I'm on the phone with the customer because it's kind of rude.
Matt Davey: 35:02 So what I do is I just throw them in this notepad and when I come to that next week, perhaps I haven't done that or I've spoken to another person in the company and they've been like, "Hey I saw that 10 times", right, "and we should totally do this." And so it really helps with bringing you back to center basically.
Matt H: 35:18 Yeah. That's interesting you mentioned that I'm trying a few different things because I haven't really perfected that for myself either and I don't have one that really has worked well for me in terms of making lists and things. But what I'm doing now is I'm actually, I have a planner, I have a physical planner that I'm using to try to do those things. What I found is that if I don't centralize things, if I don't have things in one place that I always know that I'm going check them. Having too many different apps, too many different to-do lists, productivity kind of places, then I will lose them. I won't check them. I will forget about them and then things will fall through.
Matt H: 35:47 So right now I'm doing a similar thing actually, which is interesting. I'm writing down everything business and personal into one place and then I'm hoping that that will lead me to always go back to that one thing and be consistent with it, because otherwise, yeah, like I said, things will fall through. So it's interesting you mentioned that.
Matt Davey: 36:04 Yeah. And I think that format and perfection are really the enemy in productivity, right? I always saw all these, processes and I'm like, "Okay, right, I've got my 28 things", right, and I've got my 28 things and I'm going to be like, "Okay, I've got 28 things this week and I'm going to put them all into this app, in this right format and the next week I'm going to be like, right, well I don't have time to do that. And so I'm just going to do 26 things." And then you break it. And I think when you've got a format like that, it's so difficult to keep up with.
Matt Davey: 36:40 Maybe it's me being too busy for my own good and stuff like that. But I just think that if you have a freedom of a blank document and stuff to throw and no kind of judgment, it works so much better than, hey, fill out these five things about your day every day because that might not be what I right now.
Matt H: 36:59 Yeah, there is something very, I think a uniquely productive about just a blank sheet of paper and no other strings attached, no other structure involved just, here are my ideas and this is what I want to do or notes that I've taken or things like that. I think that there's something just very effective about being that simple. So yeah, I agree and I'm hoping that this planner thing works out for me. If not, I'll let you know. Try something else.
Matt H: 37:26 So, Matt, you've been so generous with your time and we really appreciate it. We're really excited about 1Password and what you guys will continue to do in the future and what the product is right now where it's fantastic. I do have some closing questions for you. So the first one is if you weren't involved in technology or design, and so, that was a difficult question to actually form because you're involved in so many different things, but if you weren't involved in technology and design, what do you think you'd be doing?
Matt Davey: 37:54 I think pottery or baking, I love having an end result. Software is so kind of iterative and gradually fixable. I try and strive for the 1% better rule, which that kind of keeps me going. If you make something 1% better every day, you don't get that with baking usually it's, you can't really fix a bad bake. Once it goes wrong, it goes wrong. But I still love that end result. With baking, it's bread, it's the simple kind of... You have two ingredients and you've suddenly made this loaf of bread. Yeah, I'd go pottery or baking, neither of which I'm good at. So, I don't think I'd be doing very well at them. But yeah, that's what I'd be doing. I think.
Matt H: 38:36 Well, and apparently you're good at making ice cream. So that's something you have going for you.
Matt Davey: 38:40 Yeah, that's true. I don't know how I did that. Yeah, it's chewy, which that's not a thing that you normally get with an ice cream or maybe want, but it was chewy and it was good.
Matt H: 38:49 Well, there you go. Chewy ice cream from Matt Davey. There you go. It's interesting you mentioned that because we actually heard pottery for that question before. One of my previous casts, Jason Fried of Basescamps said pottery as well. Also, he said gardening, which I thought was interesting. And those kinds of things are, I think common because it is, like you said, it's the process and a very tangible end result that can be improved upon. I think that's sort of the enticing for a lot of people involved in technology.
Matt Davey: 39:14 Yeah. The interesting thing about software is the feedback that you get and so the end result is always kind of in flux. So it's that constant satisfaction of putting something out there all the time. But I guess as a baker you have that every day, right? As a pottery person you are making those things everyday that someone either uses or buys or eats or something like that. So I think yeah, just having that kind of end result that people can give you feedback on I think is what keeps me going.
Matt H: 39:43 So the next question I have for you here is, you can take it any direction you like, but if you could force everyone to read one book?
Matt Davey: 39:50 Ah, that's a difficult question because I like biographies. There are basically different that you read and you rarely find one that's just like, this could be applicable to everyone, right? Usually I find people that have real passions in life. So one of my favorite books most recently is a Serious Eater by Ed Levine who made Serious Eats. So just the insane level of effort that they put into their recipes and stuff. I find that fascinating that they've obviously gone to a lot of effort into putting this one thing. Yeah, it's really cool.
Matt Davey: 40:29 But if I was going to say a book to be made to read by everyone, I would say, This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay, which is a doctor describing the national health system of Britain and I think it's a book that everybody needs to read because it's kind of, it goes so deep. NHS is obviously catering for the entire UK and so there are constantly under stress, but it's a really fascinating insight into how people treat doctors. It's basically the story of him becoming a doctor and then quitting and becoming a comedian.
Matt Davey: 41:06 And so yeah, it's basically about how people treat doctors. And I think if you're a doctor, you're doing such an amazing thing and you're doing such a hard, stressful job that when someone kind of treats you badly while doing it, it's kind of horrible, but it's an also hilariously dark book.
