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How I Built This with Guy Raz

Author: Guy Raz | Wondery

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Guy Raz interviews the world’s best-known entrepreneurs to learn how they built their iconic brands. In each episode, founders reveal deep, intimate moments of doubt and failure, and share insights on their eventual success. How I Built This is a master-class on innovation, creativity, leadership and how to navigate challenges of all kinds.

New episodes on Mondays and Thursdays for free. Listen 1-week early and to all episodes ad-free with Wondery+ or Amazon Music with a Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.

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521 Episodes
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Drive. Docs. Chrome. Maps. Gmail. Android. What do these products have in common? Of course, they’re all Google, but what you may not know is that they all came to fruition under the management of the same person: Sundar Pichai. This track record in product development ultimately landed Sundar the CEO role at one of the biggest, most innovative companies in the world.  This week on How I Built This Lab, Sundar reflects on the unique journey that led him to Google, and the values that inspire and drive his leadership today. He and Guy also discuss Google’s recent advances in artificial intelligence, and how the company is reimagining the workplace as offices across the globe reopen.This episode was produced by Carla Esteves, with music by Ramtin Arablouei.Edited by John Isabella.Our audio engineer was Neal Rauch.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In the early 1990’s, Tim League spent $50,000 in savings to lease an abandoned movie theater on the wrong side of the tracks—a shaky experiment that eventually grew into a thriving national chain. As Tim and his wife Karrie built theaters in Austin and beyond, they made a name for themselves by offering dinner with the movie, creative pairings (like sake with Godzilla), and roadshows where movie-goers could watch Deliverance in canoes, or Rocky on the famous steps in Philly. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema now has 40 locations across the country and a revenue of over $300 million, but there have been plenty of bruises along the way: a failed first theater, a fractious lawsuit with business partners, and a swan dive into the red during the pandemic.This episode was produced by Carla Esteves, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Carla Esteves.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Davis Smith has spent the last nine years building the outdoor gear and clothing brand, Cotopaxi. The company’s slogan, Gear for Good, encapsulates everything about the way they do business, from using recycled and remnant materials to donating a portion of their revenue to nonprofits that fight poverty. It’s a story that Davis told when he was first on How I Built This in 2020.This week on How I Built This Lab, Davis returns to give Guy an update on how Cotopaxi weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioned to a remote-first workplace. Plus, why Davis is stepping down from his role as CEO to pursue another passion: serving his church for three years as a mission leader in Brazil. This episode was produced by Chris Maccini and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Katherine Silva.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
For Monique Rodriguez, hair care was a hobby; she never thought she could build a business. In fact, after high school, Monique followed her mother’s advice to find a solid, recession-proof career, and she went into nursing. However, Monique realized it was not for her, and she pursued side gigs selling everything from Mary Kay to cable subscriptions. But when a devastating loss turned Monique’s world upside down, she found joy in her hobby. What started as Monique’s homegrown haircare experiments posted on Instagram eventually became Mielle Organics, a line of products made for textured hair with natural and organic ingredients. Educating herself through internet research, going to trade shows and conferences, and learning from some big mistakes, Monique and her husband Melvin turned her hobby into a massive global haircare and beauty brand.This episode was produced by Casey Herman, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Andrea Bruce, with research help from Alex Cheng.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Pricey down payments have put homeownership out of reach for many Americans, especially those who don’t have access to intergenerational wealth. This issue is particularly acute in cities, where the salaries of essential workers like educators, healthcare professionals, and municipal service providers haven’t kept pace with skyrocketing home values.  An introductory finance course got Alex Lofton thinking about his own experience with this issue — and creative ways to address it. In 2015, he and two co-founders launched Landed, a for-profit company that offers down payment assistance in exchange for a share in a home’s eventual appreciation.This week on How I Built This Lab, Alex talks with Guy about his company’s work to help more Americans build wealth by purchasing homes. Alex also recounts how working for the Obama for America campaign in 2008 influenced his approach to organizational leadership, plus he and Guy discuss the potential consequences of capitalism unchecked. This episode was produced by Sam Paulson and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Katherine Silva.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Hinge: Justin McLeod (2021)

Hinge: Justin McLeod (2021)

