How I Built This with Guy Raz

How I Built This with Guy Raz

www.npr.org/series/490248027/how-i-built-this
How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of th
Rent The Runway: Jenn Hyman
Oct 15 • 57 min
Jenn Hyman got the idea for Rent the Runway in 2008, after she watched her sister overspend on a new dress rather than wear an old one to a party. Jenn and her business partner built a web site where women could rent designer dresses for a fraction of the…
method: Adam Lowry & Eric Ryan
Oct 8 • 57 min
In the late 1990s, Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan took on the notion that “green doesn’t clean” by setting out to make soap that could clean a bathtub without harming the environment. Adam started experimenting with baking soda, vinegar, and scented oils, while…
Cisco Systems & Urban Decay: Sandy Lerner
Oct 1 • 61 min
In the pre-Internet 1970’s, Sandy Lerner was part of a loosely-knit group of programmers that was trying to get computers to talk to each other. Eventually, she and Len Bosack launched Cisco Systems, making the routing technology that helped forge the…
Power Rangers: Haim Saban
Sep 24 • 44 min
As a refugee growing up in Tel Aviv, Haim Saban remembers not having enough money to eat. As an adult, he hustled his way into the entertainment business, writing theme songs for classic cartoons like Inspector Gadget and Heathcliff. But producing the…
Bobbi Brown Cosmetics: Bobbi Brown
Sep 17 • 53 min
Bobbi Brown started out as a makeup artist in New York City, but hated the gaudy color palette of the 1980s. She eventually shook up the industry by introducing “nude makeup” with neutral colors and a natural tone. In 1995, Estée Lauder acquired Bobbi…
Live Episode! New Belgium Brewing Company: Kim Jordan
Sep 10 • 46 min
In 1991 newlyweds Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch took out a second mortgage on their home in Fort Collins, Colorado to start a craft brewery in their basement. Jeff had been inspired by the fruit and spice-infused beers he had tasted on a bike trip to…
WeWork: Miguel McKelvey
Sep 3 • 53 min
In 2007, architect Miguel McKelvey convinced his friend Adam Neumann to share an office space in Brooklyn. That was the beginning of WeWork: a shared workspace for startups and freelancers looking for an inspiring environment to do their work. Today,…
TRX: Randy Hetrick
Aug 27 • 44 min
In 1997, Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick was deployed in Southeast Asia, where he was stationed in a remote warehouse for weeks with no way to exercise. So he grabbed an old jujitsu belt, threw it over a door, and started doing pull-ups. Today, TRX exercise…
Angie’s List: Angie Hicks
Aug 20 • 33 min
In 1995, Angie Hicks spent months going door-to-door in Columbus, Ohio, trying to get people to sign up for a new home services referral business. Today, Angie’s List is a household name, referring millions of members to plumbers, painters, and more. PLUS…
Live Episode! RXBAR: Peter Rahal
Aug 13 • 48 min
In 2013, Peter Rahal was obsessed with CrossFit, but noticed it didn’t sell any snacks to align with its pro-paleo philosophy. So instead of joining his family’s business, Rahal Foods, he recruited his friend Jared Smith to start making their own protein…
Carol’s Daughter: Lisa Price
Aug 6 • 43 min
Lisa Price worked in television but had a passion for beauty products. At her mother’s suggestion, she began selling her homemade moisturizer at a church flea market. Twenty years later, Carol’s Daughter is one of the leading beauty brands catering to…
Slack & Flickr: Stewart Butterfield
Jul 30 • 64 min
In the early 2000s, Stewart Butterfield tried to build a weird, massively multiplayer online game, but the venture failed. Instead, he and his co-founders used the technology they developed to create the photo-sharing site Flickr. After Flickr was…
Drybar: Alli Webb
Jul 23 • 34 min
A decade ago, full-time mom Alli Webb noticed a gap in the beauty market: there was no place that just focused on blow-drying hair. Now with more than 100 locations, Drybar is testament to Webb’s motto: Focus on one thing and be the best at it. PLUS in…
Steve Madden: Steve Madden
Jul 16 • 52 min
