Episode: The Cost of Early Adoption, with Ryan Guth

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The Cost of Early Adoption, with Ryan Guth

The Cost of Early Adoption, with Ryan Guth


The best choir directors are innovators, which is great for their choirs. But there are costs and risks involved in blazing a new trail, and those risks don’t just land on your shoulders, Director; they are shared by your choir. So before you implement that new vision or schedule or teaching method, make sure you are aware of your responsibilities. Ryan shares the lessons he has learned as a lifelong innovator/entrepreneur, focusing on his most recent venture, the Choirs Are Horrible card game.


Tweet this: “If you are going to trailblaze a new path, there is going to be some fallout.” - @RyanMGuth       


Show Notes:

  • “Early adopters” are those who buy into the product from the first. Whether it’s Tesla, solar panels, or Choir Ninja, early adopters pay a premium for being first in line. The cost is higher, and the product is not as good as it will be in a few years.
  • Sometimes you go to a conference or summer class and get a new vision for your choir program. It’s time for big exciting changes! But this means your students are early adopters.
  • There are risks involved in being an innovator, and the risks are shared by you and your students.
  • Your responsibilities:
    • Admit what you don’t know. Be transparent.
    • Embrace under promising and over delivering.
    • Ask for feedback.
    • It’s okay to apologize when thing don’t turn out according to your plan.


Having spent most of his middle and high school career in detention, Ryan Guth loves to speak to audiences about ways for choral directors to engage the seemingly un-engageable.

Ryan learned fearlessness and indomitable spirit from a young age through many years studying the martial arts while also pursuing music – especially the time in middle school when he tried to break a board with his head in front his entire ninth grade class and failed spectacularly.He believes the best choir directors face challenges head-on (no pun intended), are solutions-oriented, and take full responsibility forall aspects of their program.  Ryan’s most popular and surprisingly positive article “Your Choir Sucks Because You Suck” was shared over 2,200 times in 48 hours, and has since become his manifesto, mantra, and the platform that his work was built upon. Through his first podcast, Find Your Forte, Ryan connected thousands of weekly listeners with some of the most brilliant minds in choral music such as Helmuth Rilling, Patrick Quigley, Joseph Flummerfelt, James Bass, and 80-plus others. He recognizes the fact we become the best when we learn from the best.Ryan Guth recently created the Choir Ninja podcast to share solutions with middle and high school choral directors so they learn to work smarter – not harder. That’s why he focuses on sharing what works in choral programs across Choir Nation in a way that makes running a great choral program approachable, fun, and rewarding. When not dressing up in his ninja jammies or buffing his diploma from Westminster Choir College, Ryan is a financial advisor in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before that, he spent a decade building a large middle school program and six-figure-choral-ensemble-based-for-profit-business in central New Jersey. He is also the founder and sole member of the Hyphenation Club of America.Ryan enjoys getting lost outdoors with his beautiful fiancé, Amanda, and pitbull-lab Sasha. He also dislikes socks and only wears them when absolutely necessary. This bio was sponsored by Gold Bond Powder.

Resources/links Mentioned:




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Choir Ninja, with Ryan Guth
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