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July 15, 2019
EO Products: Susan Griffin-Black & Brad Black
In the early 1990s, Susan Griffin-Black was working for Esprit in San Francisco. On a business trip to London, she walked into a Covent Garden apothecary shop, picked up a bottle of lavender oil and took a whiff. The aroma — "like being in a beautiful garden" — literally changed her life. That was the inspiration to develop her own line of essential oil products. For 15 years, she and her husband and co-founder Brad Black barely scraped by, but the business eventually thrived. And though their marriage ultimately ended, their partnership continues. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," Lia Heifetz of Barnacle Foods describes how she and her partners turned Alaskan bull kelp into pickles and salsa.
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62 min
July 8, 2019
Teach For America: Wendy Kopp
In 1989, college senior Wendy Kopp was trying to figure out how to improve public education in the US. For her senior thesis, she proposed creating a national teaching corps that would recruit recent college grads to teach in needy schools. One year later, she launched the nonprofit, Teach for America. Today, TFA has close to 60,000 alumni and continues to place thousands of teachers across the country. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with 19-year-old CEO Abby Kircher who turned a peanut butter obsession into Abby's Better Nut Butter.
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46 min
July 1, 2019
Dave's Killer Bread: Dave Dahl
Dave Dahl's entrepreneurial journey began in prison. In 1987, he was addicted to drugs and incarcerated for home burglary. For 15 years he bounced from one sentence to the next. But in the mid-2000s, Dave returned to his family bakery where he was inspired to make bread – organic, nutty, and slightly sweet. He sold the loaves at farmers markets and shared his story of recovery on the package – a branding decision that attracted fans and media attention. In 2015, the Dahl family sold the business for $275 million dollars. Today, Dave's Killer Bread sells over a dozen types of bread in grocery stores nationwide. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," armpit entrepreneurs Jason and Erica Feucht tell us how they turned whiskey and vodka into the natural deodorant Pit Liquor.
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69 min
June 24, 2019
Yelp: Jeremy Stoppelman
In 2004, two former Paypal engineers, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russ Simmons, were spit-balling new internet ideas. Out of their brainstorm came a site where you would email your friends asking for local business recommendations. The launch was a flop, but they discovered that people seemed to enjoy writing reviews not just for friends, but for the general public. Fifteen years later, Yelp is a publicly traded company with more than 4,000 employees and over 140 million monthly visitors. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," Liz Bales explains how putting cat food inside plastic mice became her full-time business and why it could revolutionize the way humans feed their cats.
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62 min
June 17, 2019
Chesapeake Bay Candle: Mei Xu
Twenty-five years ago, after 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 multi-million dollar company Chesapeake Bay Candle. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz, who turned up-cycled beer grain into a snack bar called ReGrained.
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44 min
June 10, 2019
Allbirds: Tim Brown & Joey Zwillinger
Growing up, Tim Brown discovered he was very good at two things: design and soccer. While playing professional soccer in New Zealand, he was turned off by the flashy logos on most athletic gear. He started making simple canvas shoes for his teammates, but soon discovered a better material: soft merino wool from his country's plentiful sheep. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, his future business partner Joey Zwillinger was frustrated that most companies lacked a genuine commitment to sustainability. In 2015, Tim and Joey teamed up to create Allbirds, a company with two ambitious goals: create the world's most comfortable shoes, and do it in a way that was completely carbon-neutral. Today, just three years after launch, Allbirds is worth $1.4 billion. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Kirby Erdely saw a problem with flying beach umbrellas and developed a new kind of tent stake—with a twist.
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71 min
June 3, 2019
Live Episode! Tofurky: Seth Tibbott
Seth Tibbott may be the only founder in the world who grew his business while living in a barn, a teepee, and a treehouse. His off-the-grid lifestyle helped him save money as he started to sell tempeh, a protein made of fermented soybeans. Throughout the 1980s he barely scraped by, but things took a turn in 1995, when he discovered a stuffed tofu roast made in Portland, Oregon. Knowing vegetarians had few options at Thanksgiving, Seth named the roast Tofurky and started selling it at co-ops in the Pacific Northwest. Nearly 25 years later, Tofurky sells plant-based protein around the world, and has estimated sales of $40 million a year. Recorded live in Portland, Oregon.
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48 min
May 27, 2019
Stacy's Pita Chips: Stacy Madison
In the 1990's, Stacy Madison and her boyfriend Mark Andrus were selling pita sandwiches from a converted hot dog cart in Boston. They decided to bake the leftover pita into chips, adding a dash of parmesan or cinnamon-sugar. At first they handed them out for free, but soon discovered that people were happy to pay for them. So they eventually decided to leave the sandwich cart behind and launch Stacy's Pita Chips. They hoped the brand might grow into a modest regional business—but it kept growing. Roughly ten years after the launch, Stacy's sold to PepsiCo for $250 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Prerak Juthani and some friends from college took organic chemistry to the next level with REACT!, a board game that aims to demystify the stigma of molecular science.
