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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. Pre-order the How I Built This book at https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis.
281 Episodes
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In 2012, Daina Trout, her husband Justin, and her best friend Vanessa Dew were sitting around a kitchen table spit-balling possible business ideas. Their biggest contender seemed to be a natural product to treat hair loss. Turns out, it's harder than they thought to make one, so they landed on something completely different: a brand of homemade kombucha they called Health-Ade. After nine months of brewing kombucha in their kitchen and selling it at local farmer's markets, the three co-founders quit their jobs to pursue Health-Ade full time. Seven years later, Health-Ade brews 120,000 bottles of Kombucha every day, and does close to $200 million in retail sales. Order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
This year has brought unexpected challenges to Lyft, starting with a 75 percent drop in rideshares at the beginning of the pandemic. But co-founder John Zimmer says ride-hailing is returning, and the company is continuing to diversify with car, scooter, and bike rentals. John also answers questions about whether app-based drivers should be thought of as part-time employees or independent contractors. 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.Order the How I Built This book at:https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
Khan Academy: Sal Khan

Khan Academy: Sal Khan

2020-09-2101:24:0414

In 2009, Sal Khan walked away from a high-paying job to start a business that had no way of making money. His idea to launch a non-profit teaching platform was ignited five years earlier, when he was helping his young cousins do math homework over the computer. They loved his clear explanations and soon he was posting free tutorials on Youtube, where they started to attract the attention of thousands of users around the world. Sal realized he could help democratize learning by building a free platform to teach math, science, and the humanities. Today, Khan Academy offers hundreds of free recorded tutorials in dozens of languages. During the pandemic, its popularity has surged to 30 million users a month. Order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
Last year, the dating app Bumble launched a video chat feature that was initially slow to take off. But that changed after the pandemic hit. Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd tells Guy that many Bumble users are getting to know each other on video before meeting in person—a trend that could change dating for the better. 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.Order the How I Built This book at:https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
Bert and John Jacobs had just come off a $100 million year for their Boston-based apparel company, Life is Good. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended business as usual, forcing the brothers to invest in a new printing model while trying to encourage optimism during this time of economic and social distress. 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.Order the How I Built This book at:https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
Calendly: Tope Awotona

Calendly: Tope Awotona

2020-09-1401:14:504

After emigrating from Nigeria to the US to attend college, Tope Awotona worked as a door-to-door salesman and eventually set out to become a tech entrepreneur. He launched a series of e-commerce businesses that quickly fizzled when he realized he had no passion for them. But then he landed on an idea he was truly excited about: designing software that would minimize the hassle and headache of scheduling meetings. In 2013, he cashed in his 401k and went into debt to build Calendly, a scheduling service expected to make about $60 million this year.Pre-order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
On this special episode, Stacey Vanek Smith interviews Guy about his brand new book, How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs.Stacey asks Guy about growing up with entrepreneurial parents, working overseas as a war reporter, and how elements of entrepreneurship have mirrored the trajectory of his own career. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series.Pre-order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
Imane Anys—who goes by the online moniker Pokimane—is the leading female streamer on Twitch, a popular streaming platform for gamers. Pokimane spoke with Guy about garnering more than 20 million followers across several platforms, and how internet personalities can operate their brands like traditional businesses. 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. Pre-order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
Growing up in rural Northern California, Mike Radenbaugh hated biking to high school—it was a 16 mile slog; hilly and tiring. So he scrounged up a battery and a motor, rigged them to an old mountain bike and began cycling to school without breaking a sweat. When Mike's neighbors starting asking him to motorize their bikes, Rad Power Bikes was born. He eventually designed an eye-catching e-bike with fat tires and a throttle that could push any pedaler to 20mph. Today, Rad Power Bikes is the largest e-bike brand in the U.S., and has barely been able to keep up with demand since the pandemic began.Pre-order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis
KiwiCo delivers science and arts projects to kids on a monthly basis. Sandra Oh Lin founded the company nine years ago, and her team has scrambled to meet demand during the pandemic. 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.
COVID-19's impact on the seafood industry hit Luke Holden and Ben Conniff hard; in March they closed their restaurants and laid off 300 employees. Since then, Luke's Lobster has been able to stay afloat by upstarting an e-commerce website, but their focus remains on sustaining the local seafood economy of Maine. 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.
One night in 1978, for fun, Sandy Chilewich and her friend, Kathy Moskal, tried bleaching their black cotton shoes, and dyeing them a new color. They were just fooling around in their Manhattan loft, but that experiment sparked the idea for Hue, a line of colorful shoes, stockings, tights, and accessories. It also launched Sandy on a 40-plus year career as a designer and entrepreneur. After selling Hue in 1991, Sandy built up her current, eponymous business based on an innovative design for placemats and other household items made from woven vinyl.
Despite the economic crisis, Wayfair has seen an 84 percent sales spike, leading them to profitability during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine have also dealt with unexpected challenges, from hundreds of layoffs in February to employee-staged protests outside Wayfair's office in June. 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.
Rinse is a laundry and dry-cleaning app started by college friends Ajay Prakash and James Joun in 2013. Since March, Rinse's dry cleaning service has seen a drop in orders, but their laundry arm has remained steady, allowing them to avoid layoffs during the COVID-19 crisis. 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.
After selling their first small business and shuttering their second, former college roommates Niraj Shah and Steve Conine thought about getting "normal" jobs. But in the early 2000s, they stumbled across an unexpected trend: people were buying furniture online to get a wider selection. Within a few years, Niraj and Steve launched 250 different websites, selling everything from barstools to birdhouses. Eventually, they consolidated these sites into one giant brand: Wayfair. The company now carries more than 14 million items for and last year brought in more than $9 billion.
Zocdoc: Oliver Kharraz

