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How I Built This with Guy Raz

How I Built This with Guy Raz

NPR
Business
342 episodes
Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built. Order the How I Built This book at https://www.guyraz.com/
  • After selling both of their social app companies and rethinking their day jobs, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth knew they should not get into the volatile business of social media again. Despite exploring more practical ideas in other industries, they were found themselves drawn to the potential of live...
    Play57m 21s
  • Daniel Humm dropped out of school at 14 to become a competitive cyclist, and supported himself by cutting vegetables and making soup stock at fine restaurants in Switzerland. When he eventually realized he'd never become a world-class cyclist, he pivoted to the equally competitive world of fine dini...
    Play1h 13m 49s
  • Jay Shetty was living the life of a rebellious teen in London when a friend talked him into attending a talk by a Hindu monk. It was a life-changing event, and started Jay on a path to become a monk himself and join an ashram in India. He left monastic life after three years, but took many of its le...
    Play1h 8m 25s
  • While working at a farmers market in Chicago, Jennifer Martin had a Jack-in-the-Beanstalk moment—a chance encounter with some tiny kernels, which wound up growing into a small giant of a business: Pipcorn, snacks made of heirloom corn. Along with her brother Jeff and sister-in-law Teresa, Jennifer l...
    Play1h 40m 51s
  • Bayard Winthrop is the CEO and founder of American Giant, known for its American-made hoodies, t-shirts and jeans. When the pandemic brought on production holds and storefront closures, Bayard found himself working from his car parked in front of his house. He speaks with Guy about the growth Americ...
    Play31m 32s
  • Before Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice met, they shared a common belief: New York City gyms didn't have the kind of exercise classes they craved, and each of them wanted to change that. A fitness instructor introduced them over lunch in 2005, and before the meal was done they were set on opening a s...
    Play54m 25s
  • Lindsay Peoples Wagner got her first taste of the fashion industry interning at Teen Vouge, where she cleaned massive closets filled with the season's latest trends. She eventually went on to serve as the publication's editor-in-chief for nearly three years. During this pandemic, she left her job at...
    Play30m 30s
  • Before Robinhood became one of the most loved and most hated stock trading platforms in the U.S., it was just another tech startup, launched by two mathematicians with an audacious idea: make stock trading mobile, make it fun, and make it free—with no commissions, and no minimum balances. In 2013, V...
    Play1h 25m 16s
  • In the early 2000s, the online music community was defined by MySpace, illegally downloaded music, and poorly made band websites. Then came Bandcamp – a music marketplace where fans can directly and easily support their favorite musicians. The company has steadily grown since its launch in 2007, but...
    Play31m 43s
  • In the early 1990s, as Amanda Hesser's college friends were interviewing for their first cubicle jobs, she chose a different path: one that led straight into the kitchens of Europe, where she cooked traditional recipes and learned the rhythm of the seasons from a crusty French gardener. By 24, she h...
    Play1h 32m 7s
  • After giving up diet soda, Kara Goldin started adding fresh fruit to her drinking water to make it more fun. This inspired her to create Hint water, a line of unsweetened flavored water beverages that are now available in over 30,000 stores nationwide. Kara shares how sales have almost doubled as Hi...
    Play21m 19s
  • As a product developer, Bob Monahan worked with some iconic brands: the Pump at Reebok, the Taurus and Mustang at Ford. When he moved on to work at a baby products company, he happened to discover another set of wheels that caught his eye: a sleek-looking stroller that could accommodate a car-seat o...
    Play56m 12s
  • Vivian Ku is a Taiwanese-American restaurateur who owns three different Taiwanese restaurants in Los Angeles. After the pandemic halted her plans for expansion, Vivian decided to close her two restaurants until May and pivoted her expansion plans into a breakfast pop-up. Vivian talks to Guy about wh...
    Play25m 36s
  • In 2010, Justin McLeod was in business school, still trying to get over a bad breakup that had happened years before. Determined to solve his own problem and convinced that the best way to meet people was through friends of friends, he built an app to replicate that experience. Gradually, Hinge grew...
    Play1h 34m 3s
  • Lisa Baird stepped in as commissioner of the National Women's Soccer League in March 2020 and just two days into her job the entire multi-billion dollar sports industry went dark. Lisa talks with Guy about the difficulties the league overcame to launch their Challenge Cup tournament last summer, and...
    Play31m 31s
  • Miguel and Veronica Garza grew up in Laredo, Texas, in the kind of family that did almost everything together. So when Veronica realized that a grain-free diet was helping her cope with debilitating health issues, the rest of the family—all six of them—adopted the same paleo-friendly diet. Soon Vero...
    Play1h 21m 0s
  • With the wedding industry dramatically impacted by the pandemic, co-founder and CEO of Zola, Shan-Lyn Ma decided to pivot. Instead of just wedding planning, Zola would expand to include livestreaming virtual weddings as well as an e-commerce marketplace for home goods. Shan-Lyn talks with Guy about...
