If this is your first time discovering the What Was That Like podcast, you need to know that this is NOT a normal episode.
On this show, each episode is usually a conversation with a regular person who has been through some type of extremely unusual situation (such as a plane crash or a mass shooting). The guest comes on the show and tells the story of what happened, first hand. Check out some of the past episodes – I think you’ll like it.
But this is a bonus episode, and it’s different. A bunch of listeners called in their questions for me, and I answered them.
A couple of things that came up, in case you’re interested:
And this is the video of the episode of The Carbonaro Effect, featuring Genesis. If you know Genesis, I would love to connect with her:
Big thanks to all those who sent in their questions! We’ll do this again sometime.
Head to factormeals.com/wwtl50 and use code wwtl50 to get 50% off!
Episode transcript (download transcript PDF):
Hang on a second, we don’t need any dark background music for this episode. Nothing bad is gonna happen here! It’s just a Q & A!
Here’s the deal – if this is your first time hearing this podcast, this is not a normal episode. Not at all. On this podcast, each regular episode is a conversation with a person who has been through some type of extremely unusual situation. The guest comes on the show, and tells the story of what happened, first hand. If you haven’t heard any of those yet, I think you’re gonna like it. So go check those out.
But this – this is definitely NOT a regular episode. This is a Q&A episode. A bunch of listeners have sent in questions they want to ask, so I’m either gonna play the audio of them asking their question, or I’ll read the question that they sent in, and I’ll give you my answer. And I’m doing this on an OFF week – I do new episodes every other Friday, and this one is going live in BETWEEN those new episode Fridays, so this is kind of a bonus episode.
And this idea originated in the Facebook group – we have over 1000 listeners in there and we talk about all kinds of stuff, in addition to discussions about the podcast episodes. And new listeners are joining that discussion all the time, so you need to get in there too. And the biggest thing really is that you should subscribe to the show – that way you will never miss an episode, and you’ll have every new one as soon as they go live.
So let’s get on with some questions and answers – right after this.
Question #1 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, my name is Amanda. I love your show and so does my mom; she introduced me to it. Every good interviewer seems to have a lot of empathy but can stay objective. So my question is, did you learn that skill growing up or was that something you had to learn as an adult? Thank you.
Alright Amanda! Got a big question right out of the gate. This is interesting. As far as staying objective, when I’m talking to someone for the podcast I try to picture myself as the podcast listener who is listening right now. So I ask, “Is there any part of this or any detail that doesn’t make sense?” For the most part I just like to have the guest tell the story and I don’t usually like to interrupt. There are some podcast hosts who have their list of interview questions and they have to get through that list. I make an effort to not look at it like that. If someone is talking and I’m wondering about a particular detail, I’m going to sometimes ask them about it because I figure the people listening would also want to know the same thing.
In a recent episode, with Aaron who was in Thailand when the big tsunami happened, in the early part of the story he was talking about how he and Jillian were going to all the resorts and places on the beach and they couldn’t find a place to stay because it was Christmas and everything was booked up so they had to go to another place further up the mountain. Well, in my mind, whenever I travel I always have reservations made in advance so I don’t have to worry about that kind of situation. So I stopped him and asked him about that. I actually had a listener comment specifically about that saying, “Yeah, I was wondering the same thing, why didn’t they make reservations ahead of time?” So I always try to think that way.
As far as empathy, that’s a big one for me. I guess I must have learned that as a kid because it’s just something that’s always been with me in the back of my mind. I picture myself being in the shoes of another person and ask, “How would it feel to go through what they’re going through? What can I say or do to help them or make their situation better or easier to handle?” Usually with the guests on the podcast it’s something they’ve already gone through. It’s the same for me with people in everyday life though. If somebody is having a tough time then my reaction is to think about, “What can I do to maybe help them?” I think a lot of people have that same outlook.
Question #2 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, this is Amanda from Buffalo, New York. My question was about you. I think a lot of us are curious. Do you have any hobbies you’d like to share with us? Or music and movie recommendations? Who’s your favorite Beetle? Inquiring minds want to know! Have a good one, bye.
