Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

0816 Running a Pilot Program

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 816: Running a Pilot Program.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 816. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Go there, download a Learning Guide, and improve your English faster than anyone in your city. Yes, anyone in your city, just by downloading the Learning Guide.

This episode is a dialogue between Jimmy and Rosalind about starting a new program, a program that’s testing something. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Rosalind: How is the pilot program coming along?

Jimmy: We’ll be ready to launch it in another month, but I have some serious reservations.

Rosalind: Like what?

Jimmy: We haven’t worked out all of the bugs yet and we might come up against some resistance from the community.

Rosalind: Isn’t that the nature of a pilot program? When you’re paving the way, you’re always going to have skeptics and dissenters.

Jimmy: You’re right, of course, but there’s a lot at stake. I just hope this trial run will win over some of those skeptics. It would be a shame to scrap this program after we’ve put in so much work.

Rosalind: After the program is launched, you’ll have six months to prove its worth, right?

Jimmy: Yeah, that’s right.

Rosalind: That’s plenty of time for the dissenters to see the light.

Jimmy: From your lips to God’s ears!

[end of dialogue]

Rosalind says to Jimmy, “How is the pilot program coming along?” A “pilot” (pilot) here means something that you are doing to test a program, to test an idea, to see whether it will be successful. Usually, a pilot program is with a small group of people. First you test it with a small group of people and then, if it is successful, if it works, you use it with a larger group of people. That’s a pilot program. The word “pilot” has a couple of different meanings in English, however. Take a look at our Learning Guide for some of those. So Rosalind says to Jimmy, “How is the pilot program coming along?” meaning, how is it progressing? How is it developing? How is it going?

Jimmy says, “We'll be ready to launch it in another month, but I have some serious reservations.” To “launch” (launch) means to start something new, at least that’s what it means here, to do something for the first time. You might launch a new product for your business. You're going to start selling something that you’ve never sold before. That’s to launch, to begin a new project or a new activity. Jimmy says, “I have some serious reservations.” “Reservations” are doubts, concerns, worries about something.

Rosaline says, “Like what?” In other words, give me an example. Jimmy says, “We haven’t worked out all of the bugs yet.” To “work out all of the bugs” is a phrase meaning to fix all the problems. This is especially used when we're talking about software problems. “Bugs” are problems. Bugs can also be little insects, little animals, but here it means a problem in something, in some program, perhaps even a computer program. Well, Jimmy says they haven’t worked out all of the bugs. They haven’t gotten rid of them. They haven’t solved all the problems.

He says, “And we might come up against some resistance from the community.” To “come up against” means to be opposed by someone or something, or it can mean simply to face, to confront. “I've come up against some problems,” meaning I now have some problems that I didn’t see before or that I perhaps didn’t realize were there. Jimmy says that they might possibly come up against some resistance from the community. “Resistance” is opposition. When people don’t want to do something or even want to stop something. Sometimes we talk about governments and resistance movements. Resistance movements would be people who are against the government, who try to stop it or oppose it. Here, Jimmy is worried about resistance, opposition from the community. (We're not sure what that “community” is.)

Rosalind says, “Isn't that the nature of a pilot program?” “Nature” (nature) here means the way something is done or a characteristic or feature of something. So, when she says, “Isn't that the nature of a pilot program?” she means, well, that’s what a pilot program is supposed to help you with. She says, “When you're paving the way, you're always going to have skeptics and dissenters.” To “pave (pave) the way” means here to do something for the first time, to be the first person or group to do something, which of course is always more difficult than the second or the third or the fourth person to do something. If you're the first person, it's more difficult. If you are doing things that other people are going to be able to do after you, that is particularly a situation appropriate for this expression, “to pave the way.”

Rosalind says, “You're always going to have skeptics and dissenters.” A “skeptic” (skeptic) is someone who questions or doubts whether something will work, someone who doesn’t believe in another person’s ideas, who’s always going, “Well, maybe not, I'm not sure. I don’t think that’s right.” That person would be a skeptic. More common would be the adjective “skeptical.” I'm very skeptical about this idea. I have a lot of doubts. I don’t think it's right. A “dissenter” (dissenter) is a person who “dissents” (dissents). The verb “to dissent” means to have a different opinion than the majority of people, to disagree with something. Usually, you're disagreeing with most of the other people.

