Let me first start out by saying if it was not for Jack Spirko there would not be an aaforringer.com, I would probably not have three books or have made so many friends around the world that have come from this blog and my writing. I had one book, Scouts Out, and it was sitting in my computer going against Issac Asimov’s advice “you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer”. I had started to listen to The Survival Podcast mistakenly doing research into teaching Wilderness Survival to my Boy Scouts and was pulled into Jack Spirko’s orbit and was soon listening every day (Since early 2010).
2012, mowing my grass in my back yard and Jack was talking about building a website and paying to get your own domain name. An idea strikes me, since my book is not doing anything else why not put it on a website at least then it would be out there in the world (attempts to get it published failed). So I put the book out in by chapters and NO ONE reads it. But now I like this trying thing. The reason I put out quotes every Tuesday and Thursday was because of Jack expounding consistency and new content (that and I love quotes, I had been collecting them in several Word Documents for years).
I start researching self publishing and do that as well, I get a minimum amount of sales, but this encourages me just enough to finish a second book, Q Runner, then Disconnect and eventually, hopefully, soon a 4th. The reason I charged more for my book Disconnect then the first two was because of Jack talking about pricing of products.
By now I am hooked on trying, or taking a chance. Flash forward to 2017, I have a side hustle (doing freelance travel/history articles) which pays a little bit, which is more than I had before, while doing something I love.
Jack answered these questions sometime in the midst of his travels and being the Keynote Speaker at Liberty Forum in New Hampshire. So I am even more appreciative of the work put into this while he was so busy.
French fries- Shoestring, steak, curly, crinkle cut..? What condiment(s) on them?
Since I attempt to keep my carb load very low and live on a mostly primal/paleo diet, I don’t eat fries often. When I do I generally make my own and do a twice fried Japanese Purple Sweet Potato. These potatoes are actually white fleshed with purple skins. Twice frying them gets them puffy and crispy. For a condiment we blend fermented Korean Chili Paste with home made mayo. If something is going to be a treat you should do it right.
How long have you been creating and why?(and I consider being an entrepreneur a creator)
I am most known as the host of The Survival Podcast and we will have our 10th year anniversary in June of 2018. As to being an entrepreneur and creating anything from content to product, I’d say that goes back to at least my early teens. As to why, I really believe that some people are just wired with entrepreneurial DNA. It is not in our nature to conform to societies rules. IE – “Go to school, get a real job, work hard, save for retirement in a 401K, etc.” I actually have occasional nightmares where I am working a j-o-b. I don’t wake up in terror or anything but in the dream I will end up thinking, how the hell did this happen, why am I here? Fortunately at that point I tend to realize it is a dream and wake up.
What odor to you is the most pleasant?
Tomato plants growing with basil, in a garden, on a warm day, when they get hit with the spray of a hose. In that moment I am 12 year old Jack Spirko in my Grandfather’s Garden for a few seconds. I am also quite fond of the smell of burnt gun powder on a cold morning in the deer woods.
Favorite things to read? What genre?
Nonfiction, about whatever my current projects and interests are. Specialization is for insects.
A boat you are riding in is about to capsize what did you do to contribute to this?
I was probably driving.
What is the best thing about creating?
Just that, creating itself. Most people react and consume. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad thing, we need those folks, if no one consumed and reacted, creators would be bored and have no motivation. But when I look at a product, a company or a podcast episode that will live past me and impact lives, I realize that creation is a power. It is a power that can be used like any power for good or evil. Finding something you can create that does good for the world is truly finding the path you were born to walk. When you are on such a path your life is exciting, joyful and you feel unstoppable. Don’t get me wrong there are still challenges, bad days, sad times, etc. you just find yourself more resilient in them, you have less of them and you have mostly great hard charging days. In fact when I am having a shitty day, the fastest way out of it is to write an article, start recording a podcast, make a video or working on a business plan. It is like an instant acting drug and it probably is addictive, but it is an addiction, that unlike others we should cultivate.
How much ground can a ground hog, hog, if a ground hog could hog ground?
You will have to ask the ground hog, I don’t speak for others, man nor beast. What I can say about ground hogs is they are actually quite tasty and the best round to hunt them with is the 22-250 Remington.
What is the worst thing about being a creative personality?
Your friends list is going to be small. Not the people you would consider loose friends, but the people you actually want to hang out with for a full day or go off on some adventure with for a few days. The people who not only have your cell number but know they can pick up the phone and call you at any time. That even though you are the guy that NEVER answers his phone; you will answer for them and be there for what ever they need. This in of itself isn’t bad, I think more people should have shorter friends lists, or do a better job of defining the word at least. However, what I mean is, you are not going to fit in well with non-creative types, like not at all.