Ok, hobbies. I don’t think the stuff I do in my spare time would really be considered a hobby, so to speak. Not like you would think of a typical hobby like stamp collecting or something like that. I like to ride my bike 8-10 miles each morning and fortunately here in Florida I am able to do that almost year round, so I enjoy that. I used to do ultra-marathons but my last one was in 2017 and then I switched to biking.
I still run my own business and doing the podcast is almost a full time job in itself. In the spare time I do have, I like to do what I can to help out the homeless population that we have right here in the Tampa Bay area. I’ve been doing that for quite some time now. Every Tuesday afternoon my wife and I and a few other people go to Downtown Clearwater here in Florida and we see probably 75-100 homeless people there. We bring clothing, shoes, backpacks and blankets; stuff that homeless people really need.
My big thing is that I bring 3 bikes each week. I get donated bikes or bikes that I can find pretty cheaply that are still functional. I bring them on Tuesdays and I’ve got a long waiting list of people who need a bike, so I’m just working down that list. If you think about it, for you and me, riding a bike is a fun thing. It’s a way to spend time outdoors and get some exercise, but for a homeless person a bike means transportation. If they’re looking for work it expands the geographical area for their job search. It could mean they are able to go and visit family who are too far away to walk too. Or it might mean they can get to a doctor’s appointment.
Back in April of 2018 I started collecting bikes, at this point we have given out over 350 bikes so far. Each time I give out a bike I take a picture of that person with their new bike. If you look at the show notes for this Q&A episode I’ll put a link to the Google Photos album where you can see all the pictures of the people who have gotten bikes, if you want to see that. This is all thanks to the people who have donated bikes. Some people have also donated cash to put towards bike purchases. I can almost always find used bikes for $20 when I look on Craigslist or FaceBook Marketplace. So I really love doing that because it helps these people and for me it feels like I get to be Santa Claus every Tuesday. If you’re in the local area here near Clearwater you are always welcome to join us if you want to. So I guess that’s my hobby.
If I had all the time in the world and money wasn’t an object, I would probably go to Las Vegas and take some professional lessons in Texas Hold’em Poker. I love watching that on TV and I’d love to go out and play in the World series of poker sometime. I don’t have a favorite Beetle, although I generally like their music. My all time favorite music album is The Wall by Pink Floyd. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to that, it just has really great lyrics and symbolism.
For movies, my favorite movie is definitely Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s kind of weird because I seem to like stories that are kind of depressing, and this one definitely is. It’s got an amazing all star cast of Al Pachino, Jack Lemon, Kevin Spacey and Alec Baldwin. Alec Baldwin has a scene in that film that might be the best scene he’s ever done. “ABC, Always Be Closing.” Definitely check it out, that movie really cemented in my mind what an incredible actor Jack Lemon was. In fact, after watching Glengarry Glen Ross the first time I wrote to Jack Lemon to compliment him on his performance and that was actually the beginning of my first internet based business. That’s another story. Oh and almost anything Quentin Tarantino creates is great; Pulp Fiction especially and Reservoir Dogs too, I love both of those. That guy knows how to craft a story.
Question #3 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, my name is Ann. I’m wondering, are there any subjects or interviews that you have deemed to be too scary or real or triggering for your listeners? How do you decide? Thank you.
I had to think about this one for a bit. As far as too scary, I really don’t think there would be anything or any situation I could think of that would cross the line and be too scary to talk about. For the aspect of triggering, that’s kind of a different story. I don’t think I would want to do a story that was centered around violence being done to an animal. It’s kind of weird, I can listen to a story or watch a documentary that involves a person being abused or killed; but if someone is torturing an animal like a dog or cat, that’s just not something I can handle very well. So I probably wouldn’t do any stories like that. Although I know of some true crime podcasts who have covered those kinds of stories. I’m fine with them doing those stories, I just don’t listen to them.