Jimmy says, “You're right, of course, but there's a lot at stake.” The expression “at stake” (stake) means at risk or in question or that could be affected by this, so this is an important thing, he’s saying. There's a lot at stake. “I just hope this trial run will win over some of those skeptics.” A “trial (trial) run” is an attempt to do something first before you do it with a larger group or do it on a larger scale. Really, it's the same as a pilot program. A trial run is, “I'm going to test it to see if it works before I use it with 1,000 people,” for example. “Win over” is a phrasal verb meaning to persuade, to convince, to change someone’s opinion so that they will agree with you – someone who’s a dissenter or a skeptic, for example. “To win them over” means to get them to say, “Oh, okay, I agree with you.”

Jimmy says, “It would be a shame to scrap this program after we've put in so much work.” When we say, “It would be a shame” (shame) – meaning it would be sad, it would be disappointing, it would be unfortunate – “It would be a shame to scrap this program.” To “scrap” (scrap) means to decide not to continue to do something, or to throw something away. More often, it means to stop supporting or promoting a particular project or idea. We're going to scrap this project or we're going to scrap this program. It means we're going to eliminate it. We're going to “delete” it, if you will.

Rosalind says, “After the program is launched (after it is started), you'll have six months to prove its worth, right?” To “prove (prove) something’s worth (worth)” means to demonstrate or to show that something works, that it's valuable, that it should be continued. Jimmy says, “Yeah, that’s right.” They’ll have six months to prove its worth. Rosalind says, “That’s plenty of time for the dissenters to see the light.” The expression “to see the light” means to understand something that was difficult, perhaps to understand before or to understand a very important, perhaps even profound thing, so that now you're going to change your mind. You're going to change your actions even. Rosalind is saying that in six months, the dissenters, the people who don’t like this program, will see the light. They’ll agree with Jimmy.

And Jimmy says an old expression, “From your lips to God’s ears.” “Lips” (lips) are the two things that form your mouth. You have an upper lip and a lower lip, two of them. The idea here is from your mouth, from what you say, to “God’s ears.” This is another way of saying, “I hope what you are saying is true.” It's sort of like, “I hope that God hears you,” hears what you're saying, and therefore will give me my wish, will make this successful. “From your lips to God’s ears” means I hope what you just said really is true.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Rosalind: How is the pilot program coming along?

Jimmy: We’ll be ready to launch it in another month, but I have some serious reservations.

Rosalind: Like what?

Jimmy: We haven’t worked out all of the bugs yet and we might come up against some resistance from the community.

Rosalind: Isn’t that the nature of a pilot program? When you’re paving the way, you’re always going to have skeptics and dissenters.

Jimmy: You’re right, of course, but there’s a lot at stake. I just hope this trial run will win over some of those skeptics. It would be a shame to scrap this program after we’ve put in so much work.

Rosalind: After the program is launched, you’ll have six months to prove its worth, right?

Jimmy: Yeah, that’s right.

Rosalind: That’s plenty of time for the dissenters to see the light.

Jimmy: From your lips to God’s ears!

[end of dialogue]

Our scriptwriter has certainly proved her worth here on ESL Podcast. That’s the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
pilot – something that is done as a test or trial, to determine whether it can succeed on a larger scale (with more people or resources); a trial run

* If the pilot program is successful, every store will have similar programs soon.

to launch – to start something new; to implement something for the first time

* If everything goes as planned, we’ll launch the new exchange program in the fall of 2013.

reservation – doubt; hesitation; concern about doing something; a question about whether something will work

* Despite their initial reservations, the new restaurant was highly successful.

to work out all of the bugs – to fix the problems, especially in a software program

* The programmers are trying to work out all of the bugs, but it seems like whenever they fix one thing, they create three more problems.

to come up against – to confront; to face; to be opposed by someone or something

* Wendy has a lot of great ideas for opening new businesses, but she always comes up against a lack of funding.

resistance – opposition; a lack of interest in doing something; an intention to stop something from happening or at least delay it

* I never would have imagined there would be so much resistance to a program that wants to give food to the homeless.

nature – the way something is; an innate characteristic or feature* Human beings will do almost anything to protect those we love. It’s our nature.

to pave the way – to do something for the first time with the expectation that other people will do the same thing in the future, but that it will be easier for them because they will be able to follow one’s example

* The first female astronaut paved the way for thousands of female scientists.

skeptic – someone who questions or doubts whether something will work; someone who does not believe in another person’s ideas or support another person’s proposal