Steve Madden fell in love with the shoe business in the 1970’s, when he sold platform shoes at a neighborhood store in Long Island, New York. That was in high school. About 15 years later, he struck out on his own, designing and selling shoes with a…
Lonely Planet: Maureen & Tony Wheeler
Jul 9 • 38 min
In 1972, Maureen and Tony Wheeler bought a beat-up car and drove from London “as far east as we could go.” They wound up in Australia, by way of Afghanistan, India and Thailand. Their notes on how to travel on a shoestring became a book, which grew into…
Chicken Salad Chick: Stacy Brown
Jul 2 • 57 min
For many of us, chicken salad is just another sandwich filling, but Stacy Brown turned it into a $75 million business. In 2007, she was a divorced mother of three looking for a way to make ends meet. So she started making chicken salad in her kitchen and…
Lyft: John Zimmer
Jun 25 • 42 min
In 2006, John Zimmer was a college student and ride-hailing wasn’t yet “a thing.” But a class on green cities got him thinking about the glut of underused cars on the road. Eventually, he co-founded Lyft, a company that has helped make ride-hailing a…
Lululemon Athletica: Chip Wilson
Jun 18 • 53 min
After noticing more and more people sign up for yoga in the late 1990s, Chip Wilson bet everything on an athletic apparel company aimed toward young professional women. What started as a small pop-up store in Vancouver eventually became the…
Honest Tea: Seth Goldman
Jun 11 • 31 min
In 1997, after going for a long run, Seth Goldman was frustrated with the sugar-filled drinks at the corner market. So he brewed up a beverage in his kitchen, and turned it into Honest Tea. PLUS, for our postscript “How You Built That,” we check back in…
Remembering Kate Spade
Jun 5 • 36 min
We are incredibly saddened by the loss of the brilliant designer and entrepreneur Kate Spade. We are grateful she and her husband Andy Spade shared their story with us in 2017. The origins of the Kate Spade brand can be drawn back to a 1991 conversation…
Minted: Mariam Naficy
Jun 4 • 51 min
In 2000, Mariam Naficy sold her first company, an online cosmetics store called Eve.com, for $110 million. Several years later, she got the entrepreneurial itch once again: she founded Minted, an online stationery store that solicits designs from artists…
Lady Gaga & Atom Factory: Troy Carter
May 28 • 49 min
As a kid, Troy Carter dreamed of being a rapper, but soon discovered he was a better manager than a musician. He took Lady Gaga from obscurity to stardom – helping shape both her music and her brand. Then he turned his gift for spotting talent to spotting…
Bob’s Red Mill: Bob Moore
May 21 • 46 min
In the 1960s, Bob Moore read a book about an old grain mill and was inspired to start his own. Using giant quartz stones from the 19th century, he made dozens of different cereals and flours, positioning his company at the forefront of the health food…
Real Estate Mogul: Barbara Corcoran
May 14 • 52 min
Barbara Corcoran grew up in a working-class Irish Catholic family in Jersey – with nine brothers and sisters. But she used her charisma to conquer the streets of Manhattan and build the real estate company, The Corcoran Group. She then reinvented herself…
Stripe: Patrick and John Collison
May 7 • 43 min
Brothers Patrick and John Collison founded and sold their first company before they turned 20. They created software to help eBay users manage inventory online, which set them on a path to help make e-commerce frictionless. Today, John and Patrick are the…
Panera Bread/Au Bon Pain: Ron Shaich
Apr 30 • 43 min
In the early 1980s, Ron Shaich bought a small, struggling Boston bakery chain called Au Bon Pain, and built it out to 250 locations nationwide. Ron then saw an opportunity to build something even bigger: Panera Bread. It was the start of “fast casual” – a…
Dermalogica: Jane Wurwand
Apr 23 • 41 min
Jane Wurwand moved to Los Angeles with a suitcase and a beauty school diploma. She started what would become Dermalogica, an international beauty empire that set the standard for skin care. PLUS in our postscript “How You Built That,” we check back with…
Wayfair: Niraj Shah & Steve Conine
Apr 16 • 48 min
After selling their first small business and shuttering their second, former college roommates Niraj Shah and Steve Conine thought about getting “normal” jobs. But in the early 2000s, they stumbled across an unexpected trend: people were buying furniture…
