Rank #1: Thomas Keller
Chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller bought the French Laundry, a restaurant in Napa Valley California, and turned it into one of the leading fine dining establishments in the world. The French Laundry and Per Se, located in the Time Warner Center in New York City, have both been awarded three Michelin Stars. Thomas has won consecutive “Best Chef” awards from the James Beard Foundation and “Chef of the Year” award by the Culinary Institute of America, among other accolades. He is the author of multiple cookbooks, including The French Laundry, Bouchon, Under Pressure, and Ad Hoc at Home.
Thomas speaks with Jessica Harris about how he launched his collection of restaurants, from scratch.
Jan 21 2016
Rank #2: Emily Weiss
Glossier is an online beauty company that launched on Instagram in 2014. Emily is also the founder of Into the Gloss, an online community dedicated to beauty. Visitors get tips on skin, hair, makeup, and learn the beauty routines of leading members of the cosmetic and fashion industries.
Emily speaks with Jessica Harris about how she launched her beauty blog and skin products company, from scratch.
Feb 22 2018
Rank #3: Paul Farmer
Paul has been committed to disease and poverty reduction since his early twenties. Partners in Health, started in Haiti in the 1980s, provides health care to the world’s poorest communities. Paul launched the organization while he was a student at Harvard Medical School.
Jessica Harris speaks with Paul about how he has helped to reshape the public health landscape, from scratch.
Nov 22 2012
Rank #4: Patrick Collison
Stripe is a financial software company that helps businesses manage their online and mobile transactions. Patrick started Stripe in 2009 when he was 21 years old with his younger brother, John. He is originally from Dromineer, Ireland, which has a population of roughly 70 people.
Patrick speaks with Jessica Harris about how he launched Stripe, from scratch.
Jul 04 2019
Rank #5: Mike Krieger
Instagram is a photo sharing app that was released through the Apple App Store in October, 2010 and reached one million users in just three months. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for one billion dollars. Mike and his partner, Kevin Systrom, are both graduates of Stanford University.
Mike speaks with Jessica Harris about how he launched Instagram, from scratch.
May 31 2018
Rank #6: Neil Blumenthal
Warby Parker is an online eyeglass retailer that sells low cost vintage inspired glasses. For each pair sold, Warby Parker provides a pair of glasses to low income people in more than 36 countries through non-profit partners like VisionSpring. VisionSpring trains female entrepreneurs to give eye exams and sell glasses in their communities. Neil co-founded Warby Parker with three classmates from Wharton Business School.
Neil speaks with Jessica Harris about how he is helping to change the optical industry landscape by making attractive glasses more affordable to everyone, from scratch.
Oct 05 2017
Rank #7: Orion Hindawi
Tanium is a cybersecurity company that focuses on providing internet safety for the US government and Fortune 500 companies. Clients include Amazon, Target, Best Buy and the Department of Defense. Orion started Tanium with his father David.
Orion speaks with Jessica Harris about how he launched Tanium, from scratch.
Aug 30 2018
Rank #8: Essie Weingarten
Essie started her eponymous brand in 1981 with $10,000 after working in the hosiery business. When Essie launched, there were very few companies making nail polish, and nail salons were rare. Essie nail polish is now available in roughly 25,000 salons in more than 100 countries. The company was bought by L’Oreal in 2010.
Essie speaks with Jessica Harris about how she launched Essie, from scratch.
May 30 2019
Rank #9: Nancy Lublin
When you’re preparing for a job interview, you want to put your best foot forward. But sometimes there’s a catch 22 when it comes to what to wear: How do you afford a suit if you don’t have a job, and how do you get the job if you’re not wearing professional clothes? Jessica speaks with Nancy Lublin, founder of Dress for Success, an organization that provides clothes to unemployed women for job interviews.
Nancy describes how she launched Dress for Success and helped thousands of women get jobs, from scratch.
May 30 2011
Rank #10: Andy Goldsworthy
Some sculptors work with materials like bronze or marble, which last forever; but others build sculptures made of ice or snow, which last only a few moments. Who are some of the sculptors producing ephemeral art? Jessica speaks with one such pioneer, Andy Goldsworthy.
Andy’s outdoor sculptures have been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, The National Gallery in Washington DC, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. Andy discusses how he has built a successful life building sculptures outdoors, and from scratch.