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66 min
May 20, 2019
Zappos: Tony Hsieh
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).
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34 min
May 13, 2019
Belkin International: Chet Pipkin
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.
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54 min
May 6, 2019
Framebridge: Susan Tynan
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)
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60 min
April 29, 2019
Live Episode! Peloton: John Foley
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.
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56 min
April 22, 2019
Bumble: Whitney Wolfe
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)
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44 min
April 15, 2019
Men's Wearhouse: George Zimmer
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.
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65 min
April 8, 2019
Chez Panisse: Alice Waters
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.
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62 min
April 1, 2019
Springfree Trampoline: Keith Alexander & Steve Holmes
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.
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63 min
March 25, 2019
Compaq Computers: Rod Canion
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).
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41 min
March 18, 2019
Away: Jen Rubio
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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68 min
March 11, 2019
Logic: Logic & Chris Zarou
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.
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74 min
March 4, 2019
Squarespace: Anthony Casalena
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.
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55 min
February 25, 2019
Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher
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.
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46 min
February 18, 2019
Burt's Bees: Roxanne Quimby
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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60 min
February 11, 2019
TOMS: Blake Mycoskie
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 for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Dillon Hill, who built Gamers Gift to help bedbound and disabled patients enjoy a wide range of places and experiences through virtual reality.
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56 min
February 4, 2019
JetBlue Airways: David Neeleman
In the mid-90s, David Neeleman wanted to launch a new airline. He had already co-created a regional airline out of Salt Lake City that was acquired by Southwest. And despite his admiration of Southwest's business model, Neeleman felt there was a market for a different kind of budget airline. He envisioned flights to cities other budget airlines avoided and excellent customer service, with high-tech amenities. In 2000, he launched JetBlue and in its first year, the company flew over 1 million people, and cultivated a loyal customer following. Then came the 2007 Valentine's Day ice storm. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Lisa Dalton turned a relationship mishap into a game-changing braille label that solves a daily problem for blind consumers.
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70 min
January 28, 2019
Canva: Melanie Perkins
When she was just 19 years old, Melanie Perkins dreamt of transforming the graphic design and publishing industries. But she started small, launching a site to make yearbook design simpler and more collaborative. Her success with that first venture — and an unexpected meeting with a VC investor — eventually landed her the backing to pursue her original idea, and the chance to take on software industry titans like Adobe and Microsoft. Today, Melanie's online design platform Canva is valued at over $1 billion, joining the list of Australia's "unicorn" companies. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Tristan Corriveau collected used bars of soap from a hotel and recycled them into liquid soap with The One Gallon Soap Company.
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49 min
January 21, 2019
Bonobos: Andy Dunn
When Andy Dunn was in business school, his housemate Brian Spaly created a new type of men's pants: stylish, tailored trousers that fit well in both the hips and thighs. Together, they started the men's clothing company Bonobos, which became an instant hit due to the pants' signature flair and innovative e-commerce experience. But within a few years, Andy hit challenging roadblocks, including a struggle with depression and a falling-out with his co-founder and friend. Despite many moments of crisis, Andy steered Bonobos to massive success, and in 2017, it was acquired by Walmart for a reported $310 million. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Amy and Brady King created an easy-to-assemble portable shelter meant to provide natural disaster relief and help house people experiencing homelessness.
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71 min
January 14, 2019
Five Guys: Jerry Murrell
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 more than 1,500 locations worldwide and is one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in America. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Hannah England, who turned a common parenting problem into Wash. It. Later. — a water-tight bag for soaking soiled baby clothes before they stain. (Original broadcast date: June 5, 2017)
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39 min
January 7, 2019
SoulCycle: Julie Rice & Elizabeth Cutler
Before Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice met, they shared a common belief: New York City gyms didn't have the kind of exercise classes they craved, and each of them wanted to change that. A fitness instructor introduced them over lunch in 2005, and before the meal was done they were set on opening a stationary bike studio, with a chic and aspirational vibe. A few months later, the first SoulCycle opened in upper Manhattan. Today, SoulCycle has cultivated a near-tribal devotion among its clients, with studios across the United States and Canada. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how "kid-preneur" Gabrielle Goodwin and her mom Rozalynn invented a double-face double snap barrette that doesn't slip out of little girls' hair, no matter how much they play around.
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57 min
January 4, 2019
Remembering Herb Kelleher
The co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, has died. He was 87. We are grateful Herb shared his story with us in 2016. We are republishing it as a tribute to his life and career, in which he transformed the US airline industry. More than 50 years ago, 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 is the country's largest domestic airline.
