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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.
232 Episodes
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In 2000, Luis von Ahn was starting his PhD in computer science when he attended a talk and happened to learn about one of Yahoo's biggest problems: automated bots were signing up for millions of free Yahoo email accounts, and generating tons of spam. Luis' idea to solve this problem became CAPTCHA, the squiggly letters we type into a website to prove we're human. He gave away that idea for free, but years later, that same idea had evolved into a new way to monetize language learning on the web, and became Duolingo. Today, the popular app is valued at $1.5 billion, and is seeing a big spike in growth while people are confined to their homes.
When Sarah LaFleur started M.M.LaFleur, she wanted to help women dress efficiently and comfortably for the office. Now that most of her customers are working from home, Sarah has to rethink her brand and her marketing to stay relevant. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating these turbulent times.
When Tony Xu started DoorDash in 2013, he wanted to help local restaurants stay afloat by introducing them to online delivery. Today, his quest remains the same, now that DoorDash has become an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marcia Kilgore's footwear brand, FitFlop, is experiencing a downturn in sales as retail stores stay closed. However, Beauty Pie – her direct-to-consumer cosmetics brand – is thriving as the beauty industry goes digital. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating these turbulent times.
Jo Loves: Jo Malone CBE

Jo Loves: Jo Malone CBE

2020-05-1801:24:117

As a girl in 1970s London, Jo Malone learned how to make face creams by going to work with her mom at a private skin care clinic. By the time she was in her 20's, Jo was running her own skin care and cosmetics business, which eventually grew to include bath oils, scented candles, and fragrances under the brand Jo Malone London. Jo sold the brand to Estée Lauder in 1999 and then left the business after a life-changing diagnosis. She now has a fragrance company called Jo Loves, where she innovates with new kinds of scents and—in the present crisis—is considering and new ways to present them.
When Tobias Lütke started Shopify, he wanted to empower merchants to start small and build resilience. Tobi spoke with Guy about the relevance of those principles in 2020, as he explains the rise of Shopify sign-ups during the pandemic. Jon Stein spoke with Guy about starting Betterment in the wake of the 2008 recession, and why this economic downturn could be the perfect time to start a company. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating these turbulent times.
Samin Nosrat, the author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, talks with Guy about unintentionally writing the ultimate quarantine cookbook, and how she's been inspired by the camaraderie among fellow home cooks. Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters and her daughter Fanny Singer tell Guy some tips for growing a victory garden and helping local farmers stay in business. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating these turbulent times.
Impossible Foods: Pat Brown

Impossible Foods: Pat Brown

2020-05-1101:05:0012

When he was nearly 60, Pat Brown left a dream job to pursue an ambitious mission: to create delicious meat from plants. As a biochemist, he'd become alarmed at the destructive impact of meat production on the environment, so he set out to make a burger so juicy and flavorful that even meat-lovers would crave it. After some painstaking research, Pat's team created the Impossible Burger, and famous chefs started to feature it in their restaurants. In 2019, the Impossible Whopper launched at Burger King, and today Pat's company, Impossible Foods, is valued at nearly $4 billion.
Slack's co-founder Stewart Butterfield wonders what the future of work will look like for his 12 million customers. Springfree Trampoline's co-founder Steve Holmes says the company has seen a 300 percent increase in demand for its products. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating these turbulent times.
Since March, only five of Milk Bar's 18 locations have been up and running, but founder Christina Tosi tells Guy she is determined to bring the joy of baking to the doorsteps of family, friends, and healthcare workers. Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford have donated more than 3 million Clif Bars to doctors and nurses during the COVID-19 crisis. They tell Guy about the importance of morale when running an essential business during a 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 these turbulent times.
Cotopaxi: Davis Smith

Cotopaxi: Davis Smith

2020-05-0401:07:297

By his mid-30's, Davis Smith had co-founded two businesses. The first ended well, but the second was such a disappointment that he wondered if he should even bother trying again. But he did. In 2014, he launched Cotopaxi, an outdoor gear company with two fluffy llamas as mascots and an expressed mission to do good in the world. The brand is now making tens of millions of dollars a year, and Davis hopes that the current pandemic will not slow its ambitions to grow and to give back generously.
When chef José Andrés isn't running Michelin-starred restaurants, he's feeding the masses through World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit he founded that brings food to people during humanitarian crises. The COVID-19 crisis has shut down his restaurants indefinitely, but José is busier than ever leading the relief efforts of World Central Kitchen, which has served more than 3 million people to date. José talked to Guy as part of our How I Built Resilience series: weekly online conversations with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating these turbulent times.
Fitbit: James Park