Question #4 (Voicemail)
Hey Scott, it’s Beck from Australia. I’ve been wondering how your view of the world has changed, if at all, from your male point of view to that of the point of view of some of your female guests like Keira. Are there things or hazards you hadn’t considered that changed the way you move about your daily life, either for yourself or for your family? Thanks, I love the show.
How has my view of the world changed? Actually I’m not sure that it has changed, although that’s a pretty broad thing to think about and I do change my mind about things sometimes. I guess one of the episodes played a part in my change of mind about the death penalty. I used to be very much for capital punishment. If somebody intentionally kills another person then that person should be put to death. It was easy for me to think in those black and white terms. Over the years, I’ve kind of come around to the fact that it’s not always black and white, sometimes there’s some gray area in there.
When I had my conversation with James in episode 46, that pushed me even further away from supporting the death penalty. You may remember, James was the man who was arrested and convicted for a crime that he did not commit and he spent 35 years of his life in prison. Just the weight of thinking about that boggles my mind. Thankfully, he was proven innocent because of DNA, but there are a lot of innocent people in prison right now. Some of them have been convicted of crimes that carry the death penalty. So we as a country, here in the US, have taken the lives of people who didn’t commit the crime they were convicted of. I don’t think we can have the right to punish someone with death when we get it wrong so many times.
David wrote in, “Have you ever been, or considered, a job as a counselor? I think with your voice and demeanor you would be a very good one.”
Thank you for that David. Honestly it’s a career that I have never really considered. Although I do enjoy talking to people. Sort of related to that, I have had some guests who have been through something really traumatic. A few of them have told me that telling the story on the podcast was the first time they have ever actually told the whole story from start to finish in detail, verbally. More than one of them told me that they found it to be very therapeutic to verbalize what happened and have someone interested in and listening to that story. I’m happy to be that person and I see that as one of the bonuses of doing this show.
Question #6 (Voicemail)
Hey Scott, my name is Debbie. I just wanted to say that “What Was That Like” is such a great podcast. It’s always my go to and I’m actually on my third time of binge listening, since I’ve been working from home. I love the episodes and you deliver them in such a great way. My question for the question and answer session is: What led you down this avenue? What led you to tell these stories in the manner that you are? It’s so compelling to me, I just love how you do it and the way it’s delivered.
Question #7 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, I hope you’re doing well. My name is Travis Loosemore. My question for you is, what got you into the subject of “What Was That Like,” and what made you start the podcast? Thank you.
So I’m putting these in together because Debbie and Travis had the same question. I actually started podcasting in 2012. That’s about the time I started listening to podcasts and I figured I should start a podcast to promote my business. So I started that one called “The Computer Tutor” podcast, and I still do that one every 2 weeks. When a new episode of “What Was That Like” comes out on a Friday, my other podcast always comes out on the following Monday.
Over the years I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts over a wide variety of categories. Every once and a while on some show that I happened to be listening to, the host or the guest on the show would tell a really interesting and engaging story. I found that those were the episodes I really loved hearing and were the ones I remember the most.
I remember once I was in my car on my way to a client’s location, a local business, and I was listening to this one podcast where the host is a friend of mine named Dave Jackson. He runs The School of Podcasting and he helped me start my first podcast. Anyway, he does this show where he just talks about personal stuff in his life. On this show he was talking about his dog named Dudley who had been with him for a long time. Dudley was old and his health was failing and Dave had just had to take him to the vet and have him put down.
So he was telling this super sad story and it was a 23 minute episode where he told the whole thing. I got to my client’s location and I was sitting in the parking lot in my car crying because of this story. I’ve had dogs my whole life and I know exactly what this is like, it’s the worst thing ever. I don’t know how Dave told the story without crying himself. I pulled it together and went in and did my thing for the client. If you want to hear that episode that I was listening to I’ll put a link to it in the show notes of this episode.
