The Story Behind oneID
Steve Kirsch, Founder
What inspired oneID?
It was my sister, really. Her Yahoo! Mail account was breached, she called me asking what to do. I told her to change the password. She then asked me if changing it would prevent her account from being hacked again. I realized that the answer was ‘no’ and that there had to be a much better way for us to protect our personal information online. The username/password system is woefully outdated and broken, and I set out to offer a better way.
How did you get started?
I spent about a year working with top cryptography experts to design a new way of authenticating yourself online using digital signatures. I knew that there were (and are) lots of products out there that are add-ons to the username and password system, but they don’t address the big problem; they are just bandaids. More had to be done. The plumbing had to be fixed.
oneID was designed to be super secure and dead-simple to use. We launched something more than an MVP. It was (and is) a full fledged federated identity platform, immune to mass breach, with both consumer and website tools. The initial UX was raw but the platform was sound. And everyone we told about oneID wanted it. People hate passwords and wanted to know where they could use it.
We realized that we couldn’t boil the ocean at once, that we had to take a stepped approach to our ultimate goal of fixing the password problem and achieving broad adoption by both consumers and the sites they visit. We had to create a bridge. Fast forward to today, we have built applications on top of our federated identity platform that both consumers and sites can use to ease the pain of usernames and passwords, while also making them more secure.
Do not give up. Listen to the market and adjust your plans, but don’t give up. And know when you don’t know something and get advice and help.