Episode 37

The ‘Tell Us What You Think’ Episode

July 9, 2020

Judy reflects on why and how we got San Mateo Focus started and asks for you to take our first listener survey.   


I’m Judy Gordon, and this is San Mateo Focus. As long-term residents who have raised six kids here, we thought it was high time someone shined a light on the good things in San Mateo to enrich the lives of those living here and the businesses that serve them. If you want to know the best places to eat and play, the events not to miss, and want to know how San Mateo became the crown jewel of the peninsula, tune in every Thursday and please be sure to click the “subscribe” button on your favorite podcast app. Now, onto this week’s episode.

Before I begin, I want to tell you that this episode will be a little bit different. We are trying to find out how to make San Mateo Focus the best it can be and need your feedback. We started working on San Mateo Focus in July of 2019. I’d been thinking about the idea that a podcast could be a good way of getting local information—not necessarily news—to a small city or community. Last July, San Mateo was moving and changing at a fast pace, and so were the residents who call San Mateo home. I’d lived here for years, but it wasn’t until I worked for a few startups that were located in San Mateo, that I realized there were many things I didn’t know about the city. Taking the time to get to know San Mateo a little better helped me feel that I was part of a community. I mentioned this idea to my neighbor Peter, who owns a marketing consulting firm, and he said he could help me. Our challenge was to figure out how to create a local podcast that provided value—to shine a light on the good things in San Mateo in order to enrich the lives of those living here and the businesses that serve them.



(CONTINUED) After a lot of consideration, we came up with the five-to-seven-minute weekly narrative format. Our listeners could easily include it in their other favorite podcast lineup and spend a few minutes each week learning something new about San Mateo. Plus, it is optimized for quick listening on a smart speaker while you get ready for work or are doing a chore around the house. Have you ever asked Alexa or Google to “play the podcast: San Mateo Focus”? The narrative format came together as the best format for getting across the good things and better living available here in San Mateo. We put together a list of story ideas and created six episodes before we aired the introduction on November 7th of last year. And that’s when a lot of our learning started.

Peter designed the logo and website and produced the episodes which were accepted on all the major podcast networks. A few episodes in, we discovered that many people were listening to San Mateo Focus directly on the website, so we decided to put our show transcripts and notes on the episode webpage, along with photos and all supporting links. On Thursdays when each episode drops on the website and podcast networks, we also post on major social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. We post the entire episode so it can be played directly from within those posts, so many people discover San Mateo Focus in that way. 

This is our 37th episode. Each episode has been different, except for the two back-to-back episodes that we did on the Giannini family. I guess you could call that our first series. If you’re a subscriber and a regular listener, you can wake up on Thursday morning and hear about Caltrain and the 25th Avenue Grade Separation project, or maybe Eichler homes in San Mateo. We know that people discover San Mateo Focus and listen to episodes at different times. Some people discover it and binge on all the episodes in one day as they drive around. We’ve done an episode on the habits of San Mateo crows, along with a profile of Rakuten Takeout, a global corporation that went local to help small restaurants. We’ve profiled the stories of local businesses Backhaus and Taqueria los Primos. And we’ve learned about Buddhism from Henry Adams, the Sensei at the Japanese Buddhist Temple. By far the hardest episode to put together was our overview of the City of San Mateo website. It’s not easy to talk about the complexities of a city website when your listeners don’t have the website in front of them. 

Now, enough about us. We want to know more about you and what you want to hear. People who know me know that I’m curious. I’ve got a lot of questions to ask you and we’ve created a survey for you to fill out. It will really help us out, and it won’t take long to complete. We’re pretty sure that we know one or two things about you: you are interested in San Mateo and you probably live close. But I’m not even sure about that because one of our listeners grew up here, but now lives in Arkansas. Hey there, Mark, if you’re listening! You can always write to us at info@sanmateofocus.com if you’d like to give us episode suggestions or feedback. But this survey will be the first time we’ve asked for feedback from you. Your answers will help us understand if our initial planning conversations way back in pre-pandemic 2019 were on the right track. Since you’ve listened this far, we need to grow our subscriber base, and hearing from you will help us understand how to do that. Go ahead, tell us what you really think!

Thank you. If you’re listening to San Mateo Focus on our website or on Facebook or Instagram, please consider subscribing on Spotify, Apple, or your favorite podcast app. We can better track the number of listeners we have if you subscribe. And Here’s the Deal: please take our survey right after you listen to this. You can find it at sanmateofocus.com/survey.

Okay, that’s all the time we have for this episode. Have a great week. Don’t forget to subscribe to San Mateo Focus on your favorite Podcast app. As always, if you’d like more information about the topics in today’s episode or any of our sponsors, visit sanmateofocus.com.



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