Here’s the thing, I just looked up when that happened, and that episode was from August 2013. Here we are right now in early 2021 more than 7 years later and I can still tell you how that story made me feel and exactly where I was when I heard it. That is powerful. So after a few years when I decided I wanted to make a podcast about intense, unbelievable but true stories; I knew that I wanted each of my episodes to have that same effect on the listeners. That’s what made me passionate about doing this show. When someone tells me that they heard a story on “What Was That Like” and they just cried while they heard the person telling the story, my thought is, “Mission accomplished.”
It reminds me of a quote from Maya Angelou, she said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Hi, this is Erin. Have you ever been in a situation that others may not have been in?
Ok, I would have to say yes, I probably have. I was in a hospital room a few years ago, along with my mom and the rest of my family, when my dad was taken off of life support and passed away. Of course, that’s not a unique situation but it’s definitely one that you remember.
I have also bungee jumped. I guess that’s not something too many people have done. That was quite some time ago. Several years ago I also rode a zip line that was hundreds of feet up in the air over the trees in the forest of Ecuador.
Andy wanted to know this, he asked, “Do you have any plans to have commercials in the podcast?”
The answer to that is, yep that’s gonna happen. That’s actually been the plan from the start but I wanted to wait until the audience got to be substantial enough to make it worthwhile. That is now the case. I’m in the early stages with that process, but sometime this year you will start to hear ads in the podcast. I’m assuming for most people that won’t really come as a big surprise since almost all of the major podcasts include advertising in order to make the show profitable. But I’ll say this, that’s one more reason to become a patron of the show for $5 a month. For those patrons they will continue to get the show without any ads. That’s on top of all the bonus episodes which are the raw audio episodes with 911 audio and the stories to go with them. So you can skip the ads and get all the extra content when you sign up as a patron at whatwasthatlike.com/support.
Question #10 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, this is Holly from Washington state. I have 2 questions for you. One, which episode is your favorite? Two, who was your favorite person to interview? If you can’t come up with just one, how about you give us your top 3? Thank you.
Which episode is my favorite? Well, every one of them! They’re all my favorite! I know that’s a copout answer and doesn’t really answer the question but I really do like all of them. I have to say, if I was forced to pick just one, I would have to say episode number 1 with Jennifer. When I approached her about telling her story on my show she was so gracious and agreed to do it. She had no idea who I was or how the interview would go, or if this podcast would ever amount to anything, but she agreed to it. Talk about starting off this new podcast with a bang, what a story that was.
Then when I found out I was able to get the actual audio from the actual 911 call that she made from the scene of the accident, I couldn’t believe it. There was a story behind that. When you go through the process of getting 911 audio, every city and county makes their own rules about what’s available and how you get it. When I contacted that office in Texas about getting Jennifer’s audio, she told me that she would check it because some audio is available and some isn’t.
The difference is, if the 911 call included anyone’s name or any kind of personal information then they wouldn’t be able to release it because of privacy concerns. So I waited to hear and finally I got a phone call from that nice lady with the decision. It turns out that that phone call did include people’s names and some personally identifiable information. She actually went to the trouble of bleeping out those parts in the call so that I could get the audio anyway. That was just incredible for her to do that and I think it made that episode so much more powerful. I made sure to send that lady a thank you card with a Starbuck gift card enclosed.
As far as my favorite person to interview; nope, can’t make that decision.
Elaine sent in this question, “What are some stories you would like to hear first person?”
Oh Elaine, I have a few stories that I would love to hear in person and have it told in the podcast. Here are some of the people and stories I’m looking for for future episodes:
Someone who has survived falling off a cruise ship while it was underway. That’s probably going to be a tough one because for most people when that happens they don’t survive, but I’m still looking.
Someone who’s lost a limb from a shark attack.
Someone who has had a small child kidnapped by a non-family member.
Someone who was a passenger on a train when it went over a cliff, again not a high survival rate on that one.
Someone who was a victim of human trafficking by a non-family member and then rescued. Someone who ran over their own child with their car, that would just be unimaginable.
