Matthew Petro

Coffee is my energy drink of choice.

What’s the point of Simler?

A friend of mine recently tweeted about a new social media site called Simler, which proudly proclaims on it’s main page:

Simler is people just like you.

By connecting you with people that think the same way, Simler makes the world a smaller—and better—place for everyone.

WTF? It will connect me with people who think just like me? I can find people who think like me with no trouble at all. What I want social media to do, what I need social media to do, is to expose me to lots of people who don’t think like me. I need to be connected to diversity, to different people, thoughts and opinions. That’s what social media has been great at doing and that’s a vital role which it needs to continue to play, both in my life and in society in general.

Simler seems like it will be very attractive for intolerant people who have serious issues with others who don’t think or believe the same things. Do we really need a social media site which promotes intolerance, tunnel vision and groupthink? Crazy religious and political extremists seem to do a great job at that already.

Maybe I’m really wrong here. Maybe I’m overreacting to Simler’s tagline and it will turn out to be a great site for more innocuous activities, such as connecting with fellow hobbyists, sports fans, etc. I hope that’s the case.


Filed under: Interesting Thoughts, , , ,

Overcoming geographic barriers in Phoenix via Twitter

Various people around Phoenix have discussed how social media, Twitter in particular, is helping Phoenix to overcome it’s geographic vastness and develop a real sense of community. I’d felt that was happening, but something happened last week that really drove that point home.

Amy (@TheFabulousOne) tweeted that she had cleaned out her office and was getting rid of her flat-panel monitor. I’d been wanting one, so I asked how much she wanted for it. Being the awesome person she is, she gave it to me in exchange for doing some work on her computer.

A couple of days before this, my wife Tracie’s personal trainer had mentioned that his PC monitor at home had died and he now had no way of using his computer. Since we now had a perfectly good 19″ beast of a CRT monitor which we were no longer using, passed it along to him.

This kind of stuff used to only happen in more closely-knit communities such as neighborhoods. Now, it can span the entire Valley, thanks to Twitter making the entire city a closely connected neighborhood.

Filed under: Interesting Thoughts, Life's Adventures

Living with Image #12

It’s been a couple of weeks since Tyson Crosbie’s Image #12 from Phoenix 21 arrived in our house (see my blog post about it). Since then, Tracie and I have become accustomed to having it on the wall, but we keep seeing new things in it as we look at it more.

When I look at the image, I wonder when all of the different marks and textures came from and when they happened. Some seem to be paint and some seem to be scratches. Tracie and I both wonder if the orange isn’t from a child with a crayon.

I’m also amazed at how the black/brown mark in the upper left makes all the difference in the image. Without it, the image would be just boring.

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Leno’s new show: good if you liked him

I watched The Jay Leno Show last night, mostly because I was reminded by all the hype about Kanye West being on. The show pretty much felt like the Tonight Show, except Jay ditched the desk in favor 0f a pair of matched chairs for him and his guest.

Leno was never my favorite of the late-night guys, so I probably won’t watch his new show regularly. But people who loved him on the Tonight Show will probably still love him on his new show.

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Why do journalists feel threatened by new media?

I was watching Jeff Greenfield’s commentary on media convergence on CBS News Sunday Morning, and as part of his closing, he commented that regardless of the medium, the basics of journalism still apply: good storytelling, clear and vivid language and a respect for history. This was very interesting to me, since I’ve been thinking and hearing a lot about old vs. new media. Over the past week, I attended both Beverly Kidd‘s brown bag talk on new media through an old media lens and Social Media Club Phoenix‘s panel discussion of Old Media Using New Media.

Throughout the two events, I heard a lot about how many journalists are integrating new media into their daily work, but how many other journalists, as well as executives and corporations are struggling to understand the impact and usefulness of new media. After hearing Greenfield’s commentary, I realized that many in journalism are hung up on the business and format of their particular media, instead of being focused on the basics of delivering a good story. It really shouldn’t matter to a reporter in a print-based medium that their story will be published online, nor should it matter to a TV reporter that their story will be available via streaming video, rather than aired on a TV channel.