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31 min
December 31, 2018
Kickstarter: Perry Chen
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 crowdfunding creative projects. Today Kickstarter has funded over 155,000 projects worldwide. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Dustin Hogard who co-designed a survival belt that's full of tiny gadgets and thin enough to wear every day. (Original Broadcast Date: July 31, 2017.)
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42 min
December 24, 2018
The Chipmunks: Ross Bagdasarian Jr. & Janice Karman
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 Chipmunks into a billion dollar media franchise – run out of their home in Santa Barbara, California. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Alexander Van Dewark, who created a portable mat that helps people mix cement without a wheelbarrow or a paddle. (Original Broadcast Date: September 18, 2017.)
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60 min
December 20, 2018
Lisa Price Of Carol's Daughter At The HIBT Summit
It's our final episode in our series from this year's How I Built This Summit! Today, we're featuring Lisa Price of the beauty brand Carol's Daughter. When Lisa sat down with Guy Raz in October, she described how her business expanded well beyond her Brooklyn kitchen. As it grew, she decided "not to sit at the head of the table," and deferred to the experts. She later came to regret that.
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19 min
December 17, 2018
Live Episode! Dollar Shave Club: Michael Dubin
At the end of 2010, Michael Dubin was working in marketing when he met a guy named Mark Levine at a holiday party. Mark was looking for ideas to get rid of a massive pile of razors he had sitting in a California warehouse. Michael's spontaneous idea for an internet razor subscription service grew into Dollar Shave Club, and his background in improv helped him make a viral video to generate buzz for the new brand. Just five years after launch, Unilever acquired Dollar Shave Club for a reported $1 billion. Recorded live in Los Angeles.
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51 min
December 13, 2018
Stitch Fix's Katrina Lake At The HIBT Summit
Today we have another live episode from the How I Built This Summit, featuring Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix. Katrina sat down with Guy Raz in front of a live audience in San Francisco in October to discuss building culture at a billion-dollar company, and why it's important – even for the CEO – to "rehire" yourself every year. We have one more episode from the Summit coming up next Thursday; stay tuned for Guy's conversation with Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter.
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15 min
December 10, 2018
Burton Snowboards: Jake Carpenter
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 perfect ride. He eventually helped launch an entirely new sport, while building the largest snowboard brand in the world. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Jane Och, who solved the problem of guacamole turning brown by designing a container that removes air pockets: the Guac-Lock. (Original broadcast date: October 23, 2017)
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48 min
December 6, 2018
Airbnb's Joe Gebbia At The HIBT Summit
Next in our series of episodes from the How I Built This Summit: Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb. Joe sat down with Guy Raz in front of a live audience in San Francisco, and talked about why he and his co-founders pursued their idea despite overwhelming feedback that it would never work. We're publishing another two episodes from the Summit – so keep checking your podcast feed every Thursday.
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17 min
December 3, 2018
ActOne Group: Janice Bryant Howroyd
In the late 1970s Janice Bryant Howroyd moved to Los Angeles and began temping as a secretary. She soon realized there were many other young people in situations similar to hers. So with $1,500 in her pocket, Janice rented an office in Beverly Hills and created the staffing company ACT-1. Today, ActOne Group is an international workforce management company, making Janice Bryant Howroyd the first African-American woman to own a billion-dollar business. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Ofer and Helene Webman developed a device that can change the way an acoustic guitar sounds without bulky pedals and amps.
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52 min
November 29, 2018
Lyft's John Zimmer At The HIBT Summit
Next up in our series of episodes from the How I Built This Summit: John Zimmer, co-founder of Lyft. John sat down with Guy Raz in front of a live audience in San Francisco last month to talk about Lyft's visions for the future of transportation – and their fierce competition with Uber. Coming up next month: three more episodes from the Summit – so keep checking your podcast feed every Thursday.
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18 min
November 26, 2018
Live Episode! Glossier: Emily Weiss
In 2010, while working as a fashion assistant at Vogue, Emily Weiss started a beauty blog called Into The Gloss. She quickly attracted a following of devoted readers hooked on the blog's intimate snapshots of style makers' beauty routines. Within a few years, Emily realized her readers were hungry for a new beauty brand, one that listened to them directly, and understood their lives. Without any prior business experience, she won over investors and found the perfect chemist to create Glossier, a line of beauty and skincare products with a focus on simplicity. Today, just four years after launch, Glossier is valued at an estimated $400 million. Recorded live in New York City.
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52 min
November 22, 2018
Method's Adam Lowry And Eric Ryan At The HIBT Summit
This episode from the How I Built This Summit features Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, co-founders of Method cleaning products. Adam and Eric joined Guy Raz live on stage at the Summit in San Francisco, to talk the highs and lows of their business partnership. Every Thursday until mid-December, we'll be releasing more episodes from the Summit – so keep checking your podcast feed.