Someone who was in a car when it was hit by a train.
Someone who was not a pilot but was in a plane when the pilot had a problem and you had to land the plane; I don’t know if that’s so rare that it only happens in the movies but I’m still looking for it anyway.
Also someone who forgot their child in the car; like when a parent picks up a toddler from daycare on their way home from work and then went in the house absentmindedly and left their child in the car for a few hours. That happens here in Florida all too often, and because of the heat some children aren’t able to survive. Then the parent not only has the extreme guilt of that but also the criminal consequences of child neglect or manslaughter; what a complete nightmare. So that would be a tough one, but I would like to do an episode of someone who’s gone through that.
There are a few more and I’m always thinking of these weird situations so I just add them to the list when I think of them. If you have any ideas, let me know.
Question #12 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, this is Ennis listening from Germany. I have 2 questions. Is there any topic that you wouldn’t cover and why? Also, I’m really curious to know if there has ever been a conversation where you have thought, “What an idiot to get into that situation”?
I’ll answer the second one first. I don’t think I’ve ever had that thought of, “what an idiot.” Only because I’ve done some pretty stupid things too and I know that sometimes things can happen. Maybe the person I’m talking to made a bad decision but that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person. Besides, it makes a great story for the podcast.
Ok, topics I wouldn’t cover. Yes, I don’t do anything related to the paranormal. One reason is that there are a lot of other podcasts that do those kinds of stories already. Another reason is because I like to make sure all the stories on my show are true and actually happened and you can’t really verify the paranormal. So I don’t do those.
I also don’t do any stories about things that are primarily medical. The so-called medical miracles. Like when someone says, “I got this super rare disease and the doctors told me I only had 3 months to live and here it is 4 years later and I’m still alive.” Those stories are just too common. Not to minimize it of course because there is no doubt that the person who went through that experience had a very traumatic and difficult time. I just want to have stories that are more unusual than that for this show.
I also don’t do any stories where the primary topic is drugs, sex or alcohol. Believe me I get those stories pitched to me all the time. I can tell you this, if a story starts out, “This one time I was so drunk…” well just stop. I’m bored already. You got drunk and did something stupid, for me personally I really just don’t find that interesting, much less a story that would be memorable. It is interesting though the stories that people send me. It actually puts me in an awkward sort of situation. The person really wants to tell their story on my show and to them it was something really amazing and memorable, but it just doesn’t work for the kind of stories I want to do.
Whenever I think about if a story will work for my show, my first thought is to protect my audience from stories that are not really all that interesting. That’s my number one rule. I learned this from Glen Hebard, another podcasting friend of mine. He says, “Never be boring.” So I try to go by that guideline when choosing stories.
Question #13 (Voicemail)
Hey Scott, it’s Jennifer again. I have a question for you. I want to know if you’ve considered writing a book with maybe your first 50 or 100 episodes and tell what you learned and just have a great collection of stories that I think would be an interesting read? The other question I have is, is there anything that you have yet to learn about the podcasting world? Is there some kind of venture that you’d like to explore like network or anything else? Alright! That’s all my questions. Great idea for a show, I love it.
Writing a book. I have to say I have not really given any consideration to doing that. I don’t know, is this something anyone would be interested in? I don’t know how that would work. People can hear the story firsthand on the podcast, would they want to read more about it in a book? I’d have to think about that some more, but I’m open to ideas.
As far as the podcasting world, I feel like there’s still a lot I have to learn. It’s one of those things where you don’t know what you don’t know. For this show I do everything. Finding the guests and contacting them. Sending the info and the guest release. Researching the story. I do the interview and edit the interview. Put it all together with the intro and the outro. Plus having the FaceBook group and doing all the promotion and marketing for each episode. I have no doubt that there are processes and maybe things that I’m doing that could be done more efficiently. Some of this I would like to eventually outsource.
