Audio dedications to the folks who helped make us who we are.

A ways back someone asked me if I’d send them a one-page biography. I didn’t have one and sat for quite a while thinking about what to write.

I’m not a confident writer, but I am a confident talker. So, instead of sending back a written bio, I decided to record very short audio dedications to three generous people who had an indelibly positive effect on my life.

It was the inspiration for If Not For.

Most dedications are short…

…like like this one from sailor Robert Ouimet

Robert at the helm of Madsuhis Catalina 22, in the Strait of Georgia, just outside Vancouver harbor.

…but, I’m also doing podcast interviews filled with dedications from people in the public eye…

…like this episode I recorded in Berlin, with the illustrator Christoph Niemann.

Christoph in his Berlin studio telling me about the book his parents bought him when he was thirteen. It inspired endless hours of figure drawing.

How to hear dedications and podcast epsidodes.

I send out the best dedications of the week and new podcast interviews in a weekly email. It’s basically a podcast episode in your inbox. There are no ads and no funny business. And it’s free.

Unless a dedicatee or podcast interviewee sends you a link to their dedication, this is the only way you can get them (read why in the FAQ, down the page).

This email is also where I list my available times that week to record your If Not For dedications.

Whenever there’s an opportunity, If Not For is also a mini people-connecting project.

When I meet a pair or group of people I think can have a vital, positive impact on one another, it’s very hard for me to resist trying to get them together in person.

So I end up arranging lots of fun meals, outings, excursions, and trips.

A few years ago I arranged a picnic for two unacquainted moms, Jenna Shapiro and Celine Vernon, and their toddlers, Luco and Sila. Those are the kiddos smooching after the picnic in the top photo. And below is a more recent Instagram video of the two giving a sassy-adorable one-star museum review.

You can read more about these outings, dinners, excursions, and trips here.

Why it’s so important that we record our If Not For stories.

The subjects of these stories often don’t know just how big of an impact they’ve had on us. Or they don’t remember. Or we don’t know right now where they are or how to reach them. Or they may simply no longer be with us.

When we record an If Not For story, from that point forward, it’s available not just to the person the story’s about, but also to the people who love (or loved) them; their friends, family, students, and colleagues; and all the folks who wonder how you became you.

Frequently asked questions.

How can I listen to If Not For stories?

I send out the best dedications of the week and new podcast interviews in a weekly email. It’s basically a podcast episode in your inbox. There are no ads and no funny business. And it’s free.

Unless a dedicatee or podcast interviewee sends you a link to their dedication, this is the only way you can get them.

This email is also where I list my available times that week to record your If Not For dedications.

How can I leave my own story?

It’s done through a short interview with me.

You don’t need to prepare what you’re going to say. All you need to figure out ahead of time is who you want to talk about. I’ll ask you questions that will bring out the story and then edit myself out of the recording.

How do I schedule an interview?

At the bottom of that weekly email, I announce my open interview slots for that week and give you a form to sign up.

How will I be able to share the story after it’s been recorded?

I’ll put it up on IfNotFor.com, on its very own page, and send you a URL link to that page you can share through email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Reddit — wherever you like.

How can I best spread the word about this project?

Anyway you’re willing. Here are some handy-dandy buttons to make it a little easier:

How can you do this for free without advertising?

Well, everybody needs a hobby. And, luckily, I have a pretty good day job and some extremely generous volunteers that keep If Not For going.

How are you able to record these interviews over the phone?

Through UberConference and their nifty cloud call recording service.

What if I’m not accustomed to speaking extemporaneously or I get nervous doing this sort of thing?

I’ll prompt you with questions during your interview, so you don’t need to prepare anything. And then I’ll edit myself out of the final recording. Also, I’m happy to do mutliple takes.

What if I don’t need to be interviewed and just want to record my If Not For story myself?

You can do that using our voicemail:

In the U.S. and Canada:
(844) 4IF-NOT4 / (844) 443-6684

Outside the US:
+1 (303) 305-4363

Can I tell a story without naming names?

If you need to omit your name or the name of the person the story’s about, that’s completely fine.

Why don’t you publish these dedications and podcast episodes in the normal podcast ecosystem, so I can listen to them on my podcast player?

I have a strict no ads ever policy. And there’s an insidious trend emerging in the podcast world: podcast players that insert their own ads into the podcasts you’re trying to listen to.

A dedicated, ad-free If Not For dedication and podcast player for iPhone is being created as we speak.

How do I get invited to gatherings?

I put together groups for gatherings based on their If Not For dedications. So, do subscribe to the weekly stories, podcast episodes, and open slots to record your dedication!

How do I find out more about you?

There’s some bio info here.

How do I reach you?

Shoot me a note at ted [at] ifnotfor.com.