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16 min
November 19, 2018
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," we check back in with Steve Humble, whose company Creative Home Engineering makes hidden secret passageways in people's homes ... just like in the movies. (Original broadcast date: May 15, 2017.)
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46 min
November 15, 2018
Rent The Runway's Jenn Hyman At The HIBT Summit
Our first episode from the How I Built This Summit features Jenn Hyman, co-founder of Rent The Runway, a designer clothing rental service that pulls in $100 million a year. When Jenn sat down with Guy Raz for a live interview at the Summit in San Francisco, she shared her long term strategy for launching the company in phases, plus her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Every Thursday until mid-December, we'll be releasing episodes from the Summit – so keep checking your podcast feed.
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15 min
November 12, 2018
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.
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52 min
November 5, 2018
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.)
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49 min
October 29, 2018
Betterment: Jon Stein
When Jon Stein realized he couldn't stand the sight of blood, he gave up the idea of becoming a doctor. Instead, he went into finance, but soon grew restless with "helping banks make more money." So he decided to build a business where he could help everyday investors make more money: an online service that would use a combination of algorithms and human advisers. Jon launched Betterment at a precarious time — shortly after the financial crash of 2008. But today, the company has roughly 13 billion dollars under management. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Gerry Stellenberg combined his knack for technology and his love for pinball to create the P3: a pinball machine that allows a real-life ball to interact with virtual objects.
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56 min
October 22, 2018
Tempur-Pedic: Bobby Trussell
At age 40, Bobby Trussell's promising career in horse racing hit a dead end. With bills to pay and a family to support, he stumbled across a curious product that turned into a lifeline: squishy-squashy memory foam. He jumped at the chance to distribute Swedish memory foam pillows and mattresses to Americans. Tempur-Pedic USA began by selling to chiropractors and specialty stores, providing one of the first alternatives to spring mattresses. Today, the company is one of the largest bedding providers in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Christopher Rannefors created BatBnB: a sleek wooden box that hangs on your house and provides a home for mosquito-eating bats.
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63 min
October 15, 2018
Rent The Runway: Jenn Hyman
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 retail price. As the company grew, they dealt with problems that many female entrepreneurs face, including patronizing investors and sexual harassment. Despite these challenges, Rent The Runway now rents dresses to nearly six million women and has a reported annual revenue of $100 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Monica Mizrachi and her son Solomon who built EzPacking, a business that sells sets of clear squishy plastic packing cubes. (Original broadcast date: August 7, 2017.)
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57 min
October 8, 2018
method: Adam Lowry & Eric Ryan
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 Eric worked on making sleek bottles that looked good on a kitchen counter. Just a few years later, Adam and Eric were selling Method cleaning products in stores throughout the country, after a bold gamble got them on the shelves of Target. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Loren and Lisa Poncia turned a 100 year-old family business into an organic beef supplier: Stemple Creek Ranch.
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57 min
October 1, 2018
Cisco Systems & Urban Decay: Sandy Lerner
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 plumbing of the Internet. But when things turned sour at the company, she was forced to leave, giving her the chance to start something entirely new: an edgy line of cosmetics called Urban Decay. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Justin Li created a solution for staying cool and hydrated in the heat with IcePlate.
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61 min
September 24, 2018
Power Rangers: Haim Saban
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 mega-hit Mighty Morphin Power Rangers put him on track to becoming a billionaire media titan. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Chris Waters who created Constructed Adventures, elaborate scavenger hunts for all occasions. (Original broadcast date: March 27, 2017.)
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44 min
September 17, 2018
Bobbi Brown Cosmetics: Bobbi Brown
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 Brown Cosmetics and Bobbi remained there for 22 years, until she realized the brand was no longer the one she had built. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Emma Cohen and Miles Pepper saw a problem with plastics and developed a collapsible, reusable drinking straw.
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53 min
September 10, 2018
Live Episode! New Belgium Brewing Company: Kim Jordan
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 Belgium, so they named their company New Belgium, and launched a beer with the whimsical name, Fat Tire. Today, New Belgium Brewing Company is one of the largest craft brewers in the U.S., and Kim Jordan remains one of the few women founders in a male-dominated industry. Recorded live in Boulder, Colorado.
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46 min
September 3, 2018
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.)
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53 min
August 27, 2018
TRX: Randy Hetrick
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 straps dangle from the ceiling in gyms across the country and are standard workout gear for professional athletes. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with a husband-and-wife team who experimented with fruit, spices and vinegar and came up with a gourmet ketchup line called 'Chups. (Original broadcast date: June 26, 2017).
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44 min
August 20, 2018
Angie's List: Angie Hicks
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 in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Joel Crites who created the app Micro Fantasy, where fans can make predictions about what will happen next in a baseball game. (Original broadcast date: November 28, 2016)
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33 min
August 13, 2018
Live Episode! RXBAR: Peter Rahal
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 bar. They made the first RXBAR in a Cuisinart in Peter's parents' home in suburban Chicago. By 2016, RXBAR was doing over $36 million in sales, and in November 2017, the founders sold the company to Kellogg's for $600 million. Recorded live in Chicago.
