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Embracing the Prospects of Space

November 24, 2020

Keith Jones

The unknown is a dark abyss. It’s a place where comprehension is limited, knowledge is locked, and where crucibles of untold magnitude await. Enigmatically, being latent with unexpressed potential, it’s also the place where the future anxiously lies in wait. The unknown is a mystery and an uncomfortable place for the mind to occupy space. 


Reflecting on this perspective lately has been quite illuminating because, as chance would have it, my parking enterprise is, at its core, a space broker. Interesting corollaries aside, I am fascinated by the new and exciting possibilities that come out of this order of thinking. I have begun shifting my mental framework toward true adoption of the future so that I can play an active role in what ‘tomorrowland’ has to bring.


If there’s anything these past few months have taught me it’s this: as the owner & operator of one of the country’s largest parking operations, I’m afforded a much more dynamic range to decisions I can make, relative to other industries. Unlike the precarious circumstance that the movie theater industry finds itself in, I’ve discovered an ability to pivot. 


Much like an artist’s blank canvas, the beauty of my commodity is that it is literally “space,” and if looked at purely in this sense, I’m beginning to discover no shortage of creativity that is applicable in whatever a post-COVID world looks like. In fact, amidst a landscape where the majority of lockdown-induced business closures are now permanent, whether my company remains in the “parking” business in that purest sense, or if it transforms will all depend on how well I adopt the perpetual innovation and adaptability which can, like the intention of an artist, purposefully inspire.


Don’t get me wrong, I am still grounded in the present enough to lend my efforts to the continued struggles of the economy. After all, I care deeply about my stakeholders, as well as the other industries that rely on my services. But some troubling trends have started to develop in recent days where certain commercial players have been making tremendously bold moves with broad
ranging implications.


The best examples are illustrated through a commonly aggressive tactic being used by Silicon Valley companies to enforce policies of pay reduction for workers who opt into the now ubiquitous work from home (WFH) option. It is clear that companies like Facebook, VMWare, etc. are simply attempting to dissuade a mass exodus away from city centers. I fear that these demands will actually have the opposite effect and only push employees farther and farther away from metropolitan areas. 


If this consequence plays out, it will continue to have a deflationary effect on consumer participation and consistently erode the integrity which held it all together. In fact, one of the surest indicators of progress in today’s world - the perennially upgrading nature of the nation’s telecommunication network - is now also in question. 


As was inferred by AT&T’s CEO John Stankey in a recent interview with Bloomberg, the upcoming 5G cycle may be a non-starter for quite some time as heavily populated urban areas are the only locales which can truly take advantage of the bandwidth jump. Considering this, my question is: “how are people going to care about an incremental innovation like 5G if fewer and fewer are in a literal position to benefit from it?” All of this, of course, informs implicative demand for parking at a deeply intrinsic level. 


If history is indeed something that is destined to repeat, then spectacle, intrigue, and everything in between are propelling us inevitably toward a massive forthcoming invasion of invention. I intend to take advantage of it. I guess the beauty of having a blank canvas is that it doesn’t really matter which medium (or technology) gets used to paint your masterpiece.  


I openly embrace a future of flux - one where collective progress looks different than we are accustomed to, and where creative agency can be exercised on whatever “space” that requires rethinking. Winston Churchill sagely stated that “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” which is a mindset that mirrors another that has been a helpful navigation tool for me, and that I offer freely for the times ahead: “I am Aware, I Accept, I Adjust and I Act.”



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