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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.
157 Episodes
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Zappos: Tony Hsieh

Zappos: Tony Hsieh

2019-05-2000:34:595

Computer scientist Tony Hsieh made millions off the dot-com boom. But he didn't make his mark until he built Zappos — a customer service company that "happens to sell shoes." Now Zappos is worth over a billion dollars and known for its completely unorthodox management style. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Mike Bolos and Jason Grohowski, who brought the office desk closer to the light by creating Deskview, a portable desk that attaches to a sheer window with a suction cup. (Original broadcast date: January 23, 2017).
Chet Pipkin was the kind of kid who loved to take things apart and put them back together. As a young man in the early 1980s, he started hanging out in mom-and-pop computer shops, where he realized he could meet a growing need by selling the cables that connect computers to printers. That simple idea became the main ingredient in Chet's secret sauce: instead of making his own computers, he would make the accessories needed to make them work. Belkin International eventually grew into a massive manufacturer of electronic goods — last year, it sold to a subsidiary of Foxconn for more than $800 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Clay McCabe decided to rebrand his dad's zipper repair business into Zipper Rescue, a repair kit that helps people fix their broken zippers at home.
Framebridge: Susan Tynan

Framebridge: Susan Tynan

2019-05-0601:00:51

Susan Tynan's experience in the ephemeral e-market of LivingSocial made her want to start a business that she could touch and feel. After being charged $1600 to frame four posters at her local framing store, she decided to create a mail-order framing company that offers fewer designs at lower prices. Framebridge is now five years old and still feeling growing pains, but is slowly reshaping the rules of a rigid industry. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Len Testa, who created an app that uses real-time data to help people avoid long lines at Orlando area theme parks. (Original broadcast date: November 27, 2017)
John Foley started climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder at a young age, first as a fast food server and eventually as an e-commerce executive. Still, at 40, he couldn't climb out of bed fast enough to make it to his favorite spin class. John couldn't understand why there wasn't a way to bring the intensity and motivation of a boutique fitness class into the home. Having never worked in the exercise industry, he teamed up with a few friends to create a high-tech stationary bicycle called the Peloton Bike. Today, Peloton has sold close to half a million bikes, with a valuation as high as 4 billion dollars. Recorded live in New York City.
Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

2019-04-2200:43:56

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

2019-04-0801:02:079

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

2019-03-2500:41:0330

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

2019-03-1801:08:3435

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.
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Comments (192)

Zach Gagné

I loved this episode

May 21st
Reply

Michael Anthony

The voice. Ow

May 21st
Reply

Scott

love these podcasts ♥️

May 20th
Reply

Amanda Henry

I think she's really dilusional to think that luck had nothing to do with it. Sure, she's worked hard, but she was *in the right place at the right time* to even meet the Tinder cofounder and get a job while she was aimlessly wandering after college, and then unlimited funding and resources just happened to fall into her lap when we wanted to launch something at 22. I'd consider that extremely lucky.

May 17th
Reply

Christy Snow

I remember watching the documentary about Burts Bees on Netflix I believe..and she pretty much screwed the Burt guy over in everything. yes, she had a vision but the truth of the matter was that he really got screwed over.

May 14th
Reply

Michael Erkotidis

I met my fiance through bumble so it definitely works!

May 11th
Reply

Scott

enjoying listening to these podcasts,great episode! Scott UK

May 6th
Reply

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
Reply

Irene Tran

wow she's soo inspiring ♥️

Apr 5th
Reply

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
Reply

Kamilah Amica

definitely an inspiration for entrepreneurial mom's! 💖

Mar 25th
Reply

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
Reply

Nicole S

did anyone experience odd skips and repeats?

Mar 19th
Reply
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