I’d love to have some help in contacting potential guests. I have a long list of people, not just story ideas, but actually people who I want to contact. It just takes a lot of time to track them down. Doing that is kind of a special skill. To be able to find someone and get in touch with them. Yeah I’m 100% sure that there are lots of things I still need to learn and I’m always trying to learn more and get better.
Question #14 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, this is Kat from Austin, Texas. I just want to say that I love this podcast, it’s my very favorite one. I’m very curious about the picture you use as your FaceBook page and podcast picture. That’s how I find your podcast really, is I look for that picture. I was wondering who the picture is of and why you picked that particular picture? Thank you so much!
In the podcasting world, that picture is called “cover art.” I knew when I started the podcast that I would need to come up with some cover art so I had to really think about what it should be. The problem I ran into was that the stories on this show cover quite a wide spectrum of topics. A lot of them are true crime related or they deal with death and tragedy. Then sometimes we have one that’s just fun, like the person who texted a wrong number and they ended up getting married, or even a unique marriage proposal story. So I couldn’t have something like a dark street with a single street light for the dark stories, because a picture like that wouldn’t fit with a happy story. I also couldn’t use a smiley face or a sunshiny picture on an episode where the guest got hit by a car or shot in a mass shooting or something. Whatever picture I used I knew it had to be something that would be appropriate for all of these types of stories.
So when I was working through this in my mind, the word that kept coming back was the word ‘contemplating.’ Whether you got attacked by an alligator or you saved someone’s life on the golf course while you were out golfing; after the excitement is all over, that’s what you do. You just contemplate what just happened. That was the idea with using that picture of the man standing at the wall. He’s just kind of looking out into the distance contemplating something. So that’s where that came from.
Question #15 (Voicemail)
Hey Scott, my name is Kelly and I’m calling from New Jersey. First and foremost I’d like to say that you do an amazing job with your podcast. Thank you for that. I truly enjoy listening to you. My questions are, how do you find your stories, and do you ever get creeped out when you’re interviewing someone? Alright thank you! Keep up the good work.
Question #16 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, this is Rachael. I just wanted to know how you find your interviewees? Do you really google, ‘guy gets attacked by a bear,’ ‘woman almost dies while skydiving,’ or ‘has anyone eaten their own foot?’ Your stories are so interesting, but who thinks of such random things that could happen? Only you. Thanks.
Ok, I’m happy to say that I have never been creeped out by any of the guests on the show. I hope that trend continues. If I were having a conversation with someone for the podcast and they creeped me out, I don’t know if I would want to have that story on the podcast. Maybe, I guess it would depend on what the story was and why it creeped me out. It hasn’t happened so far.
As far as how I find the people I have on the show. Actually, yes, I have googled, ‘guy gets attacked by a bear.’ I think that was actually how I found Dan who was in episode 68 telling his story of being attacked by a grizzly bear in Alaska. When I first started the show I was pretty much starting from scratch. I made a list of stories I wanted to do like, someone getting struck by lightning or someone surviving a plane crash, that kind of thing. Then I just started searching for those stories.
Now that I’ve been doing the show for 2.5 years, as I record this in early 2021, I’ve gotten guests from a variety of different sources. Some are personal friends or I might have a personal friend who knows someone. Some came from Instagram. Some are news stories I came across and then just contacted the person. What’s nice now is that since the show has grown a lot since the beginning, the audience is much bigger and I’m getting stories from podcast listeners. Like episode 65 from Brandon who was dragged by a horse, he’s a listener of the show who contacted me to see if his story would be a good fit. He’s not the only one, I’ve had several like that. I’m always looking for new stories. If you know of someone or hear of someone who has a story that might fit in with the type of stories I do, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As long as I’m mentioning this, there’s one person in particular who I really really want to have on the show. All I know about her is that her first name is Genesis. She appeared in the first episode of a TV show called the Carbonaro Effect. I really want to talk to her about that experience because her reaction to what happened to her on that show is really incredible. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. If you know Genesis or how to get in touch with her, please contact me.