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48 min
August 6, 2018
Carol's Daughter: Lisa Price
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 African-American women. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back in with Aiden Emilio who, along with her husband Jesse, created RexSpecs — UV-protecting goggles for dogs.
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43 min
July 30, 2018
Slack & Flickr: Stewart Butterfield
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 acquired by Yahoo in 2005, Butterfield went back to the online game idea, only to fail again. But the office messaging platform Slack rose from the ashes of that second failure — a company which, today, is valued at over $5 billion. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," how a peanut butter obsession turned teenager Abby Kircher into a CEO before she was old enough to drive.
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64 min
July 23, 2018
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.
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34 min
July 16, 2018
Steve Madden: Steve Madden
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 high-end look at affordable prices. As his business – and his ambitions — began to grow, he got involved in a securities fraud scheme and wound up serving two and-a-half years in prison. In 2005, he returned to Steve Madden, where he helped the company grow into a business valued at $3 billion. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Chris Dimino turned a school design project into the Keyboard Waffle Iron, which makes waffles in the shape of a computer keyboard.
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52 min
July 9, 2018
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," an update with Melanie Colón, a frustrated renter who created an easier way to communicate with noisy neighbors, called Apt App. (Original broadcast date: May 8, 2017)
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38 min
July 2, 2018
Chicken Salad Chick: Stacy Brown
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 selling it out of a basket, door-to-door. She eventually turned that home operation into Chicken Salad Chick, and took her recipes to cities across the U.S. Today, Chicken Salad Chick is one of the fastest growing companies in the country. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Dan Kurzrock and Jordan Schwartz up-cycled beer grain into ReGrained nutrition bars.
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57 min
June 25, 2018
Lyft: John Zimmer
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 fixture of American urban living. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," an update with Kyle Ewing, who almost set fire to his living room making Terraslate, a tough waterproof paper.
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42 min
June 18, 2018
Lululemon Athletica: Chip Wilson
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 multibillion-dollar brand Lululemon Athletica, spawning a new fashion trend and forever changing what women wear at the gym. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Mike Sorentino developed the EyePatch Case, an iPhone case that cleans and protects the phone's built-in cameras.
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53 min
June 11, 2018
Honest Tea: Seth Goldman
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 with Jaya Iyer for an update on Svaha Inc., a unique apparel brand that focuses on STEM-themed clothing for babies, kids, and adults. (Original broadcast date: January 16, 2017)
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31 min
June 5, 2018
Remembering Kate Spade
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 at a Mexican restaurant, when Andy asked Kate, "What's missing in designer handbags?" Kate's answer was a simple modern-shaped handbag that launched the iconic fashion brand.
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36 min
June 4, 2018
Minted: Mariam Naficy
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 all over the world. Today Minted is one of the biggest crowdsourcing platforms on the Internet. PLUS for our postscript, "How You Built That," how Vanessa and Casey White turned their grandfather's pierogi recipe into Jaju Pierogi.
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51 min
May 28, 2018
Lady Gaga & Atom Factory: Troy Carter
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 investment opportunities with his company Atom Factory. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Robyn Gerber for an update on Parkarr, a mobile app that helps drivers find street-parking.
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49 min
May 21, 2018
Bob's Red Mill: Bob Moore
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 boom. Today, Bob's Red Mill has grown into a $100 million business – and at nearly 90, Bob goes to work at the mill every day. PLUS, for our postscript, "How You Built That," how Mike Bolos and Jason Grohowski created the portable desk, Deskview.
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46 min
May 14, 2018
Real Estate Mogul: Barbara Corcoran
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 as a shark – on Shark Tank. PLUS, for our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Aryel Rivero and Vanessa Clavijo for an update on their business, Gift Wrap My Face, which designs and prints custom gift wrapping featuring the faces of people you love. (Original broadcast date: April 24, 2017)
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52 min
May 7, 2018
Stripe: Patrick and John Collison
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 founders of Stripe, a software company that uses just a few lines of code to power the payment system of companies like Lyft, Warby Parker and Target. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Robert Armstrong turned his grandma's cookie recipe into "G Mommas," buttery, bite-sized pecan-chocolate-chip cookies that are now sold in stores across the Southeast U.S.
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43 min
April 30, 2018
Panera Bread/Au Bon Pain: Ron Shaich
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 new kind of eating experience, between fast food and restaurant dining. Today, Panera Bread has over 2,000 stores, and $5 billion in annual sales. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Tyson Walters got so tired of his St. Bernard shedding everywhere that he created the Shed Defender, a zip-up body suit for dogs that captures loose hair.
