Web Highlights: Artsicle, and the art of the trial period

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Web Highlights: Artsicle, and the art of the trial period

I had two interesting experiences that occurred in parallel, recently. While observing my security habits and reflecting on how I could improve, I came across 1Password (I grant you that focusing on a separate product is a strange way to start a Web Highlights entry), an all-in-one password management utility that’s pretty swell.

At first, I was reluctant to pull the trigger and swallow the formidable price tag on my cross-platform bill. In fact, I was consistently reluctant as I studied functionality and experimented with my options inside the 1Password trial product. It wasn’t until my trial was nearing its expiration date that I realized I couldn’t easily operate without it, anymore. 1Password, simply by being granted temporary occupancy, had tip-toed its way into my workflow and my heart. I couldn’t do without.

Around the same time, I re-visited Small Empires, a stellar series hosted by Alexis Ohanian (think co-founder of Reddit and launch partner of Hipmunk) in collaboration with The Verge. The focus is/was on the world of startups in New York, but it was episode 4 and the dialogue with Artsicle that piqued my interest.

If you’re unfamiliar, Artsicle is a team committed to bringing artists local to you into the spotlight, and getting their artwork into your home. It sounds like a bold undertaking in today’s market of cheap poster prints available online and the relative obscurity of modern, burgeoning artists who are creating without a mouse and a pointer. Nonetheless, it was clear to me that Artsicle was on to something, and that there was something meaningful in these trial and rental systems.

Artsicle, like 1Password, was on to the idea that once you’ve integrated your product into the lives of your market, you’ve won. By renting a painting to a home, you’re more likely than ever to convince a buyer that the painting was meant to occupy their space. By extending a free software trial to a user, you’re posturing to have the user invite you into their routine and ultimately let go of how to do without.