Zocdoc: Oliver Kharraz

2020-08-1701:08:175

In 2007, three friends set out to address a common frustration: the long waits and scheduling hassles of booking a doctor's appointment. But soon after launching their online scheduling platform Zocdoc, Oliver Kharraz, Cyrus Massoumi and Nick Ganju ran into a classic chicken-and-egg problem: they had to show potential patients that doctors were available for bookings, while frantically convincing reluctant doctors to sign up. The company solved this challenge and started to grow, but then faced an even bigger hurdle: an identity crisis over its business model, which caused a major rift between its partners. Now Zocdoc is going through another transformation: offering video appointments in the age of COVID-19.
Samantha Bee, the host of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, has been filming her show from her backyard in upstate New York since March. While Samantha remains unsure about returning to the studio, she's optimistic that her team will continue producing a broadcast-quality show remotely. 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.
In the early stages of the lockdown, Airbnb was in a freefall: it lost 80 percent of its business and laid off a quarter of its staff. But CEO Brian Chesky tells Guy that as people start to travel again—in cars, and closer to home—the company is beginning to recover. 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.
Briogeo: Nancy Twine

Briogeo: Nancy Twine

2020-08-1001:12:393

In 2010, a tragic personal event changed the trajectory of Nancy Twine's life. Suddenly, her promising job on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs no longer seemed fulfilling; she wanted something more. Drawing inspiration from the homemade hair treatments she used to make with her mom, Nancy decided to create a line of shampoos and conditioners that catered to all textures of hair without using harmful additives. But as an African American entrepreneur pitching beauty products to white, male investors, she had a tough time raising money. Finally in 2013, with an investment of $100K, Nancy launched Briogeo, eventually landed it in Sephora, and—even in the midst of an economic crisis—is expecting it to do $40M in sales this year.
Guy speaks with Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of DreamBox, an online math learning program for K-8 students. The platform has added two million new users during the lockdown, but that rapid growth has created "stretch marks" and new challenges for leadership. 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.
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Comments (348)

ID10149328

Loved this piece on Khan Academy! Sal got me through undergraduate chemistry, physics and advanced math courses as a science major ten years ago while I was at the UW (Seattle). This free resource allowed me to get through coursework I REALLY struggled with at the time, and played a big part in me eventually starting a career as a civil engineer. I’m confident his creation will help now students through this trying time away from the physical classroom.

Sep 28th
Reply

Cristi D

Such a funny guy with a fresh different story! Since me and my son have used Khan Academy for learning a few new things, Sal's story was interesting and inspiring.

Sep 24th
Reply

Stephanie Yu

David's voice sounds kind of like David Dobrik

Sep 22nd
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Richard Ottley

awesome story 😊

Sep 21st
Reply

Richard Ottley

great story ☺️

Sep 21st
Reply

sahragard academy

I cant stop listening to this amazing podcast. Lots of love and appreciation...

Sep 19th
Reply

upendar kattal

Guy is not a simp

Sep 11th
Reply

xa

Sorry but she literally got the huge following just by being an attractive female gamer. She makes millions from random guys donating thousands of dollars just so she says their name.

Sep 10th
Reply

Mustafa Thunder

by far the most inspiring, entertaining episode I have heard not just on this podcast but on any entrepreneurship podcast. it is worth listening to every week, if not every day, once.

Sep 6th
Reply (4)

Marina B.

Amazing one !

Sep 5th
Reply

Simon Anderssen

everything given away in the intro.

Jul 19th
Reply

Candyce Bennett

Really enjoyed this episode. My family LOVES the Beyond Burgers, however they are kinda pricey so we only buy them when our grocery store has a BOGO. Looking forward to trying some of your other products.

Jul 18th
Reply

Jeannie

this is hands down, my favorite episode

Jul 13th
Reply

Kamilah Amica

I really like this one.

Jul 10th
Reply

Keyo Chali

my favorite podcast for business! I am starting a startup and I need this podcast so much, like more than anything else.

Jun 21st
Reply (1)

Arihant Dugar

Can anyone recommend which ones are the best ones here?

Jun 9th
Reply (2)

Emmanuel Chukwu

A lot of talking points in this episode. Good job overall.

Jun 4th
Reply

CANAL CRISTO VIENE. TV Central

Canal Cristo viene.tv

May 26th
Reply

Cristi D

Interesting but really short. Maybe too short for the big story. It deserved a longer post

May 26th
Reply

Cristi D

Inspiring story that any (business) woman will love! Life, business cycles, reality, all inter-mingling in a life going full circle. Not a Unicorn fairy tale, just real entrepreneurship story.

May 24th
Reply
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