FUBU: Daymond John
Apr 9 • 54 min
Daymond John grew up during the 1980s in the heart of hip hop culture: Hollis, Queens. In his early 20s, he was working at Red Lobster and trying to figure out how to start a business. Eventually, he stumbled on the idea of making clothes for fans of rap…
Stitch Fix: Katrina Lake
Apr 2 • 53 min
In 2010, Katrina Lake recruited 20 friends for an experiment: she wanted to see if she could choose clothes for them that accurately matched their style and personality. That idea sparked Stitch Fix, an online personal shopping service that aims to take…
Atari & Chuck E. Cheese’s: Nolan Bushnell
Mar 26 • 51 min
Before he turned 40, Nolan Bushnell founded two brands that permanently shaped the way Americans amuse themselves: the iconic video game system Atari, and the frenetic family restaurant Chuck E. Cheese’s. PLUS in our postscript “How You Built That,” an…
LÄRABAR: Lara Merriken
Mar 19 • 55 min
In 2000, Lara Merriken was 32, recently divorced, and without a job when she decided to make energy bars by mixing cherries, dates, and almonds in her Cuisinart. Eventually, she perfected the recipe and launched her company: LÄRABAR. After just two years,…
The Knot: Carley Roney & David Liu
Mar 12 • 56 min
When Carley Roney and David Liu got married, they had a seat-of-the-pants celebration on a sweltering Washington rooftop. They never planned to go into the wedding business, but soon saw an opportunity in the market for a fresh approach to wedding…
1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore
Mar 5 • 41 min
Brian Scudamore didn’t dream of a life hauling away other people’s trash. But when he needed to pay for college, he bought a $700 pickup truck, painted his phone number on the side, and started hauling. Now 1-800-GOT-JUNK? makes close to $300 million in…
Live Episode! Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: Jeni Britton Bauer
Feb 28 • 48 min
Even as a kid, Jeni Britton Bauer knew she was going to start a business one day. But she had no idea that her love for perfume would inspire her to start experimenting with ice cream. After years of hustling, she eventually launched Jeni’s Splendid Ice…
Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales
Feb 26 • 43 min
During the dot com boom of the late 1990s, Jimmy Wales was running an internet search company. That’s when he began to experiment with the idea of an online encyclopedia. In 2001, Wales launched Wikipedia, a website where thousands of community members…
Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal
Feb 19 • 32 min
In 2008, it was nearly impossible to buy a fashionable, affordable pair of glasses online. That simple frustration inspired the idea behind Warby Parker – and disrupted the eyewear industry. PLUS for our postscript “How You Built That,” an update on…
Dyson: James Dyson
Feb 12 • 44 min
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…
Melissa & Doug: Melissa And Doug Bernstein
Feb 5 • 39 min
Melissa and Doug Bernstein’s first success was a wooden ‘fuzzy puzzle’ of farm animals. Today, Melissa & Doug makes over 2,000 kinds of toys and serves as an antidote to the rise of digital toys. PLUS for our postscript “How You Built That,” an update on…
Dell Computers: Michael Dell
Jan 29 • 50 min
Before it became fashionable to start a tech company in your dorm room, Michael Dell did exactly that. In 1983, he began selling upgrade kits for PC’s out of his dorm at UT Austin. A few months later he gave up his plan of being Pre-Med, and dropped out…
Serial Entrepreneur: Marcia Kilgore
Jan 22 • 54 min
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.…
LinkedIn: Reid Hoffman
Jan 15 • 43 min
In the early 1990s, Reid Hoffman had a vision for the future of the Internet: people would connect through social networks using their real names, and their online lives would be completely merged with their real ones. After several early attempts, he…
Kate Spade: Kate & Andy Spade
Jan 8 • 41 min
We’re hard at work planning our next live show, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Kate Spade. A 1991 conversation at a Mexican restaurant led Kate & Andy Spade to ask, “What’s missing in designer handbags?” Kate’s answer was a simple…
Clif Bar: Gary Erickson
Jan 1 • 33 min
