Have I Been Pwned Employee 1.0: Stefán Jökull Sigurðarson

We often do that in this industry, the whole "1.0" thing, but it seems apt here. I started Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) in 2013 as a pet project that scratched an itch, so I never really thought of myself as an "employee". Over time, it grew (and I tell you what, nobody is more surprised by that than me!) and over the last few years, my wife Charlotte got more and more involved. Technically, we're both employees and we work on HIBP things but we're like, well, beta versions.

Today, I'm very happy to announce our first full-time, production-ready employee: Stefán Jökull Sigurðarson. This is both a massive commitment on Charlotte's and my part and a leap of faith on Stefán's and deserves some background:

I suffer somewhat from what I'll call the "founder's paradox", that is I find myself having built something genuinely useful and wanting to see it grow and mature yet also not wanting to let go. I want to be involved in everything, but I also want to go on holidays sometimes and tune out. I like making decisions on every aspect of how the service runs, but I want it to outlive me. Bringing any outside party into any business can be hard to come to terms with, but especially in the case of HIBP where it's become so critical to so many people and deals with so much sensitive data. Which is why I have to trust people like Stefán because if I don't, I'm one shark / snake / croc incident away from disappointing a lot of people.

Trust is the cornerstone of why Stefán is joining us now. Not just trust in his technical skills, but trust in him as a person. I've known Stefán for many years now, initially when he came to one of my Hack Yourself First workshops in Oslo back in 2018, then as a blogger writing about how he was implementing Pwned Passwords at EVE Online, then as conference speaker himself, a Microsoft MVP, and in 2021, as the person who selflessly gave up his own time to support the open source Pwned Passwords. What we never made any formal announcements about is that we did hire Stefán on a part-time basis beginning earlier last year to help out with the coding when he had free cycles amidst his full-time work. That went great and he obviously enjoyed working at HIBP so earlier this month, Stefán handed in his resignation and will shortly be a full-time employee.

I'm really happy with the timing of this and how it's all worked out. We're in a position to make the financial commitment largely because of finally putting a price on searches for large domains last year. What this has allowed us to do is shift money from companies who see value in the service (more than half the Fortune 500 use the domain search feature), and reinvest it into making HIBP more sustainable. Getting Stefán onboard is the manifestation of that investment and you'll very shortly see his work begin to translate into highly visible new features. But what you won't see is the stuff that's even more important, especially as it relates to running a more sustainable service that no longer has me as a single point of failure.

So, welcome Stefán, and thank you for your commitment 😊

Oh - just one more thing: I was looking around for a great hero image for this blog post and I found this awesome video of Stefán swimming through a semi-frozen Norwegian fjord before riding an iceberg. For real, this it perhaps the most Nordic thing I've ever seen (Stefán being from Iceland and all), but unfortunately videos don't really lend themselves to hero images, so I went switch a stylised AI-generated rendition of the event.

Have I Been Pwned
Tweet Post Update Email RSS

Hi, I'm Troy Hunt, I write this blog, create courses for Pluralsight and am a Microsoft Regional Director and MVP who travels the world speaking at events and training technology professionals