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How I Built This with Guy Raz
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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 https://www.guyraz.com/
342 Episodes
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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:http://summit.npr.org
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:http://summit.npr.org
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:http://summit.npr.org
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:http://summit.npr.org
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:http://summit.npr.org
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:http://summit.npr.org
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

2021-04-1201:25:438

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:http://summit.npr.org
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 last year traffic and sales surged. CEO and co-founder Ethan Diamond talks with Guy about launching a virtual concert space in the pandemic and why the company started Bandcamp Friday, a monthly event where all processing fees are waived and all funds go directly to the artists. 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.
Food52: Amanda Hesser

Food52: Amanda Hesser

2021-04-0501:33:144

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 had landed a book deal and one of the most coveted jobs in journalism: writing about food for the New York Times. But over time she grew restless, and in 2008, gave up that dream job—and the stability that went with it—to become an entrepreneur. When her first business fizzled out, Amanda took a financial risk by pivoting again to launch a new company: Food52. Part food blog, part e-commerce site for all things kitchen and home, Food52 is now valued at roughly $100 million and achieved profitability for the first time in 2020—during the pandemic.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:http://summit.npr.org
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 Hint invested in e-commerce during the pandemic, and offers her advice for entrepreneurs trying to break into saturated market spaces like the beverage industry. 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.
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 or a bassinet. Bob was itching to start his own venture, so in 2006, with the help of his wife Lauren, he launched UPPAbaby and started selling a European-style stroller at an "entry-level luxury" price. As a dad himself, Bob guessed that other dads would be intrigued by UPPAbaby's design; meanwhile, big-name celebrities started to use the stroller, and photos of them pushing it helped accelerate sales. The brand grew quickly, and 15 years after its launch, UPPAbaby employs over 100 people and sells strollers in more than 50 countries.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:http://summit.npr.org
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 why she decided to serve Taiwanese food and the pros and cons of opening a restaurant 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 turbulent times.
Hinge: Justin McLeod

Hinge: Justin McLeod

2021-03-2201:34:2910

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 into a streamlined swiping platform that yielded mixed results: good dates, bad hookups, mismatched swipes, and missed opportunities. Disappointed with this outcome and inspired by a sudden twist in his own love life, Justin redesigned Hinge as an app for finding meaningful relationships, with the tag line "designed to be deleted." Today, Hinge is owned by Match Group and is one of the most popular dating apps in the U.S.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:http://summit.npr.org
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 the need for equal coverage of women's sports. 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.
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 Veronica was making her own almond flour tortillas at home and selling them at a CrossFit gym that the Garza family had launched in Laredo. The grain-free tortillas were a hit, and by 2016, Siete Family Foods products were being sold in Whole Foods Markets across the country. Today, Veronica and Miguel head the company with the help of the whole family, and Siete has become one of the fastest-growing Mexican-American food brands in the U.S.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:http://summit.npr.org
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 her forecast for the wedding industry this year and how to get more girls interested in entrepreneurship. 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.
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 classes, and was soon hawking a self-published guidebook out of his car. Eventually, he started leading minibus tours and hosting a travel show on Public TV, steadily growing his business even though he was giving away most of his content. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, his no-frills approach to travel has persisted as a powerful brand, with 70 guidebooks, an ever-popular travel show, and—in 2019—an annual revenue of $100 million. For more information on the HIBT Fellowship visit: https://summit.npr.org/fellows
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 about 75 million dollars for a majority stake in Morning Brew. Alex and Austin talk to Guy about the organic unpaid marketing they relied on in college to build up their readership, and they predict shifts in how we will consume news in the next five years. 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.
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—eventually landed her the backing to pursue her original idea, and the chance to take on software industry titans like Adobe and Microsoft. Today, Melanie's online design platform Canva is valued at $6 billion, joining the list of Australia's "unicorn" companies.For more information on the HIBT Fellowship visit: https://npr.org/fellows
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Comments (379)

Salvin Rodrigues

quite empowering

Apr 30th
Reply

Khalid Shamlan

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

Apr 23rd
Reply

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
Reply

Студент Большой

Nice episode!

Apr 20th
Reply

Студент Большой

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

Apr 20th
Reply

daniel ekhorugue

F*ck robinhood

Apr 13th
Reply

Thais Nascimento

amazing 🤯🥺🥺🥺❤️

Feb 22nd
Reply

Vera

music at intro is too loud.

Feb 18th
Reply

Thais Nascimento

inspiring af

Feb 7th
Reply

Thais Nascimento

damn, this was amazing! 🤯🥰🥰🥰

Feb 6th
Reply

Thais Nascimento

really inspiring 😭

Feb 1st
Reply

Weys - ms

So much inspiring. Thank you for this cool podcast!

Jan 28th
Reply

DeepLearning

wow what a great episode..

Jan 23rd
Reply

Emerson Barth

Mesmerizing

Jan 12th
Reply

Michael Lan

he's a legend ,two great companies

Jan 12th
Reply

Massoud Mohammadi

جناب آقای خان، شما واقعا انسانی بزرگی هستید. تمام دنیا از برکت ایده خلاقانه شما بصورت رایگان از خدمات آموزشی بهره مند شده است. دوستتان داریم. مسعود از افغانستان🇦🇫

Jan 10th
Reply

Paula Sun

looking forward to a n interview with Elon Musk. how he built Tesla, spaceX and ,the boring company

Jan 8th
Reply

DeepLearning

omg she has some of the wisest responses I've heard on this podcast..

Jan 7th
Reply

Kumar B M

nice interview

Jan 3rd
Reply

yasamin taherian

how can we find the transcript?

Dec 10th
Reply
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