We’re taking a break for the holidays, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Clif Bar. Gary Erickson asked his mom, “Can you make a cookie without butter, sugar or oil?” The result was an energy bar named after his dad — now one of the most…
Live Episode! The Home Depot: Arthur Blank
Dec 28, 2017 • 33 min
In 1978, Arthur Blank and his business partner Bernie Marcus were running a successful chain of hardware stores called Handy Dan – but then, they were unexpectedly fired. The next year, they conceived and launched a new kind of home improvement store that…
Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard
Dec 25, 2017 • 28 min
We’re taking a break for the holidays, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Patagonia. In 1973, Yvon Chouinard started the company to make climbing gear he couldn’t find elsewhere. Over decades of growth, he has implemented a unique…
LearnVest: Alexa von Tobel
Dec 18, 2017 • 41 min
When Alexa von Tobel was just 14, her father passed away unexpectedly, leaving her mother to manage the family’s finances. The tragedy made Alexa determined to understand money – and help others plan for periods of uncertainty. In her mid-twenties, she…
Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson
Dec 14, 2017 • 42 min
In 1979, Robert Johnson was a lobbyist for the burgeoning cable industry. That’s when he got an idea for a channel called Black Entertainment Television. He started small, just a few hours of programming a week. But by the 1990s BET had become a cultural…
Tom’s Of Maine: Tom Chappell
Dec 11, 2017 • 38 min
In 1970, Tom Chappell took out a $5000 loan to launch a natural products company called Tom’s of Maine. Working out of a warehouse in Kennebunk, Maine, he created soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste free from added chemicals, and sustainable for the…
Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman
Dec 4, 2017 • 42 min
We’re hard at work planning our upcoming live show, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Zumba. Zumba began as a mistake: aerobics teacher Beto Perez brought the wrong music to class, then improvised a dance routine to go with it. For his…
Framebridge: Susan Tynan
Nov 27, 2017 • 59 min
Susan Tynan’s experience in the ephemeral e-market of LivingSocial made her want to start a business that she could touch and feel. She got her idea after experiencing sticker shock at her local framing store: she was charged $1600 to frame four cheap…
Ben & Jerry’s: Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield
Nov 20, 2017 • 58 min
In the mid-1970s two childhood friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield decided to open an ice cream shop in Burlington, Vermont. Their quirky little shop packaged and sold unusual flavors like Honey Coffee, Mocha Walnut, and Mint with Oreo Cookies. In…
Instagram: Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger
Nov 13, 2017 • 33 min
We’re hard at work planning our upcoming live shows, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Instagram. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched their photo-sharing app with a server that crashed every other hour. Despite a chaotic start, it…
Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher
Nov 6, 2017 • 48 min
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…
Chipotle: Steve Ells
Oct 30, 2017 • 52 min
In 1992, Steve Ells was a classically trained chef working in a high-end restaurant in San Francisco. But after eating a burrito at a local taqueria, he got an idea: to sell burritos and earn enough money to open his own gourmet restaurant. The first…
Burton Snowboards: Jake Carpenter
Oct 23, 2017 • 46 min
In 1977, 23-year-old Jake Carpenter set out to design a better version of the Snurfer, a stand-up sled he loved to ride as a teenager. Working by himself in a barn in Londonderry, Vermont, he sanded and whittled stacks of wood, trying to create the…
Bumble: Whitney Wolfe
Oct 16, 2017 • 42 min
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…
Teach For America: Wendy Kopp
Oct 9, 2017 • 45 min
In 1989, college senior Wendy Kopp was trying to figure out how to improve American public schools. For her senior thesis, she proposed creating a national teaching corps that would recruit recent college grads to teach in underserved schools. One year…
Stonyfield Yogurt: Gary Hirshberg
Oct 2, 2017 • 61 min
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…
Live Episode! Starbucks: Howard Schultz
Sep 28, 2017 • 49 min
During his first visit to Seattle in 1981, Howard Schultz walked into a little coffee bean shop called Starbucks and fell in love with it. A few years later, he bought the six-store chain for almost 4 million dollars, and began to transform it into a…
Southwest Airlines: Herb Kelleher
Sep 25, 2017 • 37 min
We’re hard at work planning more live shows, so we bring you one of our favorites from last year: Southwest Airlines. In 1968, competitors sued to keep Herb Kelleher’s new airline grounded. After a 3-year court fight, the first plane took off from Dallas.…
The Chipmunks: Ross Bagdasarian Jr. & Janice Karman
Sep 18, 2017 • 58 min
Years after his father created a hit singing group of anthropomorphic rodents called The Chipmunks, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. made it his mission to revive his dad’s beloved characters. Over the last 40 years, Ross Jr. and his wife Janice have built The…
Barre3: Sadie Lincoln
Sep 11, 2017 • 48 min
Sadie Lincoln and her husband, Chris, had what seemed like the perfect life – well-paying jobs, a house in the Bay Area, two kids. But one day they decided to sell everything and start a new business called Barre3: a studio exercise program that blends…
VICE: Suroosh Alvi
Sep 4, 2017 • 40 min
We’re hard at work planning our upcoming live show, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: VICE. Suroosh Alvi was a recovering addict when he started a scrappy underground magazine in Montreal. It grew into a multi-billion dollar company that…
Live Episode! Reddit: Alexis Ohanian & Steve Huffman
Aug 31, 2017 • 53 min
With $12,000 and a mascot named Snoo, two former college roommates designed a web site they hoped would become “the front page of the Internet.” Today, despite growing pains, personal issues and persistent trolls, Reddit has over 300 million monthly users…
Airbnb: Joe Gebbia
Aug 28, 2017 • 44 min
We’re hard at work planning our upcoming live show, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Airbnb. A chance encounter with a stranger gave Joe Gebbia an idea to help pay his rent. That idea grew into a company that now has more rooms than the…
Edible Arrangements: Tariq Farid
Aug 21, 2017 • 49 min
When Tariq Farid was 12, he emigrated from Pakistan to the U.S. – and quickly found a job at a local flower shop. Eventually he opened his own shop, which eventually led to the crazy idea to make flower bouquets out of fruit. Edible Arrangements has now…
Radio One: Cathy Hughes
Aug 14, 2017 • 38 min
We’re hard at work planning our upcoming live show, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Radio One. As a kid, Cathy Hughes practiced her DJ routine while her siblings banged on the bathroom door. As an adult, she founded Radio One—now Urban…
Rent The Runway: Jenn Hyman
Aug 7, 2017 • 56 min
Jenn Hyman got the idea for Rent the Runway in 2008, after she watched her sister overspend on a new dress rather than wear an old one to a party. Jenn and her business partner built a web site where women could rent designer dresses for a fraction of the…
Kickstarter: Perry Chen
Jul 31, 2017 • 43 min
In the early 2000s, Perry Chen was trying to put on a concert in New Orleans when he thought, what if fans could fund this in advance? His idea didn’t work at the time, but he and his co-founders spent the next eight years refining the concept of…
Live Episode! BuzzFeed: Jonah Peretti
Jul 27, 2017 • 49 min
In 2001, when most of us had no idea what it meant to “go viral,” Jonah Peretti shared an email prank among his friends — and saw it spread to millions. That began his fascination with how information spreads, and set him on the path to launch two of the…
Samuel Adams: Jim Koch
Jul 24, 2017 • 38 min
We’re hard at work planning our upcoming live shows, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Samuel Adams. In 1984, Jim Koch felt suffocated by his cushy but boring corporate job. So he left, dusted off an old family beer recipe, started Sam…
Aden + Anais: Raegan Moya-Jones
Jul 17, 2017 • 43 min
Cotton muslin baby blankets are commonplace in Australia, where Raegan Moya-Jones grew up. But when she started a new life and family in NYC, she couldn’t find them anywhere. She was sure Americans would love muslin blankets as much as Australians. So in…
Rolling Stone: Jann Wenner
Jul 10, 2017 • 48 min
After being involved in Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement, Jann Wenner wanted to start a publication to capture the exploding counterculture scene of the 1960s. The result was Rolling Stone, a gritty music magazine that – for 50 years — has left an…
Spanx: Sara Blakely
Jul 3, 2017 • 31 min
We’re hard at work planning our upcoming live shows, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Spanx. At 27, Sara Blakely was selling fax machines and desperate to reinvent her life. So she came up with Spanx — hosiery that eliminates panty lines…
TRX: Randy Hetrick
Jun 26, 2017 • 44 min
In 1997, Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick was deployed in Southeast Asia, where he was stationed in a remote warehouse for weeks with no way to exercise. So he grabbed an old jujitsu belt, threw it over a door, and started doing pull-ups. Today, TRX exercise…
WeWork: Miguel McKelvey
Jun 19, 2017 • 48 min
In 2007, architect Miguel McKelvey convinced his friend Adam Neumann to share an office space in Brooklyn. That was the beginning of WeWork: a shared workspace for startups and freelancers looking for an inspiring environment to do their work. Today,…
Carol’s Daughter: Lisa Price
Jun 12, 2017 • 43 min
Lisa Price worked in television but had a passion for beauty products. At her mother’s suggestion, she began selling her homemade moisturizer at a church flea market. Twenty years later, Carol’s Daughter is one of the leading beauty brands catering to…
Five Guys: Jerry Murrell
Jun 5, 2017 • 36 min
Jerry Murrell’s mother used to tell him, you can always make money if you know how to make a good burger. In 1986 — after failing at a number of business ideas — Murrell opened a tiny burger joint in Northern Virginia with his four sons. Five Guys now has…
TOMS: Blake Mycoskie
May 29, 2017 • 54 min
Blake Mycoskie started and sold four businesses before age 30. But only in Argentina did he discover the idea he’d want to pursue long term. After seeing a shoe drive for children, he came up with TOMS — part shoe business, part philanthropy. PLUS in our…
Compaq Computers: Rod Canion
May 22, 2017 • 40 min
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 in our postscript “How You Built…
Whole Foods Market: John Mackey
May 15, 2017 • 47 min
In 1978, college drop-out John Mackey scraped together $45,000 to open his first health food store, “Safer Way.” A few years later he co-founded Whole Foods Market — and launched an organic food revolution that helped change the way Americans shop. PLUS…
Lonely Planet: Maureen & Tony Wheeler
May 8, 2017 • 41 min
In 1972, Maureen and Tony Wheeler bought a beat-up car and drove from London “as far east as we could go.” They wound up in Australia, by way of Afghanistan, India and Thailand. Their notes on how to travel on a shoestring became a book, which grew into…
Lady Gaga & Atom Factory: Troy Carter
May 1, 2017 • 45 min
As a kid, Troy Carter dreamed of being a rapper, but soon discovered he was a better manager than a musician. He took Lady Gaga from obscurity to stardom – helping shape both her music and her brand. Then he turned his gift for spotting talent to spotting…
Real Estate Mogul: Barbara Corcoran
Apr 24, 2017 • 52 min
Barbara Corcoran grew up in a working-class Irish Catholic family in Jersey – with nine brothers and sisters. But she used her charisma to conquer the streets of Manhattan and build the real estate company, The Corcoran Group. She then reinvented herself…
1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore
Apr 17, 2017 • 41 min
Brian Scudamore didn’t dream of a life hauling away other people’s trash. But when he needed to pay for college, he bought a $700 pickup truck, painted his phone number on the side, and started hauling. Now 1-800-GOT-JUNK? makes over $200 million in…
Instacart: Apoorva Mehta
Apr 10, 2017 • 40 min
App developer Apoorva Mehta almost gave up on being an entrepreneur until he figured out what he really wanted to do: find a hassle-free way to buy groceries. Five years after launch, the grocery delivery app Instacart is valued at $3 billion.
AOL: Steve Case
Apr 3, 2017 • 34 min
When Steve Case started out in the tech business in the mid-80s, the idea of the internet — as we think of it today — didn’t exist. But with AOL, Case saw an opportunity to connect millions of people, through chat rooms, news updates, and the iconic…
Power Rangers: Haim Saban
Mar 27, 2017 • 43 min
As a refugee growing up in Tel Aviv, Haim Saban remembers not having enough money to eat. As an adult, he hustled his way into the entertainment business, writing theme songs for classic cartoons like Inspector Gadget and Heathcliff. But producing the…
Kendra Scott: Kendra Scott
Mar 20, 2017 • 44 min
Ever since she was a little girl playing dress-up in her aunt’s closet, Kendra Scott loved fashion. Her first business was a hat shop, which she started at 19 – it failed. A few years later, she started a jewelry business out of her spare bedroom. Today…
5-Hour Energy: Manoj Bhargava
Mar 13, 2017 • 35 min
After living as a monk in India and running a plastics company in Florida, Manoj Bhargava decided to launch something new: a one-shot energy drink in a bright, battery-shaped bottle. Today, 5-Hour ENERGY is one of the most recognizable energy drinks in…
Chesapeake Bay Candle: Mei Xu
Mar 6, 2017 • 42 min
Twenty-five years ago, when 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…
Atari & Chuck E. Cheese’s: Nolan Bushnell
Feb 27, 2017 • 50 min
Before he turned 40, Nolan Bushnell founded two brands that permanently shaped the way Americans amuse themselves: the iconic video game system Atari, and the frenetic family restaurant Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Crate & Barrel: Gordon Segal
Feb 20, 2017 • 31 min
In 1962, Gordon Segal — with his wife Carole — opened a scrappy Chicago shop called Crate & Barrel. That store turned into a housewares empire that has shaped the way Americans furnish their homes.
Live Episode! Beyond Meat: Ethan Brown
Feb 16, 2017 • 26 min
As founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, Ethan Brown believes he can turn peas and lentils into protein that tastes — and feels – exactly like beef and chicken. He says they’re not quite there yet, but after 8 years in business, their products are sold in…
Lyft: John Zimmer
Feb 13, 2017 • 41 min
Ridesharing wasn’t a thing 12 years ago when John Zimmer was in college. But a class on green cities got him thinking about the glut of underused cars on the road, and eventually led him to co-found Lyft, a company that has helped make ridesharing a way…
Kate Spade: Kate & Andy Spade
Feb 6, 2017 • 41 min
A 1991 conversation at a Mexican restaurant led Kate & Andy Spade to ask, “What’s missing in designer handbags?” Kate’s answer was a simple modern-shaped handbag that launched the iconic fashion brand: Kate Spade.
Virgin: Richard Branson
Jan 30, 2017 • 34 min
Richard Branson took a record shop and built it into a label, a bank, an airline, space tourism, and 200 other businesses — all under the name Virgin. But the serial entrepreneur has also had his share of failures.
Zappos: Tony Hsieh
Jan 23, 2017 • 30 min
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…
Honest Tea: Seth Goldman
Jan 16, 2017 • 31 min
In 1997, after going for a long run, Seth Goldman was frustrated with the sugar-filled drinks at the corner market. So he brewed up a beverage in his kitchen, and turned it into Honest Tea.
Drybar: Alli Webb
Jan 9, 2017 • 34 min
A decade ago, full-time mom Alli Webb noticed a gap in the beauty market: there was nowhere that just focused on blow-drying hair. Now with 70 locations, Drybar is testament to Webb’s motto: Focus on one thing and be the best at it.
Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman
Jan 2, 2017 • 39 min
Zumba began as a mistake: aerobics teacher Beto Perez brought the wrong music to class, then improvised a dance routine to go with it. For his students, it was more fun than work — and it eventually grew into one of the biggest fitness brands in the world.
Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal
Dec 26, 2016 • 32 min
In 2008, it was nearly impossible to buy a fashionable, affordable pair of glasses online. That simple frustration inspired the idea behind Warby Parker – and disrupted the eyewear industry.
Melissa & Doug: Melissa And Doug Bernstein
Dec 19, 2016 • 37 min
Melissa and Doug Bernstein’s first success was a wooden ‘fuzzy puzzle’ of farm animals. Today, Melissa & Doug makes over 2,000 kinds of toys and serves as an antidote to the rise of digital toys.
Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard
Dec 12, 2016 • 27 min
In 1973, Yvon Chouinard started Patagonia to make climbing gear he couldn’t find elsewhere. Over decades of growth, he has implemented a unique philosophy about business, leadership and profit.
Serial Entrepreneur: Mark Cuban
Dec 5, 2016 • 35 min
Mark Cuban made millions off of tech startups, then billions off of stocks — and later went on to buy and revive the Dallas Mavericks. He has come to define the persona of the serial entrepreneur.
Angie’s List: Angie Hicks
Nov 28, 2016 • 30 min
In 1996, Angie Hicks spent hours reading contractor reviews to members over the phone. Today, the online review and referral service, Angie’s List, is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
Southwest Airlines: Herb Kelleher
Nov 21, 2016 • 35 min
In 1968, competitors sued to keep Herb Kelleher’s new airline grounded. After a 3-year court fight, the first plane took off from Dallas. Today Southwest Airlines operates nearly 4,000 flights a day.
Celebrity Chef: José Andrés
Nov 14, 2016 • 28 min
As a kid, José Andrés tended fires for his father’s backyard paella cookouts. Later, he trained with the best Spanish chefs, and began building a restaurant empire that would transform the way many Americans dine out.
Music Mogul: L.A. Reid
Nov 7, 2016 • 33 min
L.A. Reid began his music career as a drummer. Then he co-founded LaFace Records, discovering dozens of future pop superstars. Reid is now one of the most influential executives in the music industry.
Samuel Adams: Jim Koch
Oct 31, 2016 • 34 min
In 1984, Jim Koch felt suffocated by his cushy but boring corporate job. So he left, dusted off an old family beer recipe, started Sam Adams, and helped kickstart the craft beer movement in America.
Dermalogica: Jane Wurwand
Oct 24, 2016 • 40 min
Jane Wurwand moved to Los Angeles with a suitcase and a beauty school diploma. She started what would become Dermalogica, an international beauty empire that set the standard for skin care.
Airbnb: Joe Gebbia
Oct 17, 2016 • 42 min
A chance encounter with a stranger gave Joe Gebbia an idea to help pay his rent. That idea turned into Airbnb — a company that now has more rooms than the biggest hotel chain in the world.
VICE: Suroosh Alvi
Oct 10, 2016 • 37 min
Suroosh Alvi was a recovering addict when he started a scrappy underground magazine in Montreal. It grew into VICE Media — a multi-billion dollar company that has shaken up the world of journalism.
Clif Bar: Gary Erickson
Oct 3, 2016 • 28 min
Gary Erickson asked his mom, “Can you make a cookie without butter, sugar or oil?” The result was Clif Bar, an energy bar named after his dad — now one of the most popular energy bars in the U.S.
Radio One: Cathy Hughes
Sep 26, 2016 • 33 min
As a kid, Cathy Hughes practiced her DJ routine while her siblings banged on the bathroom door. As an adult, she founded Radio One, the country’s largest African-American owned broadcasting company.
Instagram: Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger
Sep 19, 2016 • 29 min
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched their photo-sharing app with a server that crashed every other hour. Despite a chaotic start, Instagram became one of the most popular apps in the world.
Spanx: Sara Blakely
Sep 12, 2016 • 30 min
At 27, Sara Blakely was selling fax machines and desperate to reinvent her life. So she came up with Spanx — hosiery that eliminates panty lines — and set to work building her business.
Coming Soon: How I Built This
Sep 2, 2016 • 2 min
On September 12, NPR launches a new podcast, How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz. The show features innovators, entrepreneurs, idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built.