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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.
170 Episodes
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In 1983, two hippie farmers decided to sell homemade organic yogurt to help raise money for their educational farm in New Hampshire. As the enterprise grew into a business, it faced one near-death experience after another, but it never quite died. In fact it grew — into one of the most popular yogurt brands in the US. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Carin Luna-Ostaseski, who became the first American woman to start a Scotch whisky company after she created her own blend called SIA Scotch.
After high school, Marcia Kilgore moved to New York City with $300 in her pocket and no real plan. One step at a time, she became a successful serial entrepreneur. First, she used her high school bodybuilding experience to find work as a personal trainer. Then she taught herself to give facials, and eventually started her own spa and skincare line, Bliss. The spa became so popular that it was booked months in advance with a list of celebrity clientele. After selling her shares in Bliss, Marcia went on to start four new successful companies: Soap & Glory, FitFlop, Soaper Duper, and Beauty Pie. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Emma Cohen, who explains how she helped develop and market The Final Straw, a collapsible metal drinking straw.
Shopify: Tobias Lütke

Shopify: Tobias Lütke

2019-08-0501:07:1449

In 2004, German programmer Tobias Lütke was living in Ottawa with his girlfriend. An avid snowboarder, he wanted to launch an online snowboard shop, but found the e-commerce software available at the time to be clunky and expensive. So he decided to write his own e-commerce software. After he launched his online snowboard business, called Snowdevil, other online merchants were so impressed with what he built that they started asking to license Tobi's software to run their own stores. Tobi and his co-founder realized that software had more potential than snowboards, so they launched the e-commerce platform Shopify in 2006. Since then, it has grown into a publicly-traded company with over 4,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," after Barb Heilman invented a device that easily releases child car seat buckles, she started a business with her daughter Becca Davison called Unbuckle Me.
Angie and Dan Bastian weren't trying to disrupt an industry or build a massive company – they just wanted to put aside some money for their kids' college fund. In 2001, Dan stumbled across an internet ad touting kettle corn as a lucrative side-business, so he and Angie decided to take the plunge, investing $10,000 in equipment. At first, they popped kettle corn in front of local supermarkets in the Twin Cities and at Minnesota Vikings games. Eventually, they moved indoors to Trader Joe's, Target, and Costco – and got a crash course in how to run a business along the way. Angie's Kettle Corn eventually took on a bold new name: BOOMCHICKAPOP. And in 2017, the company was acquired for a reported $250 million. Recorded live in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dyson: James Dyson

Dyson: James Dyson

2019-07-2200:45:4930

In 1979, James Dyson had an idea for a new vacuum cleaner — one that didn't use bags. It took him five years to perfect the design, building more than 5,000 prototypes in his backyard shed. He then tried to convince the big vacuum brands to license his invention, but most wouldn't even take his calls. Eventually, he started his own company. Today, Dyson is one of the best-selling vacuum brands in the world, and James Dyson is a billionaire. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with television producer Mike Sorrentino, who created an iPhone case called EyePatch that cleans and protects the phone's camera.
In the early 1990s, Susan Griffin-Black was working for Esprit in San Francisco. On a business trip to London, she walked into a Covent Garden apothecary shop, picked up a bottle of lavender oil and took a whiff. The aroma — "like being in a beautiful garden" — literally changed her life. That was the inspiration to develop her own line of essential oil products. For 15 years, she and her husband and co-founder Brad Black barely scraped by, but the business eventually thrived. And though their marriage ultimately ended, their partnership continues. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," Lia Heifetz of Barnacle Foods describes how she and her partners turned Alaskan bull kelp into pickles and salsa.
Teach For America: Wendy Kopp

Teach For America: Wendy Kopp

2019-07-0800:46:0023

In 1989, college senior Wendy Kopp was trying to figure out how to improve public education in the US. For her senior thesis, she proposed creating a national teaching corps that would recruit recent college grads to teach in needy schools. One year later, she launched the nonprofit, Teach for America. Today, TFA has close to 60,000 alumni and continues to place thousands of teachers across the country. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with 19-year-old CEO Abby Kircher who turned a peanut butter obsession into Abby's Better Nut Butter.
Dave's Killer Bread: Dave Dahl

