Cover image of How I Built This with Guy Raz

How I Built This with Guy Raz

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. Order the How I Built This book at https://www.guyraz.com/

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Siete Family Foods: Miguel and Veronica Garza

Miguel and Veronica Garza grew up in Laredo, Texas, in the kind of family that did almost everything together. So when Veronica realized that a grain-free diet was helping her cope with debilitating health issues, the rest of the family—all six of them—adopted the same paleo-friendly diet. Soon Veronica was making her own almond flour tortillas at home and selling them at a CrossFit gym that the Garza family had launched in Laredo. The grain-free tortillas were a hit, and by 2016, Siete Family Foods products were being sold in Whole Foods Markets across the country. Today, Veronica and Miguel head the company with the help of the whole family, and Siete has become one of the fastest-growing Mexican-American food brands in the U.S.How I Built This Summit - information and tickets at:http://summit.npr.org

1hr 21mins

15 Mar 2021

Rank #1

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Shake Shack: Danny Meyer

Back in 2001, as part of an initiative to revitalize Madison Square Park, Danny Meyer set up a simple hot dog cart. At that time, he had been a leader in New York City's fine dining scene for years, and the hot dog cart was just a side project, something fun to do for the summer. But that one temporary hot dog cart led to Shake Shack, a fast casual restaurant chain known for its burgers, its namesake milkshakes, and its lines out the door. Today, Shake Shack is a publicly traded company with over 250 locations in 15 countries.


15 Jun 2020

Rank #2

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Instagram: Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger

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 became one of the most popular apps in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Dave Weiner of Priority Bicycles, a low-maintenance bicycle brand.


13 Nov 2017

Rank #3

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Virgin: Richard Branson

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.


30 Jan 2017

Rank #4

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How I Built Resilience: John Zimmer of Lyft

This year has brought unexpected challenges to Lyft, starting with a 75 percent drop in rideshares at the beginning of the pandemic. But co-founder John Zimmer says ride-hailing is returning, and the company is continuing to diversify with car, scooter, and bike rentals. John also answers questions about whether app-based drivers should be thought of as part-time employees or independent contractors. These conversations are excerpts from our How I Built Resilience series, where Guy talks online with founders and entrepreneurs about how they're navigating turbulent times.Order the How I Built This book at:https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis


26 Sep 2020

Rank #5

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Lonely Planet: Maureen & Tony Wheeler

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 Lonely Planet — the largest travel guide publisher in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how 15-year-old Michael Mendicino, with help from his mom, took a teenage trend and turned it into a board game called Bottle Flip.


8 May 2017

Rank #6

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WeWork: Miguel McKelvey

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, WeWork has created a "community of creators" valued at nearly $16 billion.


19 Jun 2017

Rank #7

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Whole Foods Market: John Mackey

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 in our postscript "How You Built That," how Kyle Ewing created waterproof paper through his company TerraSlate.


15 May 2017

Rank #8

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Dermalogica: Jane Wurwand

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.


24 Oct 2016

Rank #9

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LinkedIn: Reid Hoffman

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 co-founded LinkedIn – a social network focused on jobs and careers. In 2016, the company sold to Microsoft for $26 billion dollars, helping make Hoffman one of the wealthiest and most influential figures in Silicon Valley. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Danica Lause turned a knitting hobby into Peekaboos Ponytail hats, knit caps with strategically placed holes for a ponytail or bun.


15 Jan 2018

Rank #10

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The Knot: Carley Roney & David Liu

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 planning. In 1996, they founded The Knot, a website with an irreverent attitude about "the big day." The Knot weathered the dot.com bust, a stock market meltdown, and eventually grew into the lifestyle brand XO Group, valued at $500 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Tyson Walters who got so tired of his St. Bernard shedding everywhere that he created a zip-up body suit for dogs: the Shed Defender.


7 Oct 2019

Rank #11

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Chipotle: Steve Ells (2017)

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 Chipotle opened in Denver the following year. Bringing his culinary training to taqueria-style service, Steve Ells helped transform the way we eat fast food. Order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis


4 Jan 2021

Rank #12

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reCAPTCHA and Duolingo: Luis von Ahn

In 2000, Luis von Ahn was starting his PhD in computer science when he attended a talk and happened to learn about one of Yahoo's biggest problems: automated bots were signing up for millions of free Yahoo email accounts, and generating tons of spam. Luis' idea to solve this problem became CAPTCHA, the squiggly letters we type into a website to prove we're human. He gave away that idea for free, but years later, that same idea had evolved into a new way to monetize language learning on the web, and became Duolingo. Today, the popular app is valued at $1.5 billion, and is seeing a big spike in growth while people are confined to their homes.

1hr 6mins

25 May 2020

Rank #13

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WeWork: Miguel McKelvey

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, WeWork has created a "community of creators" valued at nearly $16 billion. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Kristel Gordon who invented a solution for easily stuffing a duvet back into its cover – it's called Duvaid. (Original broadcast date: June 19, 2017.)


3 Sep 2018

Rank #14

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Drybar: Alli Webb

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 our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Chris Healy, a long-haired Southern Californian who co-founded The Longhairs and created special hair ties for guys.


23 Jul 2018

Rank #15

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DoorDash: Tony Xu

In 2013, Tony Xu was brainstorming ideas for a business school project when he identified a problem he wanted to solve: food delivery. For most restaurants, it was too costly and inefficient, leaving most of the market to pizza and Chinese. Tony and his partners believed they could use technology to connect customers to drivers, who would deliver meals in every imaginable cuisine. That idea grew into DoorDash, a company that's now delivered over 100 million orders from over 200,000 restaurants across the country. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we hear from the winner of our 2018 HIBT Summit Pitch Competition: Ashlin Cook. She combined her love for dogs with an entrepreneurial itch to create Winnie Lou: a Colorado business that sells healthy dog treats in independent pet stores and from a food truck.


12 Nov 2018

Rank #16

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Shopify: Tobias Lütke

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.

1hr 7mins

5 Aug 2019

Rank #17

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Barre3: Sadie Lincoln

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 ballet with pilates and yoga. Today, Barre3 has more than 100 studios across the country. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Alexander Harik, who turned his mom's recipe for fragrant Middle Eastern za'atar spread into Zesty Z: The Za'atar Company. (Original broadcast date: September 11, 2017.)


5 Nov 2018

Rank #18

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Patreon: Jack Conte and Sam Yam

As part of the band Pomplamoose, musician Jack Conte had a sizeable fan base in the late 2000s and was making thousands of dollars a month from iTunes sales. But when streaming services like Spotify took over the music scene, Jack's income dwindled. So he called up his college roommate Sam Yam, who had spent his post-college years launching startup after startup. Together, Sam and Jack created Patreon, a platform where artists' most passionate fans can sponsor them for just a few dollars a month. Following a Covid-era surge in new members, Patreon is now valued at over a billion dollars and supports over 200,000 musicians, artists, and content creators. Order the How I Built This book at: https://smarturl.it/HowIBuiltThis

1hr 27mins

11 Jan 2021

Rank #19

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Live Episode! Beyond Meat: Ethan Brown

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 11,000 stores nationwide. Recorded live in Anaheim, CA.


16 Feb 2017

Rank #20