The Story of What If

A Conference For Artist-Prenuers

What If was founded by Jen and Steve Bebb, accomplished photographers and no strangers to risk. Jen and Steve felt that creatives weren’t being educated in a way that catered to their unique learning styles.

“From the beginning, they wanted to do more than simply sit at a conference and have speakers pontificate from the stage. Rather, they were interested in facilitating the creativity of our community, encouraging, helping, disagreeing and cheering them on.”

The What If journey has been a complex one. The first event took place in January, 2012 at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo. The Innovators were all photographers, but it was quickly recognized that the lessons transcended genre. After Cabo, Jen and Steve began introducing Innovators from other genres, Innovators who hit roadblocks and u-turns in their journey and who were trying to change the world, one pair of sandals at a time.

After the Portland event in July, 2012 Jen and Steve wanted to quit, but they were urged on by the attendees who literally passed a hat and filled it with crumpled dollar bills and coins. It wasn’t much in terms of dollars, but it was everything Jen and Steve needed to forge ahead. For them, the knowledge that this mattered was enough to try again. Never complacent, Jen and Steve launched What If Dominican Republic in February, 2013.

At What If DR the mission evolved again. It wasn’t just about facilitating the work, dreams and lives of individuals, but it became about giving back to the global community and doing more. They announced What If 2014 on the closing day with no dates, no location, no speakers—and it sold out in three days. Change happens when people do something, not just talk about doing something—so they’re doing something! Jen and Steve held What If Bali in August, 2013 and in the fall of 2013 introduced one-day events, known as DayCamps. They are thrilled for the sold-out event at a dude ranch in Arizona in February of 2014.