2023-05-0801:37:31

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.This episode was produced by J.C. Howard, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Daryth Gayles.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
What would it take to build America’s first solar-powered town? What about a town that could withstand a direct hit from a hurricane? In the early 2000s, Syd Kitson, a former NFL football player and real estate developer, set out to do both at the same time. The result was a community in southwest Florida called Babcock Ranch.This week on How I Built This Lab, Guy talks with Syd about how he negotiated the purchase of a 91,000 acre parcel of land, conserved 80% as a nature preserve, and developed the remainder into an innovative planned community. Plus, how advance planning enabled Babcock Ranch to survive Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm in 2022, with minimal damage.This episode was produced by Chris Maccini and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was James Willetts.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
When Elon Musk posted a video of himself arriving at Twitter HQ carrying a white sink along with the message “let that sink in!” It marked the end of a dramatic takeover. Musk had gone from Twitter critic to “Chief Twit” in the space of just a few months but his arrival didn’t put an end to questions about his motives. Musk had earned a reputation as a business maverick. From PayPal to Tesla to SpaceX, his name was synonymous with big, earth-shattering ideas. So, what did he want with a social media platform? And was this all really in the name of free speech...or was this all in the name of Elon Musk? From Wondery, the makers of WeCrashed and In God We Lust, comes the wild story of how the richest man alive took charge of the world’s “digital public square.”Listen to Flipping the Bird: Wondery.fm/FTB_HIBTSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Suitsupply: Fokke de Jong

Suitsupply: Fokke de Jong

2023-05-0101:21:19

When Fokke de Jong started selling suits out of his dorm room in Amsterdam in the late 90's, he wasn’t planning on becoming the next Tom Ford—he just wanted to supply luxury suits at an affordable price. But he was so successful that around 2000, Suitsupply went from his side hustle to his full-time gig. Fokke sourced the best fabrics and production in Italy, and grew the business by selling his wares online long before that was the norm. Suitsupply thrived on Fokke's unorthodox ideas, like when he opened his first physical shop by the side of a highway, or when he goaded competition into suing him over ads. By 2011, Suitsupply had grown beyond Holland, opening stores in cities like London, Milan, and New York. Today, they have over 150 locations worldwide.This episode was produced by J.C. Howard, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Casey Herman, with research help from Sam Paulson.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Lily Hevesh never could have imagined that the videos of domino tricks she started posting for fun at 10 years old would eventually evolve into a thriving business.Fast forward to today and Lily’s YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has almost 4 million subscribers. Her videos, which showcase the toppling of countless intricately designed domino setups, have more than a billion views and counting...This week on How I Built This Lab, Lily recalls her path to becoming one of the best-known domino artists in the world. Plus, more on Lily’s recent expansion beyond digital creation — launching her own line of dominoes and starting her own agency to take on large-scale domino projects. Also, Lily explains why she will prioritize her craft over business objectives as she looks to the future. This episode was produced by Sam Paulson and edited by John Isabella, with music by Sam Paulson and Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Neal Rauch.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Manduka: Peter Sterios