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43 min
April 23, 2018
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. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Nick Gilson for an update on his company, Gilson Snowboards, a snowboard & ski company based in Pennsylvania. (Original broadcast date: October 24, 2016)
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41 min
April 16, 2018
Wayfair: Niraj Shah & Steve Conine
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 online to get a wider selection. Within a few years, Niraj and Steve launched 250 different websites, selling everything from barstools to birdhouses. Eventually, they consolidated these sites into one giant brand: Wayfair. The company now carries more than 10 million items for home and last year brought in more than $4 billion in sales. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That," how Carin Luna-Ostaseski fell in love with scotch and became the first American woman to create a Scotch whisky company.
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48 min
April 9, 2018
FUBU: Daymond John
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 music. In 1992, he started FUBU (For Us By Us) and began selling hats outside of a local mall. Three years later, FUBU was bringing in $350 million in sales. Today, he's a judge on Shark Tank, and a motivational speaker and author. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That", how Len Testa created an app that uses real-time data to help people avoid long lines at theme parks.
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54 min
April 2, 2018
Stitch Fix: Katrina Lake
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 the guesswork out of shopping. Today, it has over two million customers and brings in nearly a billion dollars in annual revenue. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That", how Brian Sonia-Wallace built "Rent Poet" — a poem-on-demand service for weddings, corporate gatherings, and other events.
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53 min
March 26, 2018
Atari & Chuck E. Cheese's: Nolan Bushnell
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 update on H2OPS, a non-alcoholic take on craft-brewed – a fragrant sparkling water made with hops. (Original broadcast date: February 27, 2017)
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51 min
March 19, 2018
LÄRABAR: Lara Merriken
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 company was bringing in millions in revenue. In 2008, she sold to General Mills, but stayed on to help grow LÄRABAR into one of the biggest energy bar brands in the U.S. Plus, for our postscript "How You Built That", how two brothers from Guinea, West Africa founded a company that makes Ginjan, a spicy-sweet juice from their boyhood, which mixes pineapple and ginger.
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55 min
March 12, 2018
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 for our postscript "How You Built That," how Michael Dixon's business, Mobile Vinyl Recorders, uses portable record lathes to cut vinyl at parties, weddings, and music festivals.
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56 min
March 5, 2018
1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore
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 annual revenue. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," an update on Bloomerent, an online service that helps couples save wedding costs by letting them share flower arrangements on the same weekend. (Original broadcast date: April 17, 2017)
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41 min
February 28, 2018
Live Episode! Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams: Jeni Britton Bauer
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 Creams, a company that now has more than 30 stores nationally and touts unique flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Lemon Buttermilk. Recorded live in Columbus, Ohio.
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48 min
February 26, 2018
Wikipedia: Jimmy Wales
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 could contribute, edit, and monitor content on just about anything. Today, the non-profit has stayed true to its open source roots and is the fifth most visited website in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Florence Wetterwald created Blabla dolls – eco-friendly knitted dolls made in Peru.
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43 min
February 19, 2018
Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal
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 Bellyak, a kayak where you lie on your belly and paddle with your hands. (Original broadcast date: December 26, 2016)
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32 min
February 12, 2018
Dyson: James Dyson
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 invention, but most wouldn't even take his calls. Eventually, he started his own company. Today, Dyson is one of the best-selling vacuum brands in the world, and James Dyson is a billionaire. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Theresa Stotesbury made a business out of fake blood — a synthetic material that helps create a realistic crime scene for police training.
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44 min
February 5, 2018
Melissa & Doug: Melissa And Doug Bernstein
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 The Cut Buddy, a stencil device that helps you cut your own hair. (Original broadcast date: December 19, 2016)
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39 min
January 29, 2018
Dell Computers: Michael Dell
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 of school to focus on the PC business. At age of 27, he became the youngest CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. Today, Dell has sold more than 650 million computers. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Hannah England turned a common parenting problem into Wash. It. Later. — a water-tight bag for soaking soiled baby clothes before they stain.
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50 min
January 22, 2018
Serial Entrepreneur: Marcia Kilgore
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. Then she taught herself to give facials, and eventually started her own spa and skincare line, Bliss. The spa became so popular that it was booked months in advance with a list of celebrity clientele. After selling her shares in Bliss, Marcia went on to start four new successful companies: Soap & Glory, FitFlop, Soaper Duper, and Beauty Pie. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Steve Kral has created a successful business fulfilling a very particular niche: selling TV remotes for outdated television sets.
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54 min
January 15, 2018
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.
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43 min
January 8, 2018
Kate Spade: Kate & Andy Spade
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 modern-shaped handbag that launched the iconic fashion brand. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Dennis Darnell and his line of garbage can fly traps.
