I have not kept it a secret that I was a professional in the software business for 25 years. This culminated in a 4 month all expense paid trip to London which was well documented in this blog. My job was to design software for procurement, a complicated process to analyze, a process about which I knew nothing when I started my job. When I retired, I was awarded a very nice plaque on which I was called "The Architect." I like to think I am one of the reasons my company is still around. No one tells me what has happened to all the programs since I retired. Best not to know.
Blogging causes me to come in contact with the websites of many opera companies and festivals around the world. I cannot help having a professional reaction to them. They are almost universally terrible to appalling. We are living in the world of computers, and it is long past due for the opera world to catch up.
What is the easiest thing to find in an opera website? How to buy tickets. We try to sympathize with this perspective, but think it might be best to look at other more successful websites for guidance. There are a number of businesses that exist only in the ether: Amazon and Expedia might be considered examples. These people assume you are there to buy something and focus their attention on what it is you may wish to buy. They push their products to the fore and save the paying for the end. They keep track of who you are and what you are there to look at.
And what is the hardest thing to find on an opera website? Sometimes it is completely impossible. Who is singing and when will they be in town? Perhaps the webmaster thinks his customer base is ignorant of opera and doesn't know one singer from another. I assure you this is not true. May I suggest that you promote the singers, and their resulting increased prominence will in turn promote you. I recommend that you pitch the shit out of them, make them sound like the next big thing, start by believing it yourself, and your company will reap the benefits. You might start by finding out who actually is the next big thing, and hiring them (see Parterre). Yes, they might cancel, but that can't be helped. Opera seasons are in the winter and people catch diseases in the winter.
From my perspective this is a huge subject which I could hardly cover in a blog post.
Traffic Advisory, SF Civic Center
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