Dave's Killer Bread: Dave Dahl

2019-07-0101:09:0828

Dave Dahl's entrepreneurial journey began in prison. In 1987, he was addicted to drugs and incarcerated for home burglary. For 15 years he bounced from one sentence to the next. But in the mid-2000s, Dave returned to his family bakery where he was inspired to make bread – organic, nutty, and slightly sweet. He sold the loaves at farmers markets and shared his story of recovery on the package – a branding decision that attracted fans and media attention. In 2015, the Dahl family sold the business for $275 million dollars. Today, Dave's Killer Bread sells over a dozen types of bread in grocery stores nationwide. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," armpit entrepreneurs Jason and Erica Feucht tell us how they turned whiskey and vodka into the natural deodorant Pit Liquor.
Yelp: Jeremy Stoppelman

Yelp: Jeremy Stoppelman

2019-06-2401:02:0338

In 2004, two former Paypal engineers, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russ Simmons, were spit-balling new internet ideas. Out of their brainstorm came a site where you would email your friends asking for local business recommendations. The launch was a flop, but they discovered that people seemed to enjoy writing reviews not just for friends, but for the general public. Fifteen years later, Yelp is a publicly traded company with more than 4,000 employees and over 140 million monthly visitors. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," Liz Bales explains how putting cat food inside plastic mice became her full-time business and why it could revolutionize the way humans feed their cats.
Chesapeake Bay Candle: Mei Xu

Chesapeake Bay Candle: Mei Xu

2019-06-1700:44:5022

Twenty-five years ago, after Mei Xu emigrated from China to the U.S., she loved going to Bloomingdale's to gaze at their housewares. She eventually started making candles in her basement with Campbell's Soup cans, an experiment that led to the multi-million dollar company Chesapeake Bay Candle. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz, who turned up-cycled beer grain into a snack bar called ReGrained.
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Comments (222)

Corey McCoy

what's up with the constant skipping almost every episode....no other podcast on this platform does that. it's annoying

Aug 6th
Reply

Trinity  miller

Corey McCoy Yes, I agree, really annoying!

Aug 7th
Reply

Rolando Bonilla

I just skip the very repetitive and obvious "luck or hard work" question, and it gets much better.

Aug 5th
Reply

Gabriel

Rolando Bonilla yes, skipping those questions is good!

Aug 5th
Reply

Suroosh Khosh

her voice is so soothing

Aug 2nd
Reply

Noah

Suroosh Khosh yes! really great!

Aug 2nd
Reply

Raol F

James dyson, my hero

Jul 30th
Reply

Anne Chung

So touched and inspired by the Soul Cycle episode!😍

Jul 23rd
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Heather Morrison

Anne Chung really inspiring!

Jul 24th
Reply

Sean Armstrong

Guy, do an interview with a labor service type of company

Jul 20th
Reply

pootzko io

Because he didn't like capitalism... *drumroll* ...he opened a company. lol

Jul 18th
Reply

boson96

BuzzFeed = Cancer. These hypocrites are quick to call anything that they disagree with as a conspiracy theory, but they regularly publish verifiable fake news.

Jul 6th
Reply

Sara Maleki

loved it! thankssss

Jul 5th
Reply

Suzanne Gowdie

Mine ran all the way thru, but stopped a couple of times. Great episode

Jul 3rd
Reply

Lukas Parker

When Logic spoke of his depression and his anxiety and how one thought lead to another and listening to him flow in many directions had me like “DAMN!”. So many of us who are building have the struggle and that is definitely ‘truth be told’.

Jul 2nd
Reply

Sara Maleki

loved it💛💛💛

Jun 30th
Reply

Sara Maleki

amazing! thanks💛

Jun 28th
Reply

Chris Toler

type your it t

Jun 19th
Reply

Chris Toler

type your it t

Jun 19th
Reply

Ka Rin

Very arrogant and incredibly bitter... Lost the interest to continue even though the companies interested me.

Jun 14th
Reply

Niketmistry7

This was the best live episode EVER!!!!!

Jun 13th
Reply

Suzanne Gowdie

Great story. I love how she kept going one small step at a time.

Jun 7th
Reply

Katriel Pritts

I'm curious where Myro came from. They have a great operation it seems like, great concept and product design, but they just popped up it seems like! I'd love to learn more, Guy. Thanks!

Jun 7th
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Teresa Ellis

I didn't realize how big a footprint farm animals had. I am going to recommit to eating a lot less meat. Justifying any behavior isn't pretty. My son can't go vegan or vegetarian because of allergies and food issues, but I can.

Jun 6th
Reply

SANJAY GORA

Teresa Ellis great

Jun 9th
Reply
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