Holding Myself Accountable


Holding Myself Accountable

Wow, for all its twists and turns, this past year went fast! The last sentence in my December 2020 prediction column was “I can’t wait to read this article in November 2021 and see how wrong I was.” For having never written a prediction essay before, I think I came pretty close to nailing it! Here’s a quick recap, and then since that went so well, I’ll try it again!

Prediction #1 was that life would return to normal during the year. It’s mind-bending to me that vaccines had not yet been approved for use a year ago. Life has returned and we’re enjoying more freedoms, like attending sporting events and going out for dinner. However, the disease is much more pervasive than I thought it would be post-vaccinations, emphasizing what experts have been telling us for some time: this disease is going to be around forever, much like the flu.

This brings me to Prediction #2. Last year I said that vaccinations would not be “one and done,” but would need to be administered once a year, just like flu shots. It wasn’t too long after emergency approval came that the concept of a second booster emerged and now most Americans fall into a population approved for a third booster. 

For my money, I think the medical community did a pretty nice job of breaking the news to us slowly that we couldn’t escape regular updates of the vaccine. It just makes sense. The virus will continue to mutate, and science will need to keep up. Sign me up!

Prediction #3 was about how much more collaboration there would be in 2021. While it’s difficult to measure how “correct” I was, what I know for sure is that at least one industry leader decided that buying companies provided a straighter line to collaboration than partnering. There is more than one way to scale the mountain. And while consolidation will certainly continue into 2022, I still believe working together on behalf of our parking customers will be more important than ever. 

Last year, when I wrote that prediction, I was thinking primarily about connecting the wires “in the backroom.” I still think connecting our platforms behind the scenes is a critical path to meeting our customers’ expectation of delivering a “frictionless” parking experience. Although, a year later, I realize there’s much more needed to create successful collaboration in our industry.

This year, I have a different spin on collaboration, and it involves creating a collective voice to the outside world. Last month, a group of parking executives got to talking about the bad rap our industry takes on a regular basis from those that don’t understand or appreciate our value. 

This group concluded, and I agree, it’s time we begin to think about how to raise our voices collectively, to shine a light on our value, dispel the rumors and help everyone who owns a car or writes about the impending doom of our industry, to see what is right in front of their eyes. 

The number of cars produced and sold continues to go up every year, as it has for the previous 50 years, and our fellow U.S. citizens need parking more than ever! 

In fact, just like a car, a house or a business, parking facilities require investment to maintain. To make a profit by charging market rates for parking is no more a mercenary than the rising cost of steak at your local restaurant or a gallon of gas at the filling station. Stay tuned.

Prediction #4 was that parking would cross the digital divide. Uh, duh!

My Prediction #5 also came true! We did welcome back the chance to gather at parking shows once again. It was great to see colleagues face-to-face and, just as I predicted, we didn’t dread traveling. 

Rather, we welcomed it with open arms (although, I must say wearing a mask in an airport and on an airplane remains a real drag). My true wish for 2022 is that with the return of parking volumes, budgets will once again support the return of ALL our parking colleagues to next years’ conferences.

When I tally up the hits and misses from last year’s predictions, I’d say I got it mostly right. Perhaps I didn’t step that far out of the box and everything I wrote was already in the cards. 

What I can say for sure is that the pace of change and transformation in our industry will continue to accelerate in 2022. 

So, rather than quitting my day job to take my predictive powers on the road, I’m looking forward to a great year in parking in 2022, where we can all find a new rhythm in post-COVID life.

Article contributed by:
Brian Wolff
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