Fitbit: James Park

2020-04-2701:05:2514

In 2006, James Park had what he describes as a "lightning bolt" moment when he first used a Nintendo Wii. Fascinated by its motion-tracking controller, James wondered if you could take the technology out of the living room and into the streets. Three years later, he and co-founder Eric Friedman launched the Fitbit Tracker, which allowed users to track their steps and compare progress with others. Sales took off, and Fitbit dominated the wearables market until the Apple Watch came along, forcing James and Eric to re-imagine the brand. Today, against a cloudy economic backdrop, James hopes Fitbit can grow into its role as a health and wellness service.
Each week, Guy is hosting online conversations with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating these turbulent times. Today's conversation is with Simon Sinek, whose books about business — including "Start with Why," and "The Infinite Game" — offer guidance to founders that is especially timely right now.
On the first day of their Vegas vacation in 2012, Rich and Vicki Fulop sat down on their hotel bed and immediately had the same thought: "These sheets are really nice!" The fabric was the perfect blend of cool, crisp, and soft, but the sheets turned out to be way too expensive to buy. So, Vicki and Rich wondered if it was possible to make high-end linen at reasonable prices; linen that would appeal to a younger market, "not just our moms." After many stumbles, they built Brooklinen into a $100 million brand, and are hopeful they can withstand today's economic turbulence.
Each week, Guy will be hosting brief online conversations with founders and members of the How I Built This community about how they're navigating these uncertain times. This past week, Guy spoke with two former guests: David Neeleman of JetBlue Airways, and Tristan Walker of Walker & Company. David described how Azul Airlines, his Brazil-based company, has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and Tristan explained how he's innovating from home.
Nicolas Jammet and Jonathan Neman met at Georgetown University in 2003 and quickly bonded over their frustration at the lack of healthy food on campus. So during their senior year, along with a third friend, Nathaniel Ru, they decided to open a 500 square-foot restaurant serving fresh salads made with organic produce. They had no idea what they were doing and almost ran out of money five months in. But today, Sweetgreen has over 100 locations, and is using new technology to re-imagine the fast-casual model, even as it faces unprecedented challenges from the coronavirus crisis.
Each week, Guy will be hosting brief online conversations with founders and members of the How I Built This community about how they're navigating these uncertain times. This past Friday, Guy spoke with Susan Griffin-Black, founder of EO Products. Susan's company has made a full pivot by only producing hand sanitizer and hand soap from their facilities in San Rafael, California. As she continues to run her business, Susan told Guy about protecting her employees while trying to make enough hand sanitizer for her community and frontline workers.
S'well: Sarah Kauss

S'well: Sarah Kauss

2020-04-0601:07:264

In 2009, Sarah Kauss had a well-paying job in real estate development, but she was itching to do something more. On a hike in Tucson with her mom, she got an idea for a business while swigging warm water from a metal thermos: why not design a water bottle that kept cold things cold and hot things hot, but was also beautiful to look at? Just six years after launch, S'well reportedly made $100 million; but today, Sarah is especially focused on how the brand can help eliminate plastic waste around the world.
Each week, Guy will be hosting brief online conversations with founders and members of the How I Built This community about how they're navigating these uncertain times. This past Friday, Guy spoke with Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Jeni's company battled a Listeria outbreak in 2015 that almost broke her business, but she bounced back stronger than ever and is confident her company will survive this crisis, too.
Ken Grossman was experimenting with beer before he was old enough to buy it. As a high school student in the late 1960s, he bought his first home brewing kit and mixed the ingredients in a bucket, hiding his early batches from his mother. About ten years later, before most Americans knew what craft beer was, Ken decided to build a brewery in Chico, California. With $50,000, a few piles of scrap metal and some hand-me-down dairy tanks, Ken and his partner built Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and crafted a beer with a distinctive, hoppy bitterness. Today, as the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – like so many other businesses – faces unprecedented challenges due to the Coronavirus crisis.
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Comments (325)

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

upendar kattal

really inspiring

May 18th
Reply

Utkarsh Verma

Great episode !

May 17th
Reply

Ifedayo Ajibola

This was an emotional episode for me. Entrepreneurship is hard, but it's even harder when you are a person of colour. One can only imagine how hard it would be to build a scalable business from the ground up in less developed climes like Africa.

May 15th
Reply (1)

kagimub

this is mind-blowing. I love the history of people who have made it

May 11th
Reply

Студент Большой

53:17 that glitch scared the sht out of me!!!

May 11th
Reply

Cristi D

This... Is... Fabulous! I highly recommend this interview

May 10th
Reply

Студент Большой

He's hilarious 😆

Apr 24th
Reply

Студент Большой

42:32 glitch

Apr 20th
Reply

Stunning Saryaal

how to find new live shows going on plz tell i m new here

Apr 18th
Reply (5)

Студент Большой

Damn, that sound at 36:54. I was listening through headphones and I thought it was a wolf howl. It scared me a lot 😂

Apr 14th
Reply

Mustafa Thunder

that first 15 minutes ... it felt like a real good class. scary vs. dangerous how he gave up a job already lucrative and pursued sth that he felt would fulfill him ... and how that turned out. this episode is a must listen!

Apr 10th
Reply (1)

Студент Большой

Awesome!

Apr 6th
Reply

Tom Deltz

xss brf. b.vttr Berger brf. 4. bv, z CBC. b7u is. . u zdx. z CB. by nun by. bgg. 6. 8. nunu. NcNcunn. brb. nunn Nunn. vfc. 3 x zzz. bub. 7. , . cynf u we. BBC cc c bubAf. NBC. zdx. b. NBC. , . nhi cc cc. 87 xss. b.vn. no. n no. 6. the bv. zdx, zdx. zech. xss

Mar 24th
Reply (1)

Mustafa Thunder

luck happens to those who are active. you cannot sit idly and complain about why nothing happens to you. start moving. start looking for new horizons ... couldn't agree more. also, don't be afraid of trying. read and learn the theory, but also explore and push back the frontiers.

Mar 15th
Reply

Hassan Rasmi

he's my hero. a huge inspiration.

Mar 10th
Reply

Mustafa Thunder

I think I can make better bars than this proverbial bitter pill to swallow ... and that is how a personal need led to a big business.

Mar 5th
Reply

Mustafa Thunder

to be an entrepreneur, having a business degree is not really a necessity. if you are connected to your idea/ product on a deep level, and if you really truly believe in it, the rest will take care of itself. Spanx story was an inspiring one.

Mar 5th
Reply
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