No Offense/None Taken: My Blog and Clarity

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No Offense/None Taken: My Blog and Clarity

My blog below on renaming the parking industry (Parking thy name is Mobility) elicited the following response. I thought it important enough to bring it out into the sunlight so we all could benefit from its wisdom:

No offense John, but Lee Iacocca hasn’t been relevant in 30 years.  Many professionals in our industry weren’t even born when he retired in 1992.   While I agree that changing names on whims and trends isn’t always the smartest course of action, living in the past isn’t either.

Iacocca also knew when trends were changing and adapted Chrysler to meet consumer demands. His introduction of the minivan saved Chrysler – he was an innovator.   That same minivan concept was rejected by Henry Ford II because it wasn’t what was traditional – a move he regretted.

So maybe instead of fighting to maintain the old… embrace the new and be an industry leader.

First, I take no offense but I’m not so sure about Lee Iacocca. Or for that matter any person not born after 1992 (meaning anyone over, what 27?)  Sorry, I don’t mean to be snarky, but please, surely you haven’t succumbed to the shibboleth that ideas of those alive in the past are by definition irrelevant. Do you include Aristotle, Freud, Descartes, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Einstein, Jobs, those scientists at Bell Labs who invented the transistor, Churchill, King, oh pick one of 100 or 1000 more. Are they irrelevant?

I guess my blog wasn’t clear, although that was the point, clarity.  “I’m in the CAR business.” Clear – “I’m in the PARKING business.” Clear. “I’m a leader in new technology, that will transform the future and make the world a better place.” Not so much.

When Steve Jobs put a 20 page insert in the New York Times describing in detail his new computer, it was met with yawns. When Apple placed an ad with two words “Think Different” the firm’s new machine flew off the shelves. Clarity.

I visited a start up a few years ago. They were attempting to tell me what they did. I was 30 minutes into their presentation before I realized they were a Pay by Cell company. I asked them to rethink their presentation and put their company’s description into one sentence. They did and now are one of the most successful Pay by Cell companies in the country. Clarity.

Maybe it’s maintaining the old or cloaked in irrelevance, but being able to clearly describe what you mean, in precise language, is an admirable skill. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

If we can describe the technology we are using today in a way that people will understand is helping them to better find, access, and pay for parking thus making the industry more responsive to them, perhaps we can change the perception of “Parking” and let it become a profession that brings pride and honor to itself.

We don’t levitate a car into a garage, we don’t transport a car into a garage, we still don’t mentally cause a car to enter a garage and stay, we park it. Clarity.

JVH

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John Van Horn

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