Again I am not putting anyone down but the average person constantly uses what I call a “language of limitation”. Can’t, won’t and if are their favorite words, with phrases like “someday may be”, “it would be great” and “I just wish I could” linking them together. To listen to this when you are creator is like a small torture. Look, again I am NOT putting anyone down, the problem isn’t that you have to hear it, it is that in general you feel for these people but until they are ready to make a shift in life instead of excuses you can’t help them.
It is simply that as creators we use phrases like, “how can I get this to happen” or “what if we try ________” and we use them constantly. If you think this way you are only going to be happy spending time with people in general that do the same. When you find such people though there is an instant kindredship and brother/sisterhood that is hard to explain. As you talk to such people you inevitably find out your pasts are so similar it is kind of spooky. Recently for example I found that one such of my friends actually lived less than a mile from me many years ago, and it is quite likely that when working as a bouncer, I may have thrown him out of a local bar, perhaps even more than once. We have been close friends now for a few years but just discovered this.
So you are going to struggle to fit in at times. You are going to be in groups and just feel like a doctor surrounded by cancer patients while you are holding a bottle of pills that can instantly cure cancer but no one will take one from you! I am absolutely serious about that, but the solid relationships you do build more than make up for it.
If you could force one famous person to consume your podcast who would you force, and how much would you force them to consume?
Well first, I don’t use force in any way other than in self-defense or the direct defense of others. So I’d never force anyone to listen to anything. However if I could convince one person to listen to my message it would be whoever is the current sitting President of the United States at the time. I am anti political, so the answer would never change, don’t care if it is Obama or Trump or whoever is next. The U.S. President has so much power to use force on so many people in the world and it is that ear, no matters who’s head it is attached to that I wish would hear more voices, any voices of those who crave a world where voluntary association is prized above all other things.
How far do you hope pod-casting takes you? A million subscribers?
Where ever it leads I will follow and be grateful. When I had 10,000 subscribers I was often advised to “build a bigger tent” by people who didn’t podcast by the way. To be broader with my message and philosophy so I could be “more successful”. At that time I said, “I would rather have 10,000 people that love my message for its honesty and actually act on it than have 1 million that just listen”. Since that time my audience has grown 15 fold, but I still feel the same way. I don’t really care how far what I am doing takes me, and I am serious about that.
I could lose everything tomorrow and could do something as simple as start a pool cleaning business and make six figures doing it with say one part time helper. So I am going to be okay and I know that. So what I really care about is how far what I am doing pushes others. I have to make money, we all do, it is how the economy works. But my big pay days are always the emails from listeners telling me about the business they built, the debt they eliminated, the homesteads they have established. Or say their political walks to agorism, libertarianism and voluntarism. Every day I get such an email is a really good day, and I would say I get one a few times a week.
So if I get to a point where I get one such email a day, I would have to put that in the win column! At that point, barring personal tragedy, every day is going to be a really good day. How many people can honestly say they have that to look forward to? So if there is any metric, that I gauge my success by it is how many people I influence to find more liberty in their lives though personal action.
These are probably the longest answers I have ever received to my questions and my favorite was about being addicted to creating (which is the way I feel about writing now).
I would also like to say that Jack has been kind to me before, reading one of my stories on his podcast, America’s Big Game and then allowing me reading my own story, We Need a Monster on his podcast.
What is the The Survival Podcast about? It is about preparedness for when things go wrong, and let’s face it something will go wrong it your life, the loss of a job, the death of a significant person in your life and local natural disasters. The Survival Podcast is also about eating good food, and taking care of yourself and others, the state of the world today thru a non violent libertarian view point, raising livestock (bees, chickens, ducks…), and building things into your life to give you peace of mind. What The Survival Podcast is not about, giving into fear and anxiety, it is not about black helicopters and tin foil hats, and it is not about political parties (except when discussing how the try and divide people and keep us fighting each other). Here is a great example of his show.
Just to prove how big and influence Jack has been on me, his name is listed on Influenced By and I used his first name as the name of a character in The Genie and the Libertarian.
If you know have listened to The Survival Podcast for any length of time then you know who Steven Harris is, he was interviewed about a week before Jack, his interview is here.
Next week Gavin Aung Thung, the New York Times Best Selling Cartoonist and creator of Zen Pencils.
Witty observation, disparaging remark, question for A.A., well this is your chance.