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41 min
January 1, 2018
Clif Bar: Gary Erickson
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 popular energy bars in the U.S. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Alec Avedessian about Rareform, his line of bags made out of old highway billboards.
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33 min
December 28, 2017
Live Episode! The Home Depot: Arthur Blank
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 flopped on opening day, but went on to become one of the biggest private employers in the U.S. The Home Depot now earns annual revenue of almost $100 billion. Recorded live in Atlanta.
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33 min
December 25, 2017
Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard
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 philosophy about business, leadership and profit. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Brett Johnson of Firedrops — cayenne pepper lozenges.
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28 min
December 18, 2017
LearnVest: Alexa von Tobel
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 founded LearnVest, a tool that simplifies financial planning and investing. Within three years, the company was providing support to millions of customers. In 2015, she sold LearnVest for a rumored $250 million. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Dillon Hill built Gamers Gift to help bed-bound and disabled patients enjoy a wide range of places and experiences —through virtual reality.
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41 min
December 14, 2017
Live Episode! Black Entertainment Television: Robert Johnson
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 touchstone. In 2001, he sold BET to Viacom for $2.3 billion, making him the first African-American billionaire in US history. Recorded live in Washington, D.C.
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42 min
December 11, 2017
Tom's Of Maine: Tom Chappell
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 environment. When he sold the company three decades later, Tom's of Maine had become one of the largest natural products brands in the world. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Paul Kaster, who two years ago started a company that makes wooden bowties, and is now starting Carbon Cravat — which makes bowties out of carbon fiber.
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38 min
December 4, 2017
Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman
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 students, it was more fun than work — and it eventually grew into one of the biggest fitness brands in the world. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alex McKenzie is hoping to upgrade the menu of your neighborhood ice cream truck by offering exotic flavors, high fat content, plus low-guilt options for the health-conscious.
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42 min
November 27, 2017
Framebridge: Susan Tynan
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 posters and figured there had to be a better way. So she created a mail-order framing company that offers fewer designs at much lower prices. Framebridge is now three years old and still feeling growing pains, but is slowly reshaping the rules of a rigid industry. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alexander Van Dewark created a portable mat that helps people mix cement without a wheelbarrow or a paddle.
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59 min
November 20, 2017
Ben & Jerry's: Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield
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 1981, the regional brand spread across the country after Time magazine called it the "best ice cream in America." Today, Ben & Jerry's is one of the top selling ice cream brands in the world. And, like the original founders, the company doesn't shy away from speaking out on social issues. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", how David Stover and his team at Bureo turn fishing nets into skateboards.
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58 min
November 13, 2017
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.
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33 min
November 6, 2017
Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher
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 for our postscript "How You Built That," how Louisiana butcher Charlie Munford is helping popularize wild boar meat.
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48 min
October 30, 2017
Chipotle: Steve Ells
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. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alexander Harik turned his mom's recipe for za'atar spread—a fragrant Middle Eastern condiment—into Zesty Z: The Za'atar Company.
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52 min
October 23, 2017
Burton Snowboards: Jake Carpenter
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 perfect ride. He eventually helped launch an entirely new sport, while building the largest snowboard brand in the world. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Jane Och solved the problem of guacamole turning brown, with a container that removes air pockets, the Guac-Lock.
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46 min
October 16, 2017
Bumble: Whitney Wolfe
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 new kind of dating app where women make the first move. Today, the Bumble app has been downloaded more than 20 million times. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Michelle Innis invented De-Fishing soap to freshen up her fisherman husband, and how it wound up in WalMart.
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42 min
October 9, 2017
Teach For America: Wendy Kopp
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 later, she launched the nonprofit, Teach for America. Today, TFA has 50,000 alumni, a budget of nearly $300 million, and continues to place thousands of teachers across the country. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how a game of Secret Santa led Chris Waters to create Constructed Adventures, elaborate scavenger hunts for all occasions.
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45 min
October 2, 2017
Stonyfield Yogurt: Gary Hirshberg
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 it grew — into one of the most popular yogurt brands in the US. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Indiana Jones inspired Steve Humble to sell secret passageways for a living.
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61 min
September 28, 2017
Live Episode! Starbucks: Howard Schultz
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 ubiquitous landmark, a "third place" between home and work. Today Starbucks is the third largest restaurant chain in the world, serving about 100 million people a week. Recorded live in Seattle.
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49 min
September 25, 2017
Southwest Airlines: Herb Kelleher
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. Today Southwest Airlines operates nearly 4,000 flights a day. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Monica Mizrachi and her son Solomon built EzPacking, a family business selling packing cubes.
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37 min
September 18, 2017
The Chipmunks: Ross Bagdasarian Jr. & Janice Karman
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 Chipmunks into a billion dollar media franchise – run out of their home in Santa Barbara, California. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Daniel Clark-Webster and his three friends came up with RompHim – a company specializing in male rompers.