* This ad says that there’s a new pill that will help you burn five pounds of fat in just one day, but I’m a skeptic.

dissenter – someone who has a different opinion; someone who disagrees

* All the supporters said “yes” and all the dissenters said “no.”

at stake – at risk; in question; in jeopardy; potentially affected in an important way by something

* Our life savings are at stake! If this business fails, we’ll lose everything.

trial run – an attempt to do something to find out how well it works before trying to do it in other places or with other people; a pilot program

* This first filming is just a trial run to test the lighting.

to win over – to persuade; to change someone’s opinion so that he or she becomes a supporter; to make someone like and support something

* His good manners won over his girlfriend’s father.

it would be a shame – a phrase used to say that it would be disappointing and sad if something happened

* It would be a shame if it rained after you’ve spent so much time planning an outdoor party.

to scrap – to decide not to continue to do or have something; to throw something away; to stop supporting or promoting an idea or proposal

* The new restaurant owners decided to scrap the old menu and serve only healthy foods.

to prove (one’s) worth – to demonstrate or show that something is valuable and worthwhile and should be continued

* At first, Karla didn’t think she needed an assistant, but he soon proved his worth.

to see the light – to understand something that was difficult to understand; to begin to share one’s opinion

* I finally saw the light the third time the professor explained the concept.

from your lips to God’s ears – so be it; let it be so; a phrase used to show that one hopes what another person has said will become true or reality

* A: The unemployment rate is going to fall within the next year.

B: From your lips to God’s ears!

Comprehension Questions
1. What is Jimmy doing?
a) He’s trying something that hasn’t been done before.
b) He’s giving a failed program one last chance to succeed.
c) He’s teaching people how to fly airplanes.

2. What does Jimmy mean when he says, “We haven’t worked out all of the bugs yet”?
a) There are still a few problems.
b) They need to spray more pesticides.
c) The team members don’t agree with each other.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
pilot

The word “pilot,” in this podcast, means a trial run, or something that is done as a test or trial to determine whether it can succeed on a larger scale (with more people or resources): “The state government is investing $85,000 in a one-year pilot program to test the new curriculum in one school before using it in all the other schools.” A “pilot” is also someone who flies an airplane: “Do pilots have to have perfect vision, or can they wear glasses?” Finally, a “pilot light” is a small gas flame that is kept burning all the time and serves as a way to light a larger fire, like on a gas stove or a gas water heater: “I can’t get the gas fireplace to work. Do you think the pilot light burnt out?”

stake

In this podcast, the phrase “at stake” means at risk, in question, in jeopardy, or potentially affected in an important way by something: “If we can’t repay the loan on our house, our home is at stake!” The phrase “high stakes” refers to a situation that is very risky: “Anyone who works on Wall Street is dealing with high stakes.” The phrase “to have a stake in (something)” means be involved in something and receive benefits from it if it is successful: “Because of their investments, they have a stake in our company.” Finally, the word “stake” also refers to a piece of wood or plastic with a pointed end: “Let’s get some wooden stakes to hold up the tomato plants.” Or, “People say that you can kill vampires by putting a wooden stake through their heart.”

Culture Note
Cultivating Community Support

Organizations and companies try to “cultivate” (grow, develop, and encourage) community support in many ways. For example, if a large store “chain” (a business with many locations) wants to open a new store in a particular city, it will need the support of community members. It can “foster” (grow and encourage) that support in many ways.

A company might invite community members to “sit on” (participate in) “advisory boards,” or groups of people who are officially invited to share their opinion on a particular topic and guide the company’s decisions. This lets community members “feel that their voice has been heard” (believe their opinion is important). Usually, the members of the advisory board are “influential” (important and able to change others’ opinions) businesspeople or local government officials who can “sway” (influence; change the direction of) “public opinion” (the way most people feel about something) “in favor of” (for the benefit of) the company.

Companies might also “hold” (organize) “town hall meetings,” which are opportunities for many people in the community to meet, usually in the evening, to share their opinion, ask questions, and receive answers. The company sends one or more representatives to interact with the public and “address” (discuss; respond to) their “concerns” (worries; questions).

Finally, companies might “conduct” (implement; lead) education “campaigns” (efforts to influence people’s opinions) through advertisements and publications. For example, a store chain that wants to “expand” (open new stores or offices) into a particular community might have a campaign to educate community members about the advantages of having a store and the number of jobs the new store will create.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - a