He’s Mad as Hell ... About Technology
A consultant loses it over technology, on his shrink’s couch.
Joe Sciulli (barging in): I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore! I’ve had it with technology!!
Dr. Van Horn: Nice to see you, too. Steamed again, huh?
JS: Like a cheap shirt at a dollar laundry.
Dr. VH: Well, it’s been at least six months since you were here, so I figured you’d be boiling over like a ’55 Plymouth with a broken nose – I mean, hose! No offense, Joe.
JS: None taken.
Dr. VH: As for your displeasure with technology, I’ve heard that from a lot of folks these days. It’s old news. But this inquiring mind still wants to know why you’re feeling that way.
JS: OK. I converted to the latest software suite and document programs – some great features, mind you, but if you’re in a rush and need to do what comes naturally, like a simple command, it’s like, “Where’s Waldo?”
Dr. VH: Translate.
JS: The menus are different; the sub-menus are different – stuff like that. They moved not only the cheese, damn it, but the cutting board and the stinkin’ mousetrap all at the same time!
Dr. VH: We’ll, I’ve got your cure, but pay attention, because it’s complicated: Get over it! Put your big-boy Calvins on, Sciulli, and improvise, adapt, overcome!
JS: Sounds like Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge” – a great movie, by the way.
Dr. VH: True, but he got that line from me, I think. Now, stand aside, and introduce me to this young lady you brought with you. But, remember, I never said my therapy was two for the price of one.
JS: Ah, she’s not a patient, Doc, just an old friend I ran into. I wanted you to meet a real, live parking analyst, Deara Person! They’re a vanishing breed. She was a parking analyst when analysts were analysts, you know what I mean? Analyzing all those parking analysis indicators I talk about analyzing all the time.
Dr. VH: Let me analyze your statement for a moment, but it scares the living daylights out of me that I understand what you mean. Deara, nice to meet you; I extend my hand along with my condolences on knowing Joe that long.
Deara Person: Hey, no problem, Doc VH. Joe and I go way back to a time when analysts were analysts. We keep parking moving.
JS: I like to think that Deara and I “keep it real.”
DP: That’s real for you, Joe, but we’re “keeping it jiggy for the younger generation, which understands what I’m saying.
Dr. VH: Oh, man, I love that Will Smith song! Sing it in the shower every morning. I’m “getting jiggy wit’ it” all the time, you know? I’m jiggy in my blog, jiggy in my mag, jiggy at the address – just ask Robyn. ... So, it’s a real strong relationship between you two, isn’t it?
DP: Well, you know, Doc, I walked out of one of Joe’s parking analyst training sessions years ago, because I was young and didn’t understand his parking dialogue. OK, maybe he put me out. But that was then, and this is now. I’ve learned to value what people say, even if they talk funny.
Dr. VH: Smart lady. You’re a friend for life now, my Deara. But why’d you bolt the session?
DP: Back then, I didn’t have the right appreciation for the power of those parking indicators as I do now. Maybe the big picture wasn’t always explained to us.
Dr. VH: Ah, you mean an analyst’s ability to shape regulations, policies and enforcement by looking at parking activity indicators?
DP: That’s as jiggy as it gets, Doc.
Dr. VH: And I bet you spoke with merchants and neighborhood groups about the parking program, too! Helped them get the regulations they needed, like loading zones, residential zones, those kinds of things.
DP: You know it! But I drew the line that time Joe asked all the Philly parking analysts to stand on corners in Center City Philadelphia and time how many seconds a parking space stayed vacant.
JS: Picture it, Doc: parking analysts deployed on different corners downtown, each timing vacancies on four to eight blockfaces on key streets over the midday peak. Do the math. Close to a thousand spaces covered. It was a beautiful thing. I still get chills thinking about a graph of the results even now, more than 20 years later!!
Dr. VH: You’re a sick pup, Sciulli; you need a vet, not a shrink. What did you do with that graph?
JS: I’ve kept it in my wallet all these years, Doc. ... Here, take a look …
Dr. VH: No, not the actual graph, dummy – what happened with the information?
JS: Oh ... you mean what resulted from all that data collection?
Dr. VH: Catch on quick,
JS: Well, get jiggy with this, Doc. With the other indicators that the Philly analysts had been collecting through the years – violation rates, capture rates and the percent of optimum turnover – the Philadelphia Parking Authority was able to document trends that eventually lead to changes in the city’s parking code, including disabled parking provisions.
Dr. VH: So that’s how Philly stopped its disabled abuse?
JS: In large part, yes; and that’s according to Rick Dickson, the PPA’s Deputy Executive Director! That chart added a unique visual perspective to parking demand and availability.
DP: Not to mention the unique visual perspective that city trashmen were trying to get of all the female analysts standing on corners for hours at a time. And asking about our availability, too! But that’s another story. I called it the “Happy Hooker Assignment.”
Dr. VH: Definitely above and beyond the call of duty, I’d say.
DP: Yes, that’s right! We all looked and felt like happy hookers standing on the street corners of Philly for that long, waiting to be picked up by some men with money in their pockets. You know what I mean, right, Dr. VH?
Dr. VH: You bet … uh, no Deara – no, not at all. At least not the Happy Hooker part!
JS: Smooth, Doc, real smooth.
Dr. VH: But tell me, Deara, it still sounds like you questioned Joe’s methods. What changed your mind about doing all that analysis?
DP: I see the error – my lack of understanding, really – about the true meaning of parking analytics.
Dr. VH: Get jiggy wit’ it now, Deara!
DP: You go, Dr. VH! I realize now that even the best parking organizations can develop some stale air – having an outsider come in to look at things in a new way, ushering in new perspectives, suggesting new ideas – that’s a good thing.
Dr. VH: Talk to me!
DP: And now that I’m in the CAPP program through the IPI and working on a PhD at the same time, I finally understand the need for parking innovations and different approaches.
Dr. VH: Another PhD coming to the parking industry, huh? Well, we have Harkins, Robinson and Chance, maybe more. But the more the merrier, I say.
JS: And I just might have a real analyst to go to from now on, Doc. No offense.
Dr. VH: None taken. So the point is, having an outsider look at your inside and outside ops from the outside-in can help develop your inside folks for their outside parking duties? And maybe help them think outside the dreaded proverbial box?
Dr. VH: Good, now go take an outside look at my office – from the outside! As in: leave, Sciulli, your time’s up. But, Deara, it sure was nice to meet you.
DP: You too, Doc VH. Joe’s told me a lot about you: forward thinker, not afraid to mix it up, challenge the status quo. … Are you sure you’re not from Philly?
Dr. VH: “Philly West,” Deara. They call it LA.
DP: Well, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me. And, Joe, thanks for introducing me to the Doc.
JS: No problem, DP – we’re just “keepin’ it jiggy,” Philly-style.
Contact Joe Sciulli, Vice President and Senior Operations Consultant at CHANCE Management Advisors, Inc. at Joe.Sciulli@chancemanagement.com.
Deara Person, a former social worker and parking professional, is both a CAPP (Certified Admin-istrator of Public Parking) and PhD candidate. She can be reached at"
For a “jiggy” image of Sciulli’s graph and more information about parking surveys, see the IPI’s “Parking 101 – A Parking Primer,” Chapter 4: Surveys, written by Sciulli and Duke Hanson of Duncan Solutions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Updated meter bench-marks and other parking activity norms can be downloaded by visiting www.chancemanagement.com/norms.pdf.
And to learn how Philadelphia put an end to disabled parking abuse, contact either Sciulli
or the PPA’s Rick Dickson