Matrix Blog

Time Out

Nathan Pyle: Unsustainable USA

August 20, 2012 | 1:31 pm |

Here’s another creation by my friend Nathan Pyle. Relevant to the economic and political discourse of the past year. Love it.


Nathan Pyle: NYC Poser

August 19, 2012 | 2:14 pm |

Ok, it’s literally the dog days of summer and I’m just burnt out from the sun – making me lose a little of my social media mojo.  My friend Nathan Pyle, who is a super creative guy, came to the rescue and sent me his latest.


Everyone is Pulling for Joe Ferrara, Please Help

May 12, 2010 | 6:21 pm | |

Earlier this week, Scott Forcino, Joe Ferrara’s close friend and business partner told me that Joe is very sick. Joe has an aggressive malignant brain tumor. He is in a hospital ICU undergoing treatment, chemo/radiation and he has a speech pathologist. I think the symptoms became more serious in the past month.

Although I am married to a cancer survivor I still only have a small inkling of how tough this must be for Joe and his family.

Join Friends of Joe Ferrara

It took me a few days to collect my thoughts on Joe. A lot has been written about this unfortunate situation over the past week – which is completely awesome and shows how much we love Joe – its all been said better than I ever could. A special thanks to Jay Thompson for leading the effort to get the word out to help Joe and his family.

Donate to Joe’s Medical Expense Fund!

Right now we can all help Joe by donating what you can to help out his family from the incredible medical costs they are facing. Please help.

I will only think positive thoughts about his health and his future.

I first ran into Joe back in the prehistoric days of real estate blogging circa 2005-2006 when I started. A formally trained lawyer, he was a fountain of ideas in the social media space and along with Rudy Bachraty, they co-founded Sellsius Real Estate and began cranking out content on their Sellius Blog. He embellished a bit too.

My first interaction with Joe was after he made a presentation in Atlantic City, I blogged about their real estate concept here on Matrix and quipped that the bad link on their logo was probably a good sign of their focus on content quality rather than bells and whistles. Joe sent me a nice note commenting on how the bad link had been fixed and the relationship began.

He has been a fixture at Inman conferences and other social media gatherings, genuinely happy to help people find their way in an easygoing style.

I have to chuckle about his Blog USA tour back in 2007. I was the first stop on his cross country RV trip from Boston via New York to the San Francisco/Inman Connect conference. He and Rudy were supposed to arrive at my house at 9pm but didn’t get there until much later, 2am I think – they didn’t want to wake me so they slept in the RV in my driveway. We did a 6:30am video interview of me walking around my house – a bit surreal but fun. Next door to my house the movie Revolutionary Road was being filmed and we asked the film crew on the way out where Kate and Leonardo were – LOL. We took the RV from Connecticut to Manhattan – right to the front door of my office building – Joe promised door-to-door service – and then took off for California (the long way). A month later – as I walked into the Inman Conference in San Francisco – I happened to walk next to their famous Blog Tour USA RV and smiled in amazement – they made it!

Last October I interviewed Joe for my podcast, The Housing Helix. It was a fun conversation – and as usual, he was full of ideas. Please have a listen.

We’re pulling for you Joe!

[Street Scenes] Market Street San Francisco Circa 1906

March 21, 2010 | 11:37 pm |

I already tweeted this youtube video a week ago but I find myself going back to it again and again. The detail of daily life on Market Street in San Francisco, the organized chaos, congestion, horse and buggy meets trolley and cars, supposedly 4 days before the 1906 earthquake – amazing. Not too many people during this period owned their own homes. A lot of the cars have steering wheels on the right side – strange.

First version I came across – set to mezmerizing music.

Easy link for wide screen version.

Better quality version that goes longer but without the music.

[Power Mailbox] Live Power Lines, Still No Power

March 15, 2010 | 2:23 pm | |

The Northeastern US was hammered by a weather system that brought heavy rain and powerful winds – clocked at 70+ mph. 450,000 people in the Northeast lost power, 34 roads blocked by trees down in my town in CT with 60% losing their power, including my house. Its been three days without electricity and the sense of adventure has been lost.

Tree Down!

When the power went out, a light bulb at my desk flashed and flew out of the socket not breaking, melting the metal base – the lamp was plugged into a strip plug along with my laptop. It looked like the mailbox caught fire. Crazy!

The power lines caught on fire in front of my house – Curbed covers the fire.

[Of Dreams and Reflection] Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 18, 2010 | 2:28 pm |

Each year on this day, I listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as inspiration. As a kid, I grew up about 10 miles from the memorial in the early 1970’s, often riding my bike into DC with my friends. I used to love sitting on those steps, admittedly oblivious to the details of momentous event that had taken place there less than a decade earlier.

A “Bad Check” marked “Insufficient Funds”

Here is one of my favorite MLK quotes.

I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

And pop culture takes a try at the message.

[Matrix Hack] Medicinal Proof Housing Market Is Up

November 4, 2009 | 11:56 am |

My blog was just hacked in a pretty clever way. Search “matrix miller” and click on the top link for Viagra – it takes you back to my blog.

Per my developer.

I went through the template line by line and I think I found a place where someone inserted some code. It points to code on a remote server that’s not up right now, I don’t know what that could would do when loaded. I suspect that they changed the content of the template at night, when we wouldn’t notice. If you look at that text-only version of the cached Google page, none of your content is on it.

As I understand it (and thats quite a stretch), the source of the cached page is ok – its the title and meta tags in Google’s cache that have been altered.