    Play29m 7s
  • Rick Steves spent the summer after high school backpacking through Europe on two dollars a day—sleeping on the floor, sneaking into museums, and subsisting on a diet of bread and jam. When he came home, he found people were hungry for tips on how to visit Europe on the cheap, so he began teaching cl...
    Play1h 25m 59s
  • Six years ago, Morning Brew started out as a fun business newsletter Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief wrote for their classmates out of their University of Michigan dorm room. The company now has over 2.5 million subscribers with multiple newsletters and a podcast, and last year Business Insider paid...
    Play30m 47s
  • When she was just 19 years old, Melanie Perkins dreamt of transforming the graphic design and publishing industries. But she started small, launching a site to make yearbook design simpler and more collaborative. Her success with that first venture—and an unexpected meeting with a VC investor—eventu...
    Play44m 47s
  • Music manager and entrepreneur Troy Carter spoke to Guy last June, as the pandemic was worsening and the country was shaken by racial unrest. Troy spoke about the profound impact of these events on him personally, as well as on the music industry. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Buil...
    Play24m 26s
  • Over the course of ten years as a founder, Chieh Huang bet twice on the ubiquity of the smartphone. The first time was in 2010 with Astro Ape, a mobile gaming company that he founded with a few friends out of an attic. The second time was with Boxed, a mobile bulk-retailer that he co-launched in 201...
    Play1h 29m 47s
  • After retiring from professional soccer, Beverly Leon shifted her focus in a big way. In 2018 she founded Local Civics, an ed-tech start-up that uses game-based learning to encourage kids to strengthen their civic leadership skills. Her mission is to get students civically involved long before they'...
    Play28m 22s
  • In 2012, 22-year-old Katlin Smith was growing restless at her consulting job, so she started experimenting with grain-free, paleo-friendly muffin recipes in her Atlanta kitchen. A buyer at a nearby Whole Foods agreed to sell Katlin's muffin mixes and placed an order for twelve bags. She then hustled...
    Play1h 42s
  • Strava is a social fitness platform with more than 76 million users in nearly every country worldwide. Co-founders Michael Horvath and Mark Gainey spoke with Guy about the recent surge in users joining their virtual fitness community. They share how they've focused on creating new content and featur...
    Play32m 28s
  • In 2001, Mike Cannon-Brookes sent an email to his college classmates in Sydney, asking if anyone was interested in helping him launch a tech startup after graduation. Back then, entrepreneurship wasn't a popular career path in Australia; and Mike's only taker was Scott Farquhar, a fellow student who...
    Play1h 14m 38s
  • M. Night Shyamalan spoke with Guy as part of NPR's Storytelling Lounge at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Night is known for writing, producing and directing blockbuster films like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Split. Despite his many successes, Night shares that he still faces self-doubt, fe...
    Play48m 0s
  • When Norma Kamali studied fashion illustration in the 1960s, she never expected to become a designer. So when a job as an airline clerk came along, she was glad to accept it—along with the perk of dirt-cheap flights from New York to London. On those weekend trips abroad, she discovered fashion that...
    Play1h 31m 33s
  • Fourth generation cattle rancher Loren Poncia and his wife Lisa transformed Stemple Creek Ranch into one of the few carbon neutral livestock ranches in the United States, and have since made their ranch carbon positive, sequestering more carbon than they emit. Lisa and Loren spoke with Guy about how...
    Play26m 2s
  • With its eco-friendly paper towels, diapers, and cleansers, Seventh Generation was one of the first—and most successful—green household brands to hit the market. But in the early 1990s, just a few years after it began as a scrappy mail-order catalog, its two founders had a bitter falling out. Alan N...
    Play1h 35m 8s
  • After starting her career at Teach For America in 1998, Elisa Villanueva Beard has served as the CEO of the non-profit for the last five and a half years. Elisa spoke with Guy about how the organization has supported its teachers who are working in nearly 2,300 schools across the country, and how ed...
    Play22m 30s
  • Judi Sheppard Missett wandered into her first dance class when she was 2, and hasn't stopped dancing since. In the late 1960s, she was teaching jazz dance in Chicago and her students—mostly young moms—complained she was acting too much like a Broadway taskmaster, when all they wanted was get in shap...
    Play1h 18m 31s
  • As part of the band Pomplamoose, musician Jack Conte had a sizeable fan base in the late 2000s and was making thousands of dollars a month from iTunes sales. But when streaming services like Spotify took over the music scene, Jack's income dwindled. So he called up his college roommate Sam Yam, who...
    Play1h 27m 28s
  • In 1992, Steve Ells was a classically trained chef working in a high-end restaurant in San Francisco. But after eating a burrito at a local taqueria, he got an idea: to sell burritos and earn enough money to open his own gourmet restaurant. The first Chipotle opened in Denver the following year. Bri...
    Play48m 28s
  • In the late 1970s Janice Bryant Howroyd moved to Los Angeles and began temping as a secretary. She soon realized there were many other young people in situations similar to hers. So with $1,500 in her pocket, Janice rented an office in Beverly Hills and created the staffing company ACT-1. Today, Act...
    Play47m 42s
  • Morra Aarons-Mele is the founder of Women Online and hosts The Anxious Achiever podcast. Morra shares how her agency pivoted during the pandemic after losing 30% of its business overnight, and how anxious entrepreneurs like herself can lead effectively in a world full of stress and uncertainty. Thes...
    Play31m 57s
  • By the time he turned 30, Tim Ferriss had figured out how to succeed at things that many people fail at—from growing a business to dancing the tango to marketing a best-selling book. He approached these and numerous other challenges by breaking them down into manageable chunks, carefully documenting...
    Play1h 29m 23s
  • Reel is a digital savings platform that helps people people make big purchases without racking up credit card debt. CEO and co-founder Daniela Corrente says the company has added new savings plans during the pandemic in response to consumers looking for new ways to buy and save. These conversations...
    Play27m 12s
  • There were so many interesting moments in Guy's conversation with the co-founders of Riot Games that we decided to put them into this short bonus episode. In it, Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill talk about kids, screens, and the importance of boredom. They answer Guy's questions about why some gamers e...
    Play11m 13s
  • At USC in the late 1990s, Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck were bonding over video games and noticing that free, player-made modifications for the game Warcraft III were becoming wildly popular online. The two friends were so impressed by these mods that they decided to create their own multiplayer str...
    Play1h 34m 35s
  • Emily Powell is the third generation owner and president of Portland, Oregon's iconic independent bookseller, Powell's Books. After having to let go of 90% of her staff in early March, Emily is focused on bringing people back and showcasing Powell's Books' unique in-store experience online. These co...
    Play27m 31s
  • When he was 8 years old, Joel Clark loaded bags of his mom's whole grain pancake mix into a red wagon to sell door-to-door. By the mid-90s, he and his older brother had upgraded to selling the mix out of a Mazda sedan and calling it Kodiak Cakes. As he tried to scale the business, Joel made some ris...
    Play1h 18m 57s
  • The former CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh has died. He was 46 years old. We are grateful that Tony shared his story with us in 2017 and we are republishing it as a tribute to his life and career. Tony was a computer scientist whose first company made millions off the dot-com boom. But he didn't make his...
    Play29m 29s
  • Dr. Iman Abuzeid is the co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, a digital platform that helps streamline the hiring process for nurses and recruiting hospitals. After seeing an increased demand for nurses in April, and a shift to hiring digitally, the platform has now been able to expedite the hiri...
    Play29m 13s
  • While working long hours as a Wall Street analyst, Melissa Butler started making lipstick in her kitchen as a hobby. But it soon turned into an obsession, costing thousands of dollars. She was frustrated by the lack of diversity in the cosmetics industry, and as a Black woman, wanted to create lipst...
    Play1h 22m 43s
  • Father Gregory Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries, one of the largest gang-intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry programs in the world. He speaks with Guy about how the Los Angeles based organization has adapted to continue training and employing people during the pandemic. These convers...
    Play25m 55s
  • Kenneth Cole launched his shoe business out of a forty-foot truck in midtown Manhattan and quickly became known as an up-and-coming designer with an eye for street fashion. In 1986, he made a bold move by associating his nascent brand with a controversial issue at the time: the AIDS crisis, and the...
    Play1h 17m 38s
  • In 2006, Drew Houston got on a bus from Boston heading to New York. He planned to use the three-hour ride to get some work done, so he opened his laptop, and realized he had left his thumb drive with all of his work files at home. Drew decided he never wanted to have that problem again. On that bus...
    Play49m 54s
  • Guy talks with Varshini Prakash, co-founder of Sunrise Movement, a grassroots organization that's fighting to make climate change a top priority in the US. The group launched in 2017 and has since grown into one of the largest youth movements in the country. These conversations are excerpts from our...
    Play23m 46s
  • Growing up in 1960's Chicago, Dave Anderson didn't eat much deep dish. Instead, his dad took the family to the South Side for barbecue, and those memories—and aromas—stayed with him. For years, Dave tinkered with his own recipes for sauces and sides while working as a salesman and business advisor t...
    Play1h 17m 39s
  • Justin Gold is the founder of Justin's, known for its nut butters and chocolate peanut butter cups. He talks about how he started by pulverizing peanuts in his home blender, and describes how his customers are shopping differently during the pandemic. These conversations are excerpts from our How I...
    Play22m 17s