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58 min
September 11, 2017
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," how a husband-and-wife team experimented with fruit, spices and vinegar and came up with a gourmet ketchup line called 'Chups.
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48 min
September 4, 2017
VICE: Suroosh Alvi
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 has shaken up the world of journalism. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Kent Sheridan of Voila Coffee, a company aiming to make instant coffee with the quality of a four-dollar pour over.
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40 min
August 31, 2017
Live Episode! Reddit: Alexis Ohanian & Steve Huffman
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 and is valued at 1.8 billion dollars. Recorded live in San Francisco.
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53 min
August 28, 2017
Airbnb: Joe Gebbia
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 biggest hotel chain in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Michael Vennitti of TP Foam, a company that came up with a way to squelch the smell of trash.
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44 min
August 21, 2017
Edible Arrangements: Tariq Farid
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 bloomed into a franchise of nearly 1300 locations with an annual revenue of $600 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how the Seattle-based clothing company, Five12, is making athletic wear out of used coffee grounds.
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49 min
August 14, 2017
Radio One: Cathy Hughes
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 One—the country's largest African-American owned broadcasting company. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Mike Butera, whose digital Instrument One raised a million dollars on Kickstarter.
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38 min
August 7, 2017
Rent The Runway: Jenn Hyman
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 retail price. As the company grew, they dealt with problems that many female entrepreneurs face, including patronizing investors and sexual harassment. Despite these challenges, Rent The Runway now rents dresses to nearly six million women and has an annual revenue of $100 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Dustin Hogard and his business partner designed a survival belt that's full of tiny gadgets and thin enough to wear every day.
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56 min
July 31, 2017
Kickstarter: Perry Chen
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 crowd-funding creative projects. Today Kickstarter has funded over 125,000 projects worldwide. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Kristel Gordon invented a solution for easily stuffing a duvet into its cover – it's called Duvaid.
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43 min
July 27, 2017
Live Episode! BuzzFeed: Jonah Peretti
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 most powerful media organizations of the Internet age: The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. Recorded live in New York City.
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49 min
July 24, 2017
Samuel Adams: Jim Koch
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 Adams, and helped kickstart the craft beer movement in America. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Kaitlin Mogental who is making packaged snacks out of the leftover fruit and veggie pulp from LA juice bars.
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38 min
July 17, 2017
Aden + Anais: Raegan Moya-Jones
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 2006, she started the baby blanket company Aden + Anais, which now makes more than $100 million in annual revenue. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Sam Boyd created Guided Imports, a middleman business to help entrepreneurs find manufacturing and production solutions ... in China.
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43 min
July 10, 2017
Rolling Stone: Jann Wenner
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 indelible mark on rock music and journalism. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Cleveland resident Joel Crites created the app Micro Fantasy, a game where fans can make mini-predictions about what will happen next during a baseball game.
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48 min
July 3, 2017
Spanx: Sara Blakely
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 — and set to work building her business. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Chandra Arthur of the friend-matching app Friendish, and how it was recently featured on the show, Planet of the Apps.
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31 min
June 26, 2017
TRX: Randy Hetrick
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 straps dangle from the ceiling in gyms across the country and are standard workout gear for professional athletes. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Whitney Sokol created SproutFit — adjustable onesies and leggings that grow with your baby.
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44 min
June 19, 2017
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.
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48 min
June 12, 2017
Carol's Daughter: Lisa Price
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 African-American women. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how professional trumpet player Dan Gosling created a special lip balm for musicians called ChopSaver.
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43 min
June 5, 2017
Five Guys: Jerry Murrell
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 more than 1,400 locations worldwide and is one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in America. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Aiden Emilio and her husband created RexSpecs — UV-protecting goggles for dogs.
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36 min
May 29, 2017
TOMS: Blake Mycoskie
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 postscript "How You Built That," how a long-haired Southern Californian, Chris Healy, co-founded The Longhairs and created special hair ties for guys.
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54 min
May 22, 2017
Compaq Computers: Rod Canion
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 That," how frustrated renter Melanie Colón created an easier way to communicate with noisy neighbors, called Apt App.
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40 min
May 15, 2017
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.
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47 min
May 8, 2017
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.
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41 min
May 1, 2017
Lady Gaga & Atom Factory: Troy Carter
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 investment opportunities with his company Atom Factory.
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45 min
April 24, 2017
Real Estate Mogul: Barbara Corcoran
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 as a shark – on Shark Tank.
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52 min
April 17, 2017
1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore
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 annual revenue.
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41 min
April 10, 2017
Instacart: Apoorva Mehta
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.
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40 min
April 3, 2017
AOL: Steve Case
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 greeting, "You've Got Mail."
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34 min
March 27, 2017
Power Rangers: Haim Saban
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 mega-hit Mighty Morphin Power Rangers