Order Generic Viagra Online – Online Drug Store, Best Prices Order Generic Viagra Online. Pill Shop, Secure and Anonymous. We ship with EMS, FedEx, UPS, and other. Personal approach!

in the cache while the source says:

Matrix | Interpreting the Real Estate Economy

The google link takes you to my blog even though it displays different titles. We’ve removed the hack and once Google re-indexes in a few days, it’ll go away.

Just imagine how quickly we could fix healthcare, global warming and the Mets pitching rotation if this brainpower was put to productive use.

Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2009

September 19, 2009 | 12:01 am |

This year, Talk Like a Pirate Day falls on the same day as the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah. In deference to the latter, it was suggested to me that the phrase “Oy, oy, matey”, might be appropriate.

Here’s the story behind the madness of Talk Like A Pirate Day.

the day is the only holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. He has stated that during a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. That game took place on June 6, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of D-Day, they chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember.

At first an inside joke between two friends, the holiday gained exposure when John Baur and Mark Summers sent a letter about their invented holiday to the American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. Barry liked the idea and promoted the day. Growing media coverage of the holiday after Barry’s column has ensured that this event is now celebrated internationally, and Baur and Summers now sell books and T-shirts on their website related to the theme. Part of the success for the international spread of the holiday has been attributed to non-restriction of the idea or trademarking, in effect opening the holiday for creativity and “viral” growth.

A matrix of historical posts swabbing the Talk Like a Pirate Day deck:

Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2008
Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2007
Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2006
Talk Like A Pirate Day: September 19, 2005

And here’s the Talk Like A Pirate Day news feed.

This whole viral phenomenon each year is simply insane and makes me say “shiver me timbers, me hartey’s” and remember, when you google today, make sure you use the Google Pirate search page. The original site is but my friend runs the runner up ranked site on Google called

You can translate everyday language into pirate speak.

Where “Has the housing market found a bottom?” becomes “Arrr, has the housin’ market found a bottom? Aye.”



[7 Year Itch] Happy Anniversary Miller Cicero

August 19, 2009 | 9:51 pm | |

Today is a big day at our commercial appraisal firm, Miller Cicero. My partner John Cicero has shared a few thoughts on the anniversary – after all, he is the smartest guy I know.

Here’s John Cicero’s take on it.

Seven years ago today Miller Cicero was formed, a collaboration between me and Jonathan Miller (before he became famous and went on Mexican TV), his wife Cheryl (who watches over the purse strings) and his sister Dina (the true brains of Miller Samuel!) It’s been a great ride and I couldn’t ask for better partners.

Similarly, I couldn’t ask for a better group of staff appraisers, especially Michael Falsetta, Executive Vice President, who freakishly remembers every sale that ever took place in Brooklyn since the turn of the century (and knows where to get the best pizza and grilled octopus in every borough), and Steve Manheimer, Senior Vice President, who leaves no stone unturned when researching a project and makes more demands on himself than I ever do. I know that I’m biased but I believe that I have the best group in the business.

Its been an interesting time to be appraising property in the New York metro area, though. Over the past seven years we’ve seen property double and triple in value, buyers camping outside the sales offices of new condos to be the first to buy, 21-year olds fresh out of school becoming developers (cute!) and then…just as quickly, complete market paralysis.

OK, enough nostalgia. I need to get back to trying to figure out what anything is worth these days….

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Matrix Thinks Local, Goes Vacationing Global

August 8, 2009 | 12:31 pm |

From this moment on (well, actually after I finish this post) I’m off for a long-deserved (well thats my opinion) vacation. Be back on August 17th.

[FourPlay] Matrix Turns 4 Today

August 1, 2009 | 3:28 pm |

It seems like I have been blogging here on Matrix for only 5 minutes (under water).

I got into this thing because I was frustrated at the pressures that appraisers were experiencing in the lending process. A lot as changed on the economic and housing front over the last four years, but not much has improved on the appraisal front. sigh.

Here’s my first post on August 1, 2005.

Still, its been a great experience – I’ve met a lot of great people and learned a lot.

and I’m just getting started…

[Pi Day] 3.14159265358979323846264338327 95028841971693993751058209749445923078 1640628620899862803482534211…

March 14, 2009 | 10:36 am | |


Given the uptick in the financial markets this week, the positive sign that many seem to be taking from it, and the fact that it involves endless digits of circular numeric calculations, yesterday was Friday the 13th (there are 4 in 2009), so we should:

Do The Math After all, its 3.14…

National Pi Day: Congress took time from it’s busy bailout schedule designating today as National Pi Day.

Here is, quite appropriately, an attempt at a monetized version. Some even argue that Pi is better than sex, but I suspect that is difficult to calculate. Wikipedia has an amazing presentation on Pi for those who are curious. Here’s the million digit version.

Per Wikipedia
Ï€ is defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter
Ï€ can be also defined as the ratio of a circle’s area to the area of a square whose side is equal to the radius

In real estate economics (Matrix-wise), a Pi-type formula might be expressed as:

property value = ((consumer confidence + (1-their employment outlook/their employment outlook)) + (personal drive for home ownership x irrational behavior) + ((total distance from schools+ total distance from employment)/(White Castle projected visits/Whole Foods projected visits))/(mortgage rates x cash on hand x affordability ratios x size of down payment)/(mood of bank underwriter – name on stadium factor + amount borrowed from US Treasury))

In other words, its complicated.

Perhaps we can turn to Albert Einstein because its his birthday today and simply use E = mc squared and apply it to housing values to figure this all out.

Ok, back to reality.


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#Housing analyst, #realestate, #appraiser, podcaster/blogger, non-economist, Miller Samuel CEO, family man, maker of snow and lobster fisherman (order varies)
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