Question #17 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, my name is Kimberly. I just have to say I absolutely love the podcast and everything that you do. My question to you is, have you ever had something happen to you where us as your fans want to know, what was that like for you? Let us know. Thanks.
Ok, I kind of figured this question would come up. I do have a story, but I can’t say anything about it because I haven’t really decided if I want to do it. If I do decide to tell it I would still have to get the greenlight from a couple of family members who were involved because I would want them to be ok with it as well. So, yes maybe at some point, but I really can’t say anything more about that right now.
Pauline asked, “How long does it take you to make one episode?”
I’ll have to say I can only guess at this because I’ve never actually calculated it out exactly. The standard for podcasting in general is usually a ratio of 1:4. In other words if the final product is an episode that is 1 hour long, then that means it took about 4 hours to put it together. If anything I would say that my episodes would be more than that, but again it’s kind of hard to say. One day I might spend an hour or two just searching through the news online for new guests. From that I might get one or two potentials or I might not get anything. All of that pre-interview time has to go into it as well. I would say, just as an estimate, it’s probably 5 or 6 hours that go into the creation of one episode.
Question #19 (Voicemail)
Hi Scott, my name is Patty. I was wondering, what is your day job? Or what was your day job if you’re podcasting full time now? I always imagined you as something like a therapist or a teacher. Thanks, bye.
My day job is computers. You’re not too far off with the ‘teacher’ guess. Back in the late 90s we were living in Maine and I had a regular job in an office, but I really liked computers. This was back in the really early days of personal computers, like when Windows 98 was the big new thing. One day, I happened to be in a print shop in Waldoboro, Maine and there on the counter next to the cash register someone had left a note that said, “I need someone to help me with learning Microsoft Word.” I read that and thought, “Hmm, I think I could do that.” I called her up and ended up going to her house and spent a couple of hours showing her how to use Word.
I enjoyed it, so I figured, “Why not start doing this as a side gig?” I created a little company called The Computer Tutor, and my tagline was, “Personal instruction from a patient teacher.” It grew bigger and bigger. I actually started it in 1999 and all I planned on doing was personal one on one instruction. What I found was that once I had spent a couple of hours with someone, they got to know me and knew they could trust me, so 6 months later when their computer wasn’t working right, guess who they called? It didn’t take too long before I was doing a lot more computer repair, upgrades, data recovery and all that stuff. People need their computer and every computer breaks eventually.
So I’ve been The Computer Tutor for 22 years and I still do that. I’ll probably always do computer work for clients at some level since at this point I have clients all over the U.S. and can fix just about anything remotely. Eventually my goal is to have the podcast be my primary work and the computer work would be the thing I did on the side. The way the podcast is growing I can absolutely see that happening.
Ok, this question I got from Scott. He asks, “Is your podcast doing as well as you projected it to, or are you surprised by the way it’s picked up attention? Also, do you have a favorite relative? Perhaps one with a similar name?
Question #21 (Voicemail)
Hey Scott, it’s Keira. I just had a couple of questions for your Q&A episode. The first one is, you have talked to a lot of different people with a lot of different experiences so are there any that stick out to you for any reason? Maybe it’s because the story was put together really crazy or the story made you think about something that you may not have otherwise thought about. My second one is, have any of the stories that you’ve heard on your podcast led you to make any changes in your own life or own routine? Third, what made you start the podcast and how did you carve out the room for it in your life? Is it what you pictured or are your goals more moving targets that change based on your experiences with it? I look forward to hearing your answers, have a good one.
I should probably mention that Scott is my nephew. I will admit that of all my relatives he is definitely my favorite one named Scott.
As far as any episodes that stand out, that one is answered in a different question.
Any stories that led me to make any changes in my life. Yeah, there are a couple of stories that come to mind. There are probably more than these two but these are the ones I can think of right now. One was episode 1 with Jennifer. When she was involved in that crash where the motorcycle hit her car, she wasn’t driving distracted. That’s probably what kept her from having a bigger criminal or civil problem with her case. She is now a big advocate of not driving distracted. What happened to her could happen to anyone, so I often think about that when I’m driving.
