Drew McManus, Editor-in-Chief

Arts Consulting

“I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired.”

Those were the first words out of an executive’s mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house. I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight.

So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals “aggressively embracing career change” but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why. In short, it doesn’t matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can’t keep your own clients out of the ground, and I’m fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I’ve done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

Technology

In addition to my consulting business, I’m also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I’m just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower.

With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, founded an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.

Connect With Drew

Drew McManus, editor-in-chief

Article Archive

Orchestra & Opera Workplace Satisfaction: Spring 2018

At the end of 2016, we published a pair of articles that surveyed arts managers about how and why they changed jobs. Since then, I’ve been tracking workplace satisfaction levels at orchestras and operas by way of glassdoor.com reviews. The Spring 2018 update was published at my orchestra management blog but I wanted to see if any ArtsHacker readers would be interested in compiling similar data for other arts sectors (theater, dance,…

Is Google Reading Your Data Correctly? Find Out with This Handy Tool

In order to really maximize your content in Google search results, you should be taking advantage of structured data. Back in December, 2015 we learned how to use Google’s terrific Data Highlighter tool to manually match your content up with their structured data formats. That tool is still available, but the best way is still integrated structured data tags right into your specialized content. However, figuring out if that task has been…

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Stability and Security

While open source publishing platforms (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.) are loaded with positives, one of the growing challenges is making sure the combination of themes and plugins function as designed without conflicts following updates. If you think you can avoid the problem by simply ignoring updates, think again. They often include critical security updates that protect your site from hackers looking to exploit potential vulnerabilities. More often, updates include improvements and new…

Are You Ready For GDPR Compliance?

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations related to personal data collection will go into effect.  A quick google search will produce a wide range of sources capable of providing an overview but in a nutshell, it means that if your organization processes personal data of EU citizens, you must comply with required consent measures. If your organization collects and stores user EU citizen…

Legacy Cost Hero

Become Your Organization’s Legacy Cost Hero

Nonprofits are always looking for ways to control costs and stretch budgets, but it never ceases to amaze at how many groups overlook some of the juiciest low hanging fruit: Total Cost of Ownership for web-based platforms. Specifically, actual out of pocket costs across multiple years to properly maintain your website, CRM, Ticketing service, email marketing account, e-commerce platform, etc. is something most groups don’t know, but would be shocked if they…

An Arts Managers Checklist For Dealing With The Loss Of Net Neutrality After April 23rd

An Arts Manager’s Checklist For Dealing With The Loss Of Net Neutrality After April 23rd

Recent last-ditch efforts to block the repeal of net neutrality in the Senate have failed (be sure to hold your senators responsible if they voted against protecting net neutrality) so barring any unexpected developments, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered net neutrality to end on April 23, 2018. Here’s what you should do to prepare. Contents1) Don’t Panic2) Be Proactive3) If You Use Providers: Start Communicating4) If You Self-Manage: Get Busy 1)…

Free Resource Getting Started With Google Analytics

Free Resource: Getting Started With Google Analytics

Recently, fellow ArtsHacker, Ceci Dadisman, and I enjoyed giving a presentation to attendees of the Southeastern Theatre Conference 2018 Convention on how to use Google Analytics (GA) to make data-driven improvements to website content and layouts. The session was geared toward professionals just getting into GA. Content focused on using out-of-the-box GA features and simple to implement settings changes to provide access to must-have data. Simply put, if GA seems new and a…

LinkedIn Kills Off Share Counters

LinkedIn Kills Off Share Counters

If you’ve been wondering why all of your LinkedIn share counters don’t seem to work, don’t worry, it isn’t you, it’s LinkedIn. The company posted an innocuous announcement about killing of the feature and buried it their developer blog. In addition to the counter function being removed, they blitzed all the existing underlying data which means all of your existing share counters will be set back to zero (assuming they aren’t there…

Action Alert Net Neutrality

Action Alert: Operation #OneMoreVote – Encourage Your Representatives To Overturn The FCC’s Decision To End Net Neutrality

Today is a key date for Congress to nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality protections. The Congressional Review Act affords Congress the ability to overturn federal regulations, such as the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality. The process begins with the Senate where the vote is expected to be a tie. If so, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of maintaining the…

Google Grants

If You Use Google Ad Grants, You’ll Want To know About These Changes

There’s a terrific article by Jason King in the 1/23/2018 edition of the Nonprofit Technology Conference blog that examines how recent changes to Google Ad Grant’s terms and conditions put some users at risk of temporary account suspension. A whole raft of new rules came into effect on the January 1st of 2018, many of which carry the risk of temporary suspension of your account. Here are some of the new policies: If…

Looking For 2018 Artist Grants and Opportunities

Looking For 2018 Artist Grants and Opportunities?