Manduka: Peter Sterios

2023-04-2401:15:291

Peter Sterios discovered yoga by accident when he was in college, and wound up—also by accident—launching a multimillion-dollar business around it. He used yoga to ease neck strain and loosen his hamstrings, but eventually became a serious practitioner and teacher, running his own studio in central California. In the late 1990’s, before the proliferation of yoga brands, Peter came across a mat that was thicker and more durable than any he’d seen. He anticipated there would be growing demand for quality yoga gear, and decided to take a risk: ordering $25,000-worth of mats to store in his garage and sell to yoga studios and students. Over the years, he grew the business by targeting prominent yoga teachers who became IRL influencers, effectively spreading the mat by spreading the mat. Despite early cash flow issues and many personal challenges, Peter helped grow Manduka into one of the best known yoga accessory brands in the U.S.This episode was produced by Alex Cheng, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Katherine Sypher.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Joe Laurienti, a former SpaceX and Blue Origin engineer, launched Ursa Major in 2015 with the idea that 3D printing could revolutionize the production of rocket engines.The timing was right: Russia had invaded Crimea the previous year. American sanctions and strained political relationships threatened the supply of Russian rocket engines, which the U.S. had relied on for space missions since the end of the Cold War. American companies like Ursa Major have now begun providing rocket engines for both government and private space endeavors. This week on How I Built This Lab, Joe talks with Guy about the journey of launching and scaling a multimillion dollar aerospace company. Plus, how Joe has dealt with the infamous “startup valley of death” and how Ursa Major’s engines are helping the U.S. catch up to Russia and China in the development of hypersonic weapons. This episode was produced by Chris Maccini and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Maggie Luthar.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In one of the most remarkable feats ever performed by a frozen dessert, Halo Top ice cream became the best-selling pint in America just six years after launch. Its founder Justin Woolverton was a frustrated lawyer who developed the recipe in his Cuisinart, mixing Stevia, egg whites and fruit into a low-calorie treat that tasted good enough to sell. Many recipes later—some runny, some rock-hard—Justin got the ice cream into stores; and soon, social media was flooded with images of people polishing off the 300-calorie pints. After outselling Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s in 2017, Halo Top’s charisma faded, and a slew of new competitors entered the field. In 2019, Justin sold the company for an undisclosed amount, and now enjoys his ice cream at a less frenetic pace. This episode was produced by Kerry Thompson, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Alex Cheng.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
It’s hard not to love cheese: feta, brie, gruyère, parmesan, pepper jack, mozzarella, asiago...it’s all delicious! But there’s a downside — cheese production is quite taxing on the environment, with dairy cows being one of the leading contributors to carbon emissions worldwide. That’s where Matt Gibson and Inja Radman step in. They’re the founders of New Culture, a company developing real dairy cheese, but without using cows or any other animal product. This week on How I Built This Lab, Matt and Inja discuss their innovative and sustainable approach to cheese-making, and the partnerships they’ve secured with major food distributors to roll out their product starting next year. Plus, we hear how Matt and Inja first connected on LinkedIn, deciding to launch a company together from across the world before ever meeting in person. This episode was produced by Carla Esteves and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Neal Rauch.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Ellen Latham would probably have been happy teaching classes at her popular fitness studio in south Florida until she turned ninety. After being fired from her dream job as a spa director, she’d found stability with her own small business, and began developing a workout program that incorporated strength and cardio for all fitness levels. But then, well into her fifties, Ellen was offered an unexpected opportunity for a second act beyond anything she had imagined. With two partners, she grew her workout concept into Orangetheory Fitness, a franchise that today has over 1,500 locations around the world. This episode was produced by Alex Cheng, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Sam Paulson.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
In 2016, Nuseir Yassin quit his cushy tech job to embark on a journey around the globe. The idea was simple: post a one-minute video every day for 1,000 days to show the world from his perspective. The execution, of course, was much more challenging...This week on How I Built This Lab, Nuseir recaps his experience building a worldwide following as the creator behind Nas Daily, and how Nas Company has since raised $23 million to build content creation services and software that bring people together. Plus, how Nuseir navigates the self-doubt tied to his Palestinian identity, and why he chooses to spotlight positive stories from around the world.  This episode was produced by Sam Paulson and edited by John Isabella, with music by Sam Paulson and Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Neal Rauch.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Twilio: Jeff Lawson

Twilio: Jeff Lawson

2023-04-0301:18:14

When Jeff Lawson co-founded Twilio in 2008, he had already been through a series of start-ups. Some succeeded, others fizzled out—but each provided insights that led him to build one of the most extensive communication platforms in business. Fueled by his frustration juggling customer calls while trying to run a surf and skate store in LA, Lawson realized he could use his coding skills and knowledge of cloud computing to help companies connect with customers. Twilio’s early communications technology quickly gained traction with developers at other start-ups like Uber, which used it to text riders that their car had arrived. Despite early skepticism from investors, Twilio eventually grew into a $4 billion business, with customers like Nike, Toyota, OpenAI, and Airbnb. This episode was produced by Kira Wakeam, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Sam Paulson.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
According to the 2022 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world needs to cut carbon emissions drastically to avoid the worst effects of global warming. But that’s not all. In addition to reducing emissions, we also need to remove 6 to 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by 2050. This week on How I Built This Lab, Guy talks with Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and CEO of Climeworks. They discuss how Jan and his team built the world’s largest direct air capture facility, which filters carbon dioxide from the air and stores it permanently underground. Plus, Jan’s optimistic vision of how humans can achieve the goal of reversing climate change.This episode was produced by Chris Maccini, with music by Ramtin Arablouei.Edited by John Isabella.Our audio engineer was Maggie Luthar.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Sun Bum: Tom Rinks

Sun Bum: Tom Rinks

2023-03-2701:22:162

Tom Rinks not only understands the art of branding, he can explain it with the passion and precision of a master teacher. In 2009, he came up with the look of Sun Bum sunscreen, drawing on influences as disparate as American surf culture, Scandinavian furniture, and Japanese streetwear. He then mashed them up into a brand represented by a stone-faced gorilla staring out from a woodgrain background. Within ten years, Sun Bum was acquired by SC Johnson at a reported valuation of $400 million. But even before that, Tom helped launch a wildly diverse range of brands, including a line of tequila, a series of Christian videos, and even the “Yo quiero Taco Bell” chihuahua campaign. All were huge successes, though it took a five-year legal battle for Tom to get paid for the Taco Bell mascot. This month, yet another brand he designed—Made by Dentists—launched in 1,800 Target stores across the U.S.This episode was produced by Casey Herman, with music by Ramtin ArabloueiEdited by Neva Grant, with research help from Katherine Sypher and Susannah Broun.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
It’s hard to miss a Slutty Vegan when you’re driving past one. No, we’re not talking about a person… We’re talking about a fast-casual burger chain — and a vegan one at that! Since launching Slutty Vegan in 2017, Pinky has seen her plant-based brand through several iterations: a ghost kitchen, then a food truck, then eventually several brick and mortar locations that continue to pop up across the east coast. And with a valuation of $100 million and expansion into other sectors, Pinky is only getting started... This week on How I Built This Lab, Pinky talks with Guy about her journey as a TV producer-turned-restaurateur, and how Slutty Vegan is a prime example of Seth Godin’s Purple Cow theory: companies must build things worth noticing into their products and services. Plus, Pinky reflects on her roots, sharing the valuable lessons about discipline and work ethic that she learned from her parents. This episode was produced by Carla Esteves and edited by John Isabella, with music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was Neal Rauch.You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
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Comments (442)

Shontay Turner

This show is so awesome!!!! There was something really special about this episode - thank you for an incredible interview & to Justin for telling his story. I'm fully inspired by the "what's stopping you?" line.....whew!

May 9th
Reply

Douglas Gallardo Jr

The luckiest founder story I've ever heard!

Apr 18th
Reply

Richard Odiamma

Hi, this podcast came highly recommended however, It would be nice to include in the title, what business type or industry each episode is addressing. New subscribers like me will struggle to figure out what to listen to first.

Apr 6th
Reply

Douglas Gallardo Jr

Guy really has to drag the story out, but it's very interesting.

Mar 8th
Reply

Douglas Gallardo Jr

Immigrants! ❤️

Mar 3rd
Reply

Blk Blu

am i zing !let's ring!

Oct 28th
Reply

Victoria Carrington

This isn't the episode with Cassey!

Oct 28th
Reply

Farhad Rad

#Mahsa_Amini #Nika_Shakarami #Sarina_Smailzade #Hadis_Najafi #Dictator_Governance #Protest #Iran #مهسا_امینی #نیکا_شاکرمی #حدیث_نجفی #سارینا_اسماعیل_زاده ✌️✌️✌️

Oct 9th
Reply

Pouria Ghorbani

Say her name

Oct 8th
Reply

Pouria Ghorbani

Say her name

Oct 3rd
Reply

Mark Wilfong

Great show, but all the background music is increasingly annoying and distracting!

Aug 31st
Reply

amir Hossein Shamsolahrari

Hey Please continue to add graphics portraits for your posters These new Repeated ones don't make any sense

Aug 24th
Reply

Paula Sun

hello, I have enjoyed your show for years, but recently I noticed there has been a background music to these episodes. they are mostly repeated tunes of a short music pattern, which over a few minutes, my mind identifies their repeated pattern, and I find it hard to focus on the dialogues and find the music almost becomes a foreground music for me. it sounds very distracting and disruptive. I could barely focus on the interview contents. I think the main problem is the short repeated pattern. if the music were a soft long tune would probably work better.

Aug 16th
Reply

Charlotte Griffin Cox

,

Aug 16th
Reply

Paula Sun

hello, I love the show, but recently I noticed the background music. usually they are in a repeated short pattern that I found very interrupting and distracting over the interviews. any chance to improve that?

Aug 12th
Reply

Bisiriyu Abdul-Azeez Oluwadamilare

this episode was 🔥🔥🔥

Jun 29th
Reply

Silvia Peter

could you please upload this episode again?

May 30th
Reply

Douglas Gallardo Jr

Guy, how dare you say the the MailChimp logo is a monkey wearing a postman's cap? The word CHIMP is in the business name! Monkeys and chimps are not the same.

Apr 29th
Reply

ID21093336

What an arrogant woman.

Apr 11th
Reply

ID21093336

She comes across as a bit arrogant. I would have liked to have known how much money her dad gave her to play with initially.

Mar 5th
Reply
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