Making Tough Decisions For Good Reasons

Yesterday, I made the decision to discontinue offering Venture Event Manager as a standalone plugin in the WordPress plugin repository. Not to be confused with the Venture Platform, the managed website development solution for Arts & Culture organizations, these are just the stand-alone WordPress plugins.

While the plugin had good traction and the paid upgrade to the Pro version was clearing a profit, it wasn’t a good enough risk-reward reward given the direction WordPress development is headed.

But perhaps more importantly, I’ve been diverting considerably more resources toward UpStageCRM and when sitting down with my senior developers for a quarterly strategic planning meeting, it made more sense to redirect resources needed to keep that business model running toward more, and better, updates to the core product which is still the cornerstone of the full Venture Platform service.

That means the event manager is still available, but only for full Venture Platform users.

One of the larger questions that needed an answer was how to handle existing Pro users who license use of the plugin annually. I had to either cut them off after their next renewal or find a way for them to continue.

The former option wasn’t very palpable even though it’s quite common throughout the premium WordPress plugin sector. It’s hard to beat an empathetic approach and I imagined how I would react in their position. As a result, we did come up with a way to allow those Pro users to continue renewing their annual license for as long as they like, regardless if they become a Venture Platform user or not (but rest assured, they’ll certainly get an incentive if they do).

All of this made me think about how many arts and culture orgs keep programs, memberships, and subscriptions around longer than they should. When was the last time you reviewed your programs to see if shutting something down might be the best solution?

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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