4 episodes

This is a podcast of great questions.

Have you noticed that you don't get asked really interesting questions?

What time will you be home?
Is Lucy's sniffle serious?
Did you know your father fell again?
Can you resend me that meme?

These questions are necessary, but they're not interesting.

* * *

Let me set the scene:
The dinner party is winding down, the FOMO crowd is off to the next social occasion, and the remaining folks number less than ten. Maybe five or six.

I pick out a person who looks tired of the small talk and I say, "Let me ask you a question."
"Sure" - they answer, with half of the crowd already leaning in - sensing something may be coming.

"If you could clone yourself, what would the other you be doing?"

Now everybody is paying attention.

That was my first great question. It still usually gets the record to scratch and the small talk to cease. If you can picture an old western when the right guy walks into the wrong saloon at the perfect moment - that's what happens.

Only in a good way.

After the first answer we go around the circle and let everyone answer. Someone almost always has a realllly good answer.

And guess what?

Now they're in. They're not just wanting another great question, their minds are begging. Their hearts are open, their phones are off, and their egos are low. I can see it in their body language.

Great questions do that.

They can make your brain feel like it's exercising a new muscle, or at least a part that hasn't been tapped in a long, long time.

People ate up my good questions.

In fact, they loved them.

And I loved hearing the answers.

* * *

I started a book a few years ago, collecting some of the best answers, but I put it down and never finished.

I realized recently that the joy of people's answers was in hearing them, so here we are.


Each week I'll ask my guest a great question, maybe two, and you'll hear their answer. Some may be short, some long, but they'll be honest. They'll be real.

Real Topeka real.

As you're listening you may have a good answer yourself and want to be on the show. If that happens you can send a summary of your answer to alden5@spreaker.com


For now, let's get started.

5 Great Questions Alden Olmsted

    • Society & Culture

This is a podcast of great questions.

Have you noticed that you don't get asked really interesting questions?

What time will you be home?
Is Lucy's sniffle serious?
Did you know your father fell again?
Can you resend me that meme?

These questions are necessary, but they're not interesting.

* * *

Let me set the scene:
The dinner party is winding down, the FOMO crowd is off to the next social occasion, and the remaining folks number less than ten. Maybe five or six.

I pick out a person who looks tired of the small talk and I say, "Let me ask you a question."
"Sure" - they answer, with half of the crowd already leaning in - sensing something may be coming.

"If you could clone yourself, what would the other you be doing?"

Now everybody is paying attention.

That was my first great question. It still usually gets the record to scratch and the small talk to cease. If you can picture an old western when the right guy walks into the wrong saloon at the perfect moment - that's what happens.

Only in a good way.

After the first answer we go around the circle and let everyone answer. Someone almost always has a realllly good answer.

And guess what?

Now they're in. They're not just wanting another great question, their minds are begging. Their hearts are open, their phones are off, and their egos are low. I can see it in their body language.

Great questions do that.

They can make your brain feel like it's exercising a new muscle, or at least a part that hasn't been tapped in a long, long time.

People ate up my good questions.

In fact, they loved them.

And I loved hearing the answers.

* * *

I started a book a few years ago, collecting some of the best answers, but I put it down and never finished.

I realized recently that the joy of people's answers was in hearing them, so here we are.


Each week I'll ask my guest a great question, maybe two, and you'll hear their answer. Some may be short, some long, but they'll be honest. They'll be real.

Real Topeka real.

As you're listening you may have a good answer yourself and want to be on the show. If that happens you can send a summary of your answer to alden5@spreaker.com


For now, let's get started.

    Ep. 4 | Your whole life is determined by two choices

    Ep. 4 | Your whole life is determined by two choices

    Welcome to The 5 Great Questions podcast, where I ask people interesting questions, and you get to hear their answers.

    My guest on episode 4 is a former roommate, but only for three months some 18 years ago. And yet somehow that short stint at a NorCal bachelor pad was part of a pivotal season for Jeff Dunkin of Bellingham, WA.

    Jeff's story is likely relatable for many early 20-somethings, especially those who left college prematurely, who sensed something else pulling them altogether. From Northern Washington, it isn't hard to see how San Diego would send the siren call to a 20 year old wanderer, drawing Jeff with the promise of perfect weather and surfing with dolphins. Reality can be a b*tch though and Jeff had to pivot quickly, ending up at his cousins' house just north of San Francisco, just ten minutes from a little house with a cool yard that I was living in at the time, with two friends both getting married and on their way out. I'll let Jeff take it from here.