The other one was the episode with William. He was the guy in episode 20 who was out riding his bike and he got hit by a car. The driver of the car was looking down at his phone which is why he didn’t see William. What made that a great story for the podcast was that the driver was a police officer who was driving his police cruiser at the time. I related to this because I do a lot of biking myself. As a result of talking to William about this I now have a GoPro camera mounted on my helmet and whenever I’m out biking, I’m recording that on video. You never know when it might come in handy, and it sure was valuable in William’s case. It’s hard to deny something when there’s video evidence.
Then, is the podcast what I pictured or are the goals for the podcast changing? I have to admit, when I first started doing this podcast I had a feeling that it would be really big at some point. I know a lot of people start a podcast and think that same thing when they start their show. There was a chance that maybe I had some delusion going on back then. When you start something like this, whether it’s a business or a podcast, you have to have that thought in the back of your head that there’s a chance it might turn into a big success.
I thought that when I first started and as the show has continued to grow, I keep thinking that because all the signs are pointing to it. Everything that’s happening keeps leading to that. I constantly get positive feedback about the individual episodes and the audience keeps growing. The big thing is that people feel strongly enough about this podcast that they actually tell other people about it. That is critical. I think that might actually be the most important factor for a podcast to be successful. That word of mouth is how a lot of podcasts get discovered.
I’ll tell you a fun thing that just happened. I posted this in the FaceBook group so if you’re in there you may have already seen this, and if you’re not in the private FaceBook group what is the matter with you? Whatwasthatlike.com/facebook. Ok, so here’s what happened in February 2021. My son works at a high school as a graduation coach, so he makes sure all the students are on track to graduate with the right classes and number of credits they need. He’s working in his office one day and one of his coworkers comes into his office and asks him, “Hey do you listen to podcasts?” He said, “Yeah sometimes I do.” So she says, “Well a former coworker of mine just told me about this podcast that I started listening to. It’s called What Was That Like? It’s all about these people and these really weird situations they were in. A recent one was about a guy who got attacked by a grizzly bear, so if you’re squeamish don’t listen to that one, but I’ve been going through listening to all of them.” He let her go on for a few minutes while she talked about the podcast. Then he said, “Um, you know that’s my dad’s podcast right?” She said, “No it is not!” He pulled up the podcast website on his computer and showed her my name as the host and she just couldn’t believe it.
Here’s my point with that. A friend of hers found the podcast and told her about it; I’ve actually heard from her since then that she tells everyone about it. Then my son’s coworker is going around and telling her friends about it and how many times has this happened now? Thousands and thousands of people listen to every episode of the show and I know a lot of them are telling people about it as well. That’s a huge factor here. I think that’s one of the biggest signs that this show is going to be one of the big ones.
Shelly asked this question, “Do you mind it when people imitate your intro? I do it all the time. I struggle to say the name of the podcast without saying it in my version of your voice. They do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
This is funny. I assume Shelly is talking about the intro I did for the first couple of years of episodes where I ended the intro with, “More information about each episode at whatwasthatlike.com, here we go,” and no, I don’t mind that. I’m kind of guilty of doing it myself for a different podcast. Do you ever listen to “Criminal” , the true crime podcast that’s hosted by Phoebe Judge? By the way, she has the best voice in all of podcasting. Anyway, for that show she’ll do the opening, have a couple of ads, then get 10 or 15 minutes into the episode, then it’s time to take a break for another ad. You know when that happens because there will be an extended period of silence followed by, “We’ll be right back.” I always say that with her. So no, I don’t mind that at all.
So there it is, our first ever Q & A episode. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! If you didn’t get your question in, don’t worry, because we’ll probably do another one sometime down the road.
If you want the information about some of the things I mentioned in this episode, you can find that stuff in the show notes for this episode, which is at WhatWasThatLike.com/72.
Stay safe, and I’ll see you in one week.