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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.
153 Episodes
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Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

2019-04-2200:45:09

At age 22, Whitney Wolfe helped launch Tinder, one of the world's most popular dating apps. But a few years later, she left Tinder and filed a lawsuit against the company alleging sexual harassment. The ensuing attention from the media – and cyberbullying from strangers – prompted her to launch Bumble, a dating app where women make the first move. Today, the Bumble app has been downloaded close to 30 million times. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Michael Dixon, whose business Mobile Vinyl Recorders uses portable record lathes to cut vinyl at parties, weddings, and music festivals. (Original broadcast date: October 16, 2017)
In 1970, George Zimmer was a college graduate with no real job prospects and little direction. That's when his father, an executive at a boy's clothing company, asked him to go on an important business trip to Asia. It was that trip that propelled him into the world of men's apparel. In 1973, the first Men's Wearhouse opened in Houston with little fanfare. But by the mid-80s, George Zimmer managed to carve out a distinct niche in the market – a place where men could buy a good quality suit, at "everyday low prices," along with all the shirts, ties, socks, and shoes they need. With George as the face of the brand, Men's Wearhouse became a multi-billion dollar empire with hundreds of stores across the U.S. But then, in 2013, a bitter battle forced him to give it all up. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with two brothers from Guinea, West Africa who founded a company that makes Ginjan, a spicy-sweet juice from their childhood that mixes pineapple and ginger.
Chez Panisse: Alice Waters

Chez Panisse: Alice Waters

2019-04-0801:02:418

In the 1960s, Alice Waters studied abroad in France – and discovered a culinary world far from the processed food popular in America. When she returned to California, she tried to find restaurants to recreate her experiences abroad, but she couldn't. In 1971, she opened a small restaurant in Berkeley called Chez Panisse, where she focused on serving fresh, local ingredients. Just a few years later, Chez Panisse was named one of the best restaurants in America, and became one of the hottest locations for fine dining in the Bay Area. Despite her success, Alice chose not to turn Chez Panisse into a restaurant empire. Instead, she continued to insist on cooking with food raised locally, sustainably, and ethically. Today, most chefs agree Alice Waters and Chez Panisse sparked the farm-to-table movement in the restaurant industry. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Piersten Gaines took the trauma out of salon visits for women with highly textured hair.
In the late 1980s, a New Zealand engineer named Keith Alexander wanted to buy a trampoline for his kids. After his wife said trampolines were too dangerous, Keith set out to design his own — a safer trampoline, without metal springs. He tinkered with and perfected the design over the course of a decade. But he was daunted by the challenge of bringing his invention to market — and he almost gave up. At that point Steve Holmes, a Canadian businessman, bought the patent to Keith's trampoline, and took a big risk to commercialize it. Today, Springfree Trampoline generates over $50 million in annual sales and has sold over 400,000 trampolines. PLUS in our postscript, "How You Built That," how Cyndi and Chris Hileman created a candle in a planter pot that can later be used to grow wildflowers.
Compaq Computers: Rod Canion

Compaq Computers: Rod Canion

2019-03-2500:41:0229

In 1981, engineer Rod Canion left Texas Instruments and co-founded Compaq, which created the first IBM-compatible personal computer. This opened the door to an entire industry of PCs that could run the same software. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Danica Lause, who turned a knitting hobby into Peekaboos Ponytail Hats: knit caps with strategically placed holes for a ponytail or bun. (Original broadcast date: May 22, 2017).
Away: Jen Rubio

Away: Jen Rubio

2019-03-1801:08:3434

In early 2015, Jen Rubio was racing through an airport to catch a flight when her suitcase broke, leaving a trail of clothing behind her. She tried to replace it with a stylish, durable, affordable suitcase — but she couldn't find one. So she decided to create her own. In less than a year, Jen and her co-founder Steph Korey raised $2.5 million to build their dream travel brand: a line of sleek, direct-to-consumer suitcases simply called Away. Jen's hunch that the brand would emotionally resonate with young, jet-setting customers paid off. Today, Away has become a cult luggage brand that has sold more than one million suitcases. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Jon Maroney made sledding easier for adults and more dynamic for kids with a pair of sleds that strap to your legs.
Logic: Logic & Chris Zarou

Logic: Logic & Chris Zarou

2019-03-1101:13:5343

In 2010, Logic the rapper, born as Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, released his first official mixtape titled "Young, Broke & Infamous." At 20 years old, Logic certainly was young and broke, and while crashing on a friend's couch, he poured himself into his music. Logic's career could have fizzled if it wasn't for Chris Zarou, a young college athlete-turned-manager who had no more experience in the music business than Logic. Undeterred, the two decided to work together, continuing to use free music and social media to build Logic's reputation as a talented, fast-flowing rapper with a hopeful message. In 2012, Logic signed to Def Jam Records and in 2014 dropped his debut album "Under Pressure," which shot to number 4 on the Billboard charts. His third album in 2017 went platinum and included the breakout single "1 800 273 8255." PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Cassy Burnvoth who built a skincare company using an unlikely ingredient – beef tallow.
Squarespace: Anthony Casalena

Squarespace: Anthony Casalena

2019-03-0400:55:2150

Like many classic technology stories, Squarespace started in a college dorm room. In 2003, 21-year-old Anthony Casalena created a website-building tool for himself. But after hearing some positive feedback from friends, he decided to put the tool online and start a business. For years, Anthony ran Squarespace almost entirely on his own but the stress took a toll and he reached the limits of what he could accomplish by himself. The journey to hiring a staff and scaling the company had its own set of growing pains for Anthony, including difficulty letting go of control, and learning how to manage other people. Today, Squarespace has grown to more than 800 employees, and valued at $1.7 billion. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Kate Westervelt took an overwhelming experience and turned it into a gift box for new moms – filled with essential items women need to recover from childbirth.
Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher

2019-02-2500:46:5320

In 1983, Eileen Fisher signed up for a fashion trade show with no experience, no garments, no patterns or sketches – nothing but a few ideas for a women's clothing line focused on simplicity. Within three weeks, she came up with 12 pieces, a logo, and a name: Eileen Fisher. Today, the Eileen Fisher brand is still known for its elegant and minimalist designs, but it has grown to more than 60 locations and makes over $300 million in annual revenue. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Glenn Auerbach who invented nICE mug, a container made entirely from ice that keeps drinks cold.
Burt's Bees: Roxanne Quimby

Burt's Bees: Roxanne Quimby

2019-02-1801:00:2436

In the 1970s, Roxanne Quimby was trying to live a simpler life – one that rejected the pursuit of material comforts. She moved to Maine, built a cabin in the woods, and lived off the grid. By the mid-80s, she met a recluse beekeeper named Burt Shavitz and offered to help him tend to his bees. As partners, Roxanne and Burt soon began selling their "Pure Maine Honey" at local markets, which evolved into candles made out of beeswax, and eventually lip balm and skin care products. Today Burt's Bees can be found in nearly every grocery store and drugstore around the U.S. PLUS, in our postscript "How You Built That," Leigh Isaacson explains how her sister's break up inspired them to create a dating app – for dog owners.
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Comments (185)

Jenifer Grady

I wonder if diversity is something that Bumble intentionally sought or are promotions directed towards people of color, and older people for new members?

Apr 23rd
Reply

Ka Rin

Terrible episode. Jen is incredibly unprofessional on the business side. Could have gone horribly wrong without any samples, unrealistic time lines and using investors' money for other products (picture books instead of suitcases?!).

Apr 19th
Reply

Tracy Smith Jr.

Excellent story telling. Conveyed a great sense of the route the founder took. Pulled in the sense of the time and atmosphere in college and Berkley.

Apr 17th
Reply

Sricharan Muppidi

very inspirational.

Apr 16th
Reply

Lee Graham

Not great by hibt standards

Apr 12th
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Irene Tran

wow she's soo inspiring ♥️

Apr 5th
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Jenny Kerr

So... You had $3000 and a you also bought a van. You managed to drive all around the country AND then had enough money to buy land AND built a cabin? I checked the inflation rate. It means she probably had about $19,000 by today's standards. Plus cash for a van that could roadtrip. I don't know anywhere you can buy land and built a cabin for $19,000, and that's assuming she didn't spend much on the preceding road trip. 😬 What student has that kind of money? I'm guessing her well educated family had some hand in all of this. Or did the boyfriend pay for it? What I am saying is this... She acts like she was rejecting material things and seeking a simple life, which is great and all... But she isn't recognizing that it took a lot of money, probably not hers.... To do it. Just a hunch.. But I think there is more to this story. When the start of the story has holes like this I tend not to believe the whole American dream business building either... I just wish these people would tell the real truth. I get really annoyed by self made millionaire stories...usually if you dig a little deeper you realize their parents loaned them the startup money...or paid their rent, bought them a car... Etc. There is nothing wrong with that. But I just wish people were willing to share the truth of what they did and how they got where they are...

Apr 4th
Reply

Celia Contreras

can your Company

Mar 28th
Reply

Philip Magee

This was played on 22 May 2017. Why are you rehashing old episodes. People can go back and listen. If you have nothing new don't post.

Mar 25th
Reply

Austin Peek

Philip Magee Because they're lazy. That's why I Built my own podcast... ✅ Out the Millionaire Interviews Podcast. Would love to get your feedback. 😎👌💯👏

Mar 28th
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Kamilah Amica

definitely an inspiration for entrepreneurial mom's! 💖

Mar 25th
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Ray Causey

You didn't build that

Mar 25th
Reply

Reza Hosseinabadi

terrible. I just wonder how she can choose that hap as her favorite career. it's like encouraging people to be more attached to consumerism and the material itself.

Mar 19th
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Nicole S

did anyone experience odd skips and repeats?

Mar 19th
Reply

Frank Ogallo

🙂 takes me back to the luck podcast on Ted talks

Mar 19th
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Cristina Marcalow

I loved this episode. Roxanne's story is inspiring and challenges many assumptions about women, success, leadership, innovation, and lifestyle. She is authentic, not boring. She's a different kind of leader than we normally meet. Thank you, Guy, for hosting her.

Feb 25th
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Lloyd Yu

Great!!!

Feb 25th
Reply

Karen Haigh

Only get last 4 minutes as well 🤔

Feb 22nd
Reply

Funtzman H

who else thought this was about Toms snack brand. I saw it was about shoes and was disappointed...

Feb 21st
Reply

Steven Lynch

This episode is so boring.

Feb 19th
Reply

Simon Knowles

m

Feb 19th
Reply
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