    This is a great episode and I hope you enjoy the many nuggets a 40 year old can glean from (at the time) seemingly random events, that led him now to a happy life. If you'd like to be on a future episode go to aldenolmsted.com and tell me your story.

    Enjoy ::

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ep. 3 | Tell me about a loss you've grieved, other than a death

    Ep. 3 | Tell me about a loss you've grieved, other than a death

    Episode 3
    Alden Olmsted
    Sari Lamela

    Welcome to The 5 Great Questions podcast, where I ask people interesting questions, and you get to hear their answers.

    My guest on episode three is longtime friend Sari Lamela, a powerhouse entreprenuer and promoter who left Hollywood to become a happily married woman in Northern Virginia.

    In episode three Sari answers the question:
    "Tell me about a loss you've grieved, other than a death."

    A tough but relevant question almost everyone can relate to. Sari delves into her Hollywood dream, when it ended, and what she did to get through it. Alden leads her through the five stages of grieef and how they have manifested themselves in her life through this loss.

    Alden ends with a Billy Joel Hollywood story that's new to Sari, and maybe new to some listeners.

    Want to be on a future episode? Tell me why at Alden5@spreaker.com

    All content ©2024 Alden Olmsted

    • 31 min
    Ep. 2 | Dawson's Creek + Organic American Spirits = a cross-country Vision Quest

    Ep. 2 | Dawson's Creek + Organic American Spirits = a cross-country Vision Quest

    Episode 2
    Alden Olmsted
    Christopher Sell

    Welcome to The 5 Great Questions podcast, where I ask people interesting questions, and you get to hear their answers.

    My guest on episode two is longtime friend and former lost teenage soul Christopher Sell. Chris is a middle school teacher in middle California and is a multi-talented storyteller specializing in thoughtful acoustic songs and the occasional screenplay. Chris is happily married with three kids, one dog, and a trampoline in the backyard.

    I introduce the podcast and welcome Chris, and then I unleash him for a ramble of a story that is sometimes excruciating, sometimes profound, and entertaining throughout. The question of what to do when your "Plan A" fails is almost as universal as teenagerism itself. Chris sets the stage of how and why he thought a trip from San Diego to Wilmington, NC would be a good idea after failing out of law school.

    Did he make it to Wilmington?

    Did he take up smoking?

    Did he take his screenplay to Screen Gems and apply for a job?

    We answer these questions and more and finally circle back (in multiple attempts!) to help Chris recognize the larger meaning of his journey. And the purpose of such a worthwhile trip.

    Lastly Chris shares a fun short involving an ex-gf and caller ID - and why he would have never picked up the phone today.

    Like to be on a future episode? Let me know at: alden5@spreaker.com

    Links:
    aldenolmsted.com
    Stories and blogs on Medium:
    https://alden-olmsted.medium.com/

    Christopher Sell on YouTube:
    https://youtu.be/7jLq34_GZac?si=u1sifoDCu9BcFwtR

    • 48 min
    Ep. 1 | How I found my spouse without a cell phone

    Ep. 1 | How I found my spouse without a cell phone

    Episode 1
    Alden Olmsted
    Donald J. Johnson

    Welcome to The 5 Great Questions podcast, where I ask people interesting questions, and you get to hear their answers.

    My first guest on my first episode is longtime friend and film collaborator Donald J. Johnson. Don is an author and filmmaker and devoted family road tripper, and has a great answer to the question "How did you meet your spouse without a cell phone."

    I introduce the podcast and welcome Don, and he shares a recent anecdote from a trip to the upper Midwest to set up his story. Following his great story we both wax about the differences between reality and life online, the dangerous nature of technology and what we've unleashed, and share our opinions about how to keep healthy risk alive in a digital age.

    Like to be on a future episode? Let me know at: alden5@spreaker.com

    Links:
    aldenolmsted.com
    Stories and blogs on Medium:
    https://alden-olmsted.medium.com/

    Donald J. Johnson and Runaway Planet Pictures:
    https://runawayplanetpictures.vhx.tv/

    • 1 hr 5 min

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