Dec 18 2014
Rank #11: Daniel Lubetzky
KIND is a food company that produces sweet and savory bars with whole nuts, spices, and fruit, among other products. KIND is sold in a diverse array of locations including Whole Foods, Walmart, convenience stores and newspaper stands. Daniel launched KIND in 2003. Daniel is also the founder of PeaceWorks, which sells Mediterranean spreads. PeaceWorks aims to foster peaceful relationships among neighbors in the Middle East and other groups in conflict through joint business ventures.
Daniel speaks with Jessica Harris about how he launched KIND, from scratch.
Sep 27 2019
Rank #12: Luis von Ahn
Luis is an inventor and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon. He is one of the creators of CAPTCHA, a system that allows websites to determine whether you’re a human or a computer. CAPTCHAs are wavy, distorted words that people need to type out when they’re submitting a form to a website. Luis’ company ReCAPTCHA proved users were humans while also digitizing books. The company was sold to Google in 2009. He also founded the language learning app Duolingo, attracting over 150 million users in its first four years. Luis won a Macarthur Genius Grant in 2006.
Luis speaks with Jessica Harris about how he launched ReCaptcha and Duolingo, from scratch.
Apr 04 2019
Rank #13: Tristan Walker
Walker & Company makes beauty and health products for people of color. Prior, Tristan was the first African American entrepreneur in residence at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He is also the founder of Code2040, a program that connects Black and Latino coders with Silicon Valley startups for summer internships.
Tristan speaks with Jessica Harris about how he built Walker & Company, from scratch.
Apr 11 2019
Rank #14: Rob Kalin
Rob Kalin initially started Etsy—the online marketplace for handmade goods—as a way to sell his own furniture in 2005. The company has become a vehicle for more than one million artisans who sell their products—ranging from knit-wear to musical instruments to clocks—through the site.
Rob speaks with Jessica Harris about how he built Etsy, from scratch.
Jun 11 2015
Rank #15: Greg Lambrecht
Coravin produces a device that accesses wine without removing the cork. Through a medical grade needle, the Coravin System extracts a portion of the wine and replaces it with argon gas.
Greg is also a medical device inventor who founded Intrinsic Therapeutics, a company focused on spinal disorders. Greg is a graduate of MIT and has degrees in nuclear and mechanical engineering.
Greg speaks with Jessica Harris about how he was able to repurpose his expertise in the medical world to create his wine access technology, from scratch.
Jun 01 2017
Rank #16: Kevin Ryan
Kevin is an internet entrepreneur who has led innovation in the online advertising and e-commerce space since the late 1990s. Kevin was the CEO of DoubleClick, the advertising serving company that was eventually sold to Google for $3.5 Billion. Kevin has since founded a number of internet companies including Gilt Groupe, a luxury e-commerce community, 10Gen, an open source database company, and Business Insider, an online news site for the technology and media industries.
Kevin speaks to Jessica Harris about how he has built a career around internet innovation, from scratch.
Apr 18 2013
Rank #17: Michael Dubin
Dollar Shave Club is a membership club for men’s grooming products. The company started delivering razors in 2011 for less than $10 per month. DSC now offers a range of bathroom products from hair gel to body cleanser.
Michael speaks with Jessica Harris about how he started DSC, from scratch.
May 03 2018
Rank #18: David Kelley
IDEO is a global design firm that takes a human-centered approach to innovation. IDEO has helped to innovate products including Apple’s first computer mouse in 1980, the first stand-up toothpaste for Procter and Gamble, surgical tools for Medtronic, and furniture for Steelcase. The company also helps governments and social organizations innovate internationally.
David speaks to Jessica Harris about how he pioneered design thinking, from scratch.
Mar 16 2018
Rank #19: Kelly Flatley & Brendan Synnott
There are more and more students graduating from college looking to become entrepreneurs. But where do they start? What kind of business should it be? Where will they get the funding without a track record? Jessica speaks with two pioneers who launched their natural food company when they were recent college grads. Kelly and Brendan started Bear Naked, a line of granola and cereal that’s available across the United States. They explain how they managed to build a multi-million dollar food company, from scratch.
Aug 07 2011
Rank #20: David Karp
David developed an interest in computer programming when he was 11 years old. Instead of finishing high school he started working, and innovating, in the online community. Tumblr is a leading micro blogging and social media tool where creators can upload images, video, audio clips and bursts of text. The site– with more than 50 million creators serving 140 million people monthly– was an outgrowth of David’s own interest in improving his personal online expression. The company was sold to Yahoo in May, 2013 for $1.1 Billion.
David speaks with Jessica Harris about how he built Tumblr, from scratch.
May 07 2015