Post 4000

Today marks Adaptistration’s 4,000th post and by way of a conservative estimate, that’s approximately 3,330,000 words dedicated (mostly) to the business of orchestras over the course of 15 years.

1,000 articles ago, I published something to help mark the 3,000th post occasion and listed the following five goals I hope to accomplish by the time I decide to retire from blogging:

  1. I would be grateful if Adaptistration helps prevent good managers from turning bad.*
  2. Providing those entering the field with a much broader, yet thorough, perspective on how it has evolved and why that history matters.
  3. Help prevent an incoming manager with real potential from leaving the field due to the host of reasons fueling the bonfire that is arts admin attrition.
  4. Inspiring individuals to regularly advocate for transparency and internalize the ability to maintain an unbiased view of stakeholders and their actions, regardless of their position in the field.
  5. Marginalize the impact of the growing cultural-industrial complex.

I can’t claim to have any quantifiable research for the first and third points, but based on anecdotal evidence, it’s always gratifying to hear from arts administrators when they reach out to say that they appreciate knowing they aren’t the only ones to see things a certain way. Knowing you aren’t alone is a key element in pushing back against an overwhelming feeling that you aren’t able to make a difference.

For point two, metrics clearly indicate that over the last 1,000 articles, average reader age is going down. Moreover, the two most common age groups are 25-34 and 18-24 and their ratio of overall readership is steadily increasing (together, they comprise nearly 50 percent of readers). Readers in the older age groups are holding steady at the same quantity of readers. Consequently, increased exposure throughout the two youngest age groups is a good indication of progress.

For the latter two points, I’ll have to spend more time determining how best to measure this impact. I don’t have any desire to edit those goals but compared to the others, they are more challenging to measure.

Thank YOU

My napkin calculations indicate I’ve allocated more than two years’ worth of work hours (based on a 40-hour work week at 52-weeks per year) on this blog plus the time managing,, and

In the end, none of this has value without readers. As such, I want to extend my gratitude for helping make all that effort worthwhile. Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing, and thank you for engaging.


*By bad, I mean becoming so bitter and jaded that pride in accomplishment is only a memory while each day is consumed more by identifying ways to pay back wrongs (perceived and real) and amass control.

About Drew McManus

"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.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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