Academics — You can’t live with them, you can’t live….

I have great respect for academics.  They research, they study, they think, and they propose.  Good stuff.  Problems seem to arise, however, when they are challenged. It would seem that colleges are about that, challenging theories. Someone posits some theory, thirty others tear it apart – if you can survive the challenge, maybe you are right.

I am building a blog about SFpark and some of its challenges. When its manager spoke at a parking seminar last month, he was jumped by a number of parking pros who were trying to understand the methodology behind the program and whether it was succeeding. I reported that one of the main issues some had was how price changes which were supposed to affect parking behavior were communicated to drivers. I got this from Don Shoup:

. And most people who won’t look at the easily available data on prices aren’t in a good position to complain that they won’t know where people don’t have to look at the data

And responding to my query that most people don’t think about the price of parking until they are ready to park:

Maybe that unwillingness to think ahead will change. Anyone who really cares about this issue can easily think ahead

And

I agree that most drivers are smart enough to figure out how SFpark works. People seem to talk about parking so much that the word should spread quickly. When I wait in a line at UCLA, I often listen to what the people ahead of or behind me are talking about, and it is usually about parking.

What if Nordstroms or McDonald’s or Wal-Mart just opened their doors and that was it? They used one method of promoting their wares and let the chips fall where they may. What of their attitude was “if the people are smart enough to come and shop with us they will. We only want a few shoppers anyway.”

My guess is they would be out of business before the paint dried on their “grand opening’ sign. Marketing is a complex issue — spreading the word by rumor and gossip is a way, but perhaps not the best way.

It just seems to typical of academics.  There attitude seems to be “if they don’t understand, then screw em.”  They live in an insular world.  Maybe SFpark is a good way to give them some real world experience.

JVH

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