Matt H: 41:25 Yeah, that's a good one. I've never even heard of it. I will definitely will link to it as well. And that's one of my favorite questions because it leads my reading list to get longer and longer. But yeah, and I have a couple of doctors in my family, so I will definitely give that a read and I think hopefully maybe that'll give people some more empathy towards the medical profession and realize what kind of important work they're doing. Obviously it's the most important work probably that's around. So that's a good one. I like that one.
Matt Davey: 41:55 Yeah. I don't know maybe you were expecting a kind of business book of working remotely or something like that. But, I tend not to... I've read the normal ones that everybody reads, most of them written by by Basecamp employees. But yeah, I don't know, there's something about biographies that's just, you get in someone else's life for awhile, which I just find fascinating. It's particularly good when you're building a product to have that kind of super power of turning into someone else and kind of thinking as someone else. And I think this book just built so much empathy into me. Almost to the point where I was just like, "Wow, I'm never ever going to an NHS doctor at all because I don't want to stretch the system anymore than it's already stretched." But I got over that. I go to a doctor, it's fine.
Matt H: 42:51 Yeah, no, I actually get a variety of answers to that. And more often than not, it's actually not a business related book. It's always interesting. Sometimes it's literature, sometimes it's philosophy and sometimes it's a medicine related. So that's great.
Matt H: 43:08 So my last question here before I let you go here, Matt, and this is open-ended. So again, take this in whatever direction you'd like, but what is the best advice you've ever been given?
Matt Davey: 43:18 Hmm.. best advice. You see, I know it, but I don't want to give my CEO a big head, by choosing him over Buddha or someone, right? So I mean, he really changed my view on how to scale a company. He always tells me to hire and we're always constantly hiring for different things. And I viewed it like, "Oh, we need a department for this and then it's going to knock onto me that we need someone else for this." And the simplification that he gave to me was, "You have Bob in the design team and he's really busy and wouldn't you like two of him?"
Matt Davey: 43:54 And so effectively hiring what you see as another version of a person instead of a role that kind of adapts and has this and this and this. I think it's a really approachable way to grow your company. Just not worrying about, oh, okay overheads of this and okay, are we gonna need to put him on this team and this team? I think just seeing it as if you had another one of these people, would that be valuable to you? And using this mentality, we have essentially doubled our company most years that I've been there.
Matt Davey: 44:34 We're now at 160. I think we'll be at 200 by the end of this year and we would... Just about a hundred I believe last year. So, and I can certainly see people of value in our company that I would be like, "Yes I would, I would have another one of those in an instant," right? "They're so valuable. They're so talented. The projects that I could run if I had double their time. Yeah, it's a really interesting way to grow the company.
Matt H: 45:01 Yeah. Yeah. That's a unique one. I like that a lot. And that mentality obviously has been working well for you. Is that sort of, without getting too into it, is that something that you have had issues with just in terms of it seems like you're constantly hiring people? Do people come to you and then you find a place for them or do you sort of recognize that somebody else is really great and you want to find somebody like them and if you can find somebody like them, you bring them on and if you don't then you don't hire for that position? Is it that kind of way of going about it?
Matt Davey: 45:40 So I think it's a bit of both three to kind of cop out on the answer. When you find someone and you're like, "It's a brilliant fit", you put them wherever you feel that they would do best, right? Like if it's a designer and they're wanting to work on a certain project, you do your best to kind of say, "I think you'd do really well on this particular thing and go for it."
Matt Davey: 46:08 But I think when we start to look for specific areas that we need to hire for, I basically do base it on the person that is already doing that job and be like, "Right, okay, we need, we need another one of this. We need that skillset. I'll bring that person in." An to say like, "Do you think that this will be valuable for you to kind of impart all of your wisdom and all of your product knowledge and stuff on this other person and kind of share the burden between two people?" And as we need to scale leadership and things like that. We've done that organically. So that hasn't really been a problem in that sense.
Matt Davey: 46:47 When you hire remotely, one of the interesting things is the variety of people that you get. So when I'm looking for another version of a person, I don't have that person in my mind, Trey, I don't have exactly those things in my mind. I have the kind of person that that would work with and what they would be working on rather than the qualities exactly of that person. So the idea of casting your net essentially on the world, which is what we do every time we hire, it can be really intimidating. So I think bringing it down to earth and being like, "Right, okay. We need these certain skills." It really does help.
Matt H: 47:31 Yeah. Yeah. No, I think that's a interesting take and I'm always fascinated to hear about the hiring, especially remote teams. It does add a little bit more complexity and nuance to your process of onboarding and hiring people that you think are good fits. So that's super fascinating. But Matt, I think we should leave it there and I'd love to have you on again. I have more... Lots more questions about how you do that exactly. But maybe we will set that for a different time. Before you go though, is there anywhere else that you want to be sending people that we haven't already mentioned? So obviously we want people to go to 1Password. Is it 1password.com.
Matt Davey: 48:03 It is, yeah. 1password.com. You can follow us on Twitter at 1Password or you can follow me if you really want to @MattDavey.
Matt H: 48:12 All right, we'll link to all those and we'll link to the book recommendation and all the rest of the things we mentioned here. But Matt, we really appreciate you coming on. I learned so much and maybe we can do this again sometime.
Matt Davey: 48:23 Yeah, it was an absolute pleasure, anytime.
Matt H: 48:25 Thank you Matt. I appreciate it.
Matt Davey: 48:26 All right, thanks very much.
Matt H: 48:28 Thanks so much again for listening to the show. Be sure to check out. weworkremotely.com for the latest remote jobs and if you're looking to hire a remote worker, We Work Remotely is the fastest and easiest way to do so. As always, if you have someone that we should talk to, any advice you have, or if you'd like to advertise on the podcast, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org that's email@example.com. Thanks so much again for listening and we'll talk to you next time.