It also shouldn’t scare any reporters (or executives, for that matter) that their stories will be commented on and debated immediately, thanks to user comments on web sites. I know that many of these comments devolve into a cesspool, but good public comments should be welcomed by journalists, not shunned. Journalists don’t hand down knowledge from above, they report on the communities in which they work and in doing so, need to listen to what the communities have to say.

The great hallmark of new media is that it fosters two way communication. This is what old media isn’t used to, and is what smart media companies and journalists must embrace to succeed.

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The Mac and the PC

So I’ve been using my MacBook Pro for a few weeks now. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Windows laptops are the uncouth construction workers at the job site. MacBooks are the classy, beautiful woman the workers whistle at when she walks by.

Filed under: Interesting Thoughts, , , ,

Twitter + inflight wifi = ???

I was reading this article from MSNBC (Frustrated tweets new headache for airlines) and I wondered what will happen when airlines finally move inflight wifi from the trial stage into full rollout. How will airlines react when passengers can tweet, blog and e-mail their frustrations while in the air?  Are the airlines are prepared for the tide of cranky in-air tweets, enabled by their own efforts to give travelers more a la carte options?

Filed under: Interesting Thoughts, , ,

What “original” do they mean?



I was looking at my can of Coke today and I realized that it proudly proclaimed that it’s “original formula”. I got to thinking, “What exactly do they mean by  original?” Obviously not the actual original, as cocaine-laced soft drinks are generally considered by law enforcement to be illegal narcotics. Also, they probably don’t mean the classic formula used in the golden era of the 1950’s, when Coca-Cola in this country was still made with cane sugar.

So it seems that when Coke says “original formula”, they mean the post “New Coke” original formula, made with cheap high fructose corn syrup and distributed in cans and plastic bottles. Seems rather misleading to me.

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Get working!

I just learned (from my amazing trivia fact calendar) that Thomas Edison held 1,093 patents, 424 of which were for electric light and power. Seriously. The guy’s electrical patents alone would have amounted to an incredible body of work. But that was less than half of his total patents!

Some of his hundreds of inventions have been forgotten. But he also invented the phonograph and movie camera. In one lifetime, he was able to create the technological foundation upon which much of modern life is based. That’s a lot of work for one guy.

If he was able to crank out that much productivity, what are we all waiting for? Are we afraid of failure? Edison failed to create a successful light bulb hundreds of times before succeeded. Are we afraid of waiting until we get something just right? Edison didn’t patent 1,093 things by waiting until they were perfect.

Edison accomplished what he did by doing something. He worked tirelessly at his craft. If he can accomplish that much in his lifetime, why can’t all of us? Get working!

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Customer service done awesomely

Lately, it seems that atrocious customer service is becoming far more commonplace than it should. Tyler Hurst’s Alaska Air phone service debacle (blog post), Tonia M. Bartz’s encounter with new levels of douchebaggery at Biddulph Mazda (blog post and Yelp review) and the terrible start to Michael J. Barber’s vacation, thanks to customer disservice by US Airways (blog post) are all recent examples of customer service agents completely failing in their jobs.

I wanted to counter all of this with a post that highlights not only good customer service, but awesome customer service. The target of my anti-rant: Tony Sibley at Centennial Leasing & Sales. Centennial is an auto buying service and Tony is one of their sales agents. I’ve bought both of my family’s cars through him, as have my parents. I’ve recommended him to every single friend and relative who’s looking to buy a car, and I wouldn’t buy a car from anyone else.

Why am I so devoted to Tony and his skills? Awesome customer service, that’s why. Tony treats every single customer as he would like to be treated. He and his staff do everything they can to make something which most of us consider to be an unpleasant chore into a painless and easy event.

The brilliance with which Tony serves his customers is difficult if not impossible to capture in words, but the results speak for themselves. He’s built a career on providing awesome customer service.

No matter your profession or industry, follow Tony’s example and take care of customers the best you can. They’re the most important part of your job.

Filed under: Customer Service, Interesting Thoughts, , , , ,


Time Machine