Andrew Milich / 1.19.2021Home / news

We choose to go to the Moon

Skiff is on a mission to change how users interact with privacy-first software
Skiff launches private, end-to-end encrypted collaboration platform
What if we wrote consumer software as if it were going to space?
When engineers build spacecrafts, they extensively test every line of code and piece of hardware. Before anything is bolted to the inside of a rocket, the entire craft is vigorously shaken inside a vacuum chamber designed to simulate the toughest conditions it may encounter on its journey to orbit. Testing software bound for space is a solemn responsibility, and such procedures reflect a commitment to building systems that put safety first.
Yet - building safety-first systems does not begin and end with code reviews or simulative vacuum chambers. A system can only properly be deemed safe - on earth or in space - if it provides exceptional usability, reliability, and performance in the hands of users. Using a well-designed product safely should feel effortless. That approach was inculcated during my time at SpaceX, but it’s far from the norm in the consumer software industry. Indeed, the widespread (and often opaque) monetization and sharing of sensitive user data can make the straightforward usage of consumer software feel dangerous.We founded Skiff because we believe we must bring usable, safety-first development to consumer software.
Online collaboration in particular is an area which currently lacks options that prioritize user safety and security. While collaboration needs don’t encompass drifting out of orbit or crashing into the lunar surface, safety is nonetheless paramount. Users expect that everything they create and share will remain secure and private - that they will retain control over their data and its use. For us, the “space approach” - using vetted and up-to-date technology to build uncompromisingly safe, beautifully-designed, and user-centric systems - is the only way to write software.
Treating our users like astronauts has been addictively rewarding. Our engineers spend their days standing in users’ shoes, relentlessly focused on both the technical and human dimensions of safety-oriented online collaboration. We aren’t building software in seclusion and dressing it up with policies to mitigate risk- we’re envisioning and executing our product from the ground up in close partnership with our users. Our team is composed of engineers, designers and anthropologists, all oriented towards safety, working to understand secure collaboration needs and meet them with usable and beautiful human-friendly solutions.Our first product is an end-to-end encrypted collaboration platform. Skiff offers users a private and secure means of communicating in groups and collaborating in real time on documents, spreadsheets, and files. The platform, unlike current offerings with similar functionality, is engineered to demand only minimal trust from the user while providing a superlative user experience. Our approach to its security architecture, feature set, and interface have been informed by our learnings from hundreds of conversations with early users from around the world.We would love to have you join us on this journey. We’ve added you to this newsletter because at some point in the last year, a member of our team has had a conversation with you, and you’ve directly influenced how we’ve been building our product. If you’d like to stay in the loop, stay subscribed. You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, or sign up for our beta waitlist here.Thank you for your help in getting here. We can’t wait to see where this year takes us.Andrew Milich, Skiff Co-founder and CEO

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