Artwork Archive recently compiled a terrific list of Artist grants and published them with a user-friendly lists of FAQ details such as award amounts, deadlines, and limited artist fields. Most of the opportunities focus on the graphic arts field but you’ll find a few that are broader in scope. Moreover, they have a handy list of online resources that help keep artists apprised of new opportunities. Visit Artwork Archive’s The Complete Guide…

Minification

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Minification and Reducing HTTP Requests

One of the most common problems WordPress users run into over time are slowdowns resulting from an overload of HTTP requests. In English, those requests are the sum of getting and sending data, which could be something simple like files and images to something quite complex like social sharing, analytics tracking, and eCommerce functionality. The more stuff a user can interact with on any given page, the more HTTP requests it generates….

CTA Generator

Just In Time For The Holidays: An Update To The Interactive CTA Generator For Arts Marketers

Back in March, fellow ArtsHacker Ceci Dadisman pointed out Capacity Interactive’s CTA Generator and they recently came back with an add-on by Krisi Packer for four new calls-to-action buttons: email subscriptions, view calendar, membership join, and registration. You can go through each variation using the super fun slot machine function they’ve baked into the equation. But if you’re the impatient type, you can leverage the Google Chrome Inspect Element skills you’ve developed here…

Database Optimization

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Database Optimization

At the heart of a website is its database. Different publishing platforms will opt for one database format over another but this installment will focus on the MySQL database management system as used inside a WordPress environment. Although most of the optimization tasks we’ll be reviewing rely on running SQL queries, we’re also include a list of WordPress plugin resources you can use for implementing some of these tasks. The good news…

Image Compression

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Image Compression

Among the wide array of options available for improving page load speeds and server performance, image compression is one of the most important. The best part is regardless your skillset, there are options at your disposal for making improvements. We’ll be examining both plugin based and direct methods. In most cases, you’ll be able to use one, the other, or both to maximize effectiveness. Contents1. Manual Image CompressionGeneral Image-Editing Software Optimization SettingsAdobe…

Establishing Speed And Performance Benchmarks

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Establishing Speed And Performance Benchmarks

In order to get the most out of your optimization efforts and counteract post net neutrality slowdowns, you need to have a reliable starting point to use as a frame of reference. That process begins with taking a series of page speed performance benchmark snapshots. To that end, there are several powerful tools available that are also free to use. The first two offer free user accounts that come in handy when…

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Where To Start

ArtsHacker’s Guide To Combating Post Net Neutrality Slowdowns: Where To Start

Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, Ajit Pai, laid out his plan to repeal existing net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is the name given to the set of regulations that require Telecom providers, (like internet service providers Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T) to deliver all web content at the same speed. If you aren’t already familiar with what net neutrality is and why it’s so important to nonprofit arts…

What We’re Thankful For As Arts Administrators 2017

What We’re Thankful For As Arts Administrators 2017

Editor’s Note: You don't need anyone telling you this year has been a steady diet of challenge coated challenges with challenge flavored filling, but we're not about to let that get us down. In fact, it's time to show some gratitude so to that end, I asked our ArtsHackers to share a few of the things they are grateful for as arts administrators during this Thanksgiving season. Joe Patti I am grateful that...
Master Your Domain With Google Search Console Connecting Everything To Google Analytics

Master Your Domain With Google Search Console: Connecting Everything To Google Analytics

Now that you’ve created your Google Search Console (CSG) account, have all the website versions set up as properties, selected a preferred version, and submitted a sitemap, you’re ready to connect everything to your Google Analytics (GA) account. Allowing GSC to share data with GA is one of the benefits that makes all this work worthwhile! Google is updating and enhancing the shared data benefits all the time. You can track current…

Master Your Domain With Google Search Console Must-Have Settings

Master Your Domain With Google Search Console: Must-Have Settings

Now that you have your Google Search Console (GSC) account created, you’re ready to get cracking on must-have settings and configurations. Immediately after your account is verified, you’ll notice a message in the site’s “Messages” dashboard. It’s an automatic message from Google and although it might seem like one of those obligatory “thanks for signing up” notes, it points out some critical next-steps you’ll need to complete. The most efficient way to…

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