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How I Built This with Guy Raz

Author: NPR

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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
353 Episodes
By her early thirties, Ava DuVernay was already a successful entrepreneur, having founded her own film publicity agency in Los Angeles. But after years of watching other people make films, she started to get an itch to tell her own stories onscreen. Ava's first films were rooted in deeply personal experiences: growing up with her sisters in Compton, performing Hip Hop at Open Mic Night at the Good Life Café in L.A. Her self-funded and self-distributed projects began to draw attention, and in 2012, Ava won the award for best directing at the Sundance Film Festival. She went on to direct powerful projects like Selma, 13th, and When They See Us; and through her production and distribution company ARRAY, she's created a movement that is helping change how movies are made—and who gets to make them.
In the early 90s, Rich Barton arrived to work at Microsoft just as the world wide web was taking off. He wound up pitching Bill Gates on an idea that was transformative at the time: to let everyday travelers book their own flights and hotels by giving them online access to previously hidden reservation systems. Expedia launched from inside Microsoft but was so successful at transforming the travel industry that it was spun out into a public company with Rich as CEO. Then in 2005, Rich moved on to a new idea with some Expedia colleagues, co-founding Zillow as a way to "turn on all the lights" in another sprawling industry: real estate. When the site launched in 2006, so many people tried to look up their home-value "Zestimates" that the site crashed within hours. By 2020, pandemic-era interest in housing saw Zillow accessed almost 10 billion times.
Carla Bartolucci grew up in an Italian-American household, eating fresh gnocchi and ravioli made by her mother, and lobster caught by her father. She met her husband Rodolfo while studying abroad in Italy; and by the early 1990's, the two of them were running a small sandwich shop in Mystic, Connecticut. They eventually partnered with the Italian company Bionaturae to sell whole wheat pastas, sauces and olive oil in the U.S. When that partnership ended in a lawsuit, Carla decided to launch her own brand of pasta, made from gluten-free grains and a prehistoric wheat called Einkorn. Jovial Foods has since grown into a multi-million dollar brand that includes organic tomatoes, olive oil, and snacks.Very sadly, Carla passed away unexpectedly last month after a brief illness. We're sharing this interview in celebration of her remarkable life and career.
In the mid-90s, David Neeleman wanted to launch a new airline. He had already co-created a regional airline out of Salt Lake City that was acquired by Southwest. And despite his admiration of Southwest's business model, Neeleman felt there was a market for a different kind of budget airline. He envisioned flights to cities other budget airlines avoided and excellent customer service, with high-tech amenities. In 2000, he launched JetBlue and in its first year, the company flew over 1 million people, and cultivated a loyal customer following. Then came the 2007 Valentine's Day ice storm.
As a part of the 2021 How I Built This Summit (At Home) we have selected 10 Fellows, and we'd like to introduce you to all of them. In this episode: Dinesh Tadepalli is the co-founder of Incredible Eats, which he hopes will reduce plastic use, and reinvent the way we eat. Also, Jennifer Zeitler founded Let's Goat Buffalo, to offer a natural alternative to harmful chemicals and heavy machinery for land management; that solution: goats.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
Some of the world's biggest industries sell products that we all need...but don't want to think about. That's what drew Jennifer Fitzgerald to insurance: she wanted to help people understand the often bewildering world of protecting themselves in case of emergencies. In 2013, she and her partner Francois de Lame left their stable and lucrative consulting jobs to create Policygenius, an online marketplace for insurance that lets consumers compare rates and learn everything they need to know to make informed decisions about their financial future. At the beginning, Jennifer couldn't convince investors to take a chance on the company, and faced rejection after rejection as she tried to hold on to a handful of customers. But by building a relationship with the financial blogging community—and leaning in to a few well-placed financial technology puns—Policygenius got a foot in the door. By 2020, Jennifer and her team had raised over $100 million, and the company now has more than 30 million users.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
As a part of the 2021 How I Built This Summit (At Home) we have selected 10 Fellows, and we'd like to introduce you to each of them. In this episode: Kaitlin McGreyes founded Be Her Village to be a gift registry for expectant families that provides more than just...stuff. And Nicole Argüelles founded Alli to address period poverty and provide easy access to personal care and hygiene products in public spaces.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
As a part of the 2021 How I Built This Summit (At Home) we have selected 10 Fellows, and we'd like to introduce you to each of them. In this episode: Mark Atlan co-founded ZappCare to help make sure that people living on tribal lands have access to health and medical services close to their homes. And Zach Correa hopes to connect users of lemonGRAFT to the people in their own neighborhood that grow fresh produce.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
Around 2003, after forays into banking, baseball cards, and—believe it or not—bobsledding, Marc Lore landed on an idea for an e-commerce business: a website to make it simple for parents to order diapers. The only problem, as he quickly discovered, was that it's impossible to make money selling diapers on the internet. But Marc and his co-founder had a strategy: they'd lose money on diapers, but make it up by selling other baby products. By 2010, was such a competitive threat that Amazon acquired the company for over $500 million. In 2015, Marc launched another e-commerce venture and Amazon competitor called Walmart bought less than a year later in a deal valued at $3.3 billion.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
As a part of the 2021 How I Built This Summit (At Home) we have selected 10 Fellows, and we'd like to introduce you to them over the next couple weeks. In this episode: Katie Mitchell and her mother Katherine opened a book shop in Atlanta called Good Books, that centers Black authors and brings books into the community. And in Washington, D.C., Celena Gill and her three sons, Collin, Ryan, and Austin, started the home fragrance and candle company, Frères Branchiaux.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
As a part of the 2021 How I Built This Summit (At Home) we have selected 10 Fellows, and we'd like to introduce you to them over the next couple weeks. In this episode: Pierre Paul, founder of a company called We Hear You that's developing a sign language translator that turns American Sign Language into audible speech and vice versa. Also, Toby Egbuna, co-founder of Chezie, a platform for job seekers aimed at creating career opportunities for people from under-represented groups.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
In the pre-Internet 1970's, Sandy Lerner was part of a loosely-knit group of programmers that was trying to get computers to talk to each other. Eventually, she and Len Bosack launched Cisco Systems, making the routing technology that helped forge the plumbing of the Internet. But when things turned sour at the company, she was forced to leave, giving her the chance to start something entirely new: an edgy line of cosmetics called Urban Decay.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
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 social audio, and decided they had to build another social app. What they didn't know was that, as they launched Clubhouse in March 2020, a global pandemic would create a new market of people looking for virtual spaces to connect. Today, despite issues with chat moderation, an invitation-only launch and increasing competition from established media companies, Clubhouse has continued to grow and now has over 10 million users. This interview was recorded live as part of a virtual event in April 2021.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
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 dining, and soon became a rising young chef in Switzerland, and then San Francisco. In 2006, he was wooed to New York to re-imagine the restaurant Eleven Madison Park, and began drawing raves for his painterly presentations of duck, foie gras, and suckling pig. The restaurant was recognized in 2017 as the world's best, but was forced to shut down during the pandemic. When it reopens in June, it will generate a new buzz in gastronomy: this time by revamping its menu to be entirely plant-based. How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
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 lessons with him, and decided to share them with others. His YouTube videos began to spread on social media and eventually evolved into a podcast, and the best-selling book Think Like a Monk. Today Jay runs a wellness and coaching business, and provides life guidance to millions of people around the world. This interview was recorded live as part of a virtual event in March 2021.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
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 launched the brand in 2012, hand-popping mounds of popcorn and hand-stamping the packaging. Within a few months, the team was featured on Oprah, and within a few years, they were on Shark Tank, but each time the publicity nearly derailed them, forcing them to scramble to meet demand. Today, Pipcorn has expanded to include crackers, dippers, and cheese balls, and is sold in more than 10,000 stores across the country.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
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 American Giant saw last year due to the increased demand for comfortable work-from-home clothing, and he offers advice on how to incentivize other companies to produce their clothing in the US. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times. How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
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 stationary bike studio, with a chic and aspirational vibe. A few months later, the first SoulCycle opened in upper Manhattan. Since then, SoulCycle has cultivated a near-tribal devotion among its clients, with studios across the United States and Canada.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
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 Teen Vouge and took on two new roles: the editor-in-chief of The Cut, a digital publication, and the co-founder of the Black in Fashion Council. Lindsay shares how the Black in Fashion Council is addressing inequalities within the fashion industry, and offers advice for young journalists trying to break into publishing. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.
Robinhood: Vlad Tenev

Robinhood: Vlad Tenev


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, Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt decided to pursue this idea full-time. They sidelined their first business—selling software that shaved milliseconds off high-speed trades—and began building an app aimed at anyone with a smartphone and a few extra dollars to invest. After launching in 2015, Robinhood steadily attracted users and rave reviews, but soon drew criticism for its business model, which came under even more scrutiny after the GameStop trading frenzy in January. Despite these challenges, Robinhood has grown to 13 million users and is now poised for a lucrative IPO.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:
Comments (397)

Codex Makoya

Rich really does understand economics 101

Jun 18th

Samantha Derman

link is broken

Jun 15th
Reply (1)

Mack Bawden

at 15:43 at 2.3 speed it sounds like Guy makes a goat noise. Love it!

Jun 14th
Reply (4)

Candyce Bennett

So excited to try your popcorn after listening to this podcast. Disappointed could not find at nearby Whole Foods. Chips and puffs yes, but no popcorn

Jun 11th

Steve Prins

6xvccvvvbn B iknmmmmmy. vxjj nBVBQSGYHyjyy ybyby6hxcgy

May 29th


This is especially good. 👌

May 14th

Salvin Rodrigues

quite empowering

Apr 30th

Khalid Shamlan

Great episode. Actually one of the best. Thanks HIBT team.

Apr 23rd

Diogo Castro Silva

Great show!! Love to listen to it in my hikes. Incredible to know how companies were built and where they came from. Gives a lot of insight and inspiration.

Apr 23rd

Студент Большой

Nice episode!

Apr 20th

Студент Большой

Jeez! 😡What was that glitch at 38:50. I flinched

Apr 20th

daniel ekhorugue

F*ck robinhood

Apr 13th
Reply (1)

Thais Nascimento

amazing 🤯🥺🥺🥺❤️

Feb 22nd


music at intro is too loud.

Feb 18th

Thais Nascimento

inspiring af

Feb 7th

Thais Nascimento

damn, this was amazing! 🤯🥰🥰🥰

Feb 6th

Thais Nascimento

really inspiring 😭

Feb 1st

Weys - ms

So much inspiring. Thank you for this cool podcast!

Jan 28th


wow what a great episode..

Jan 23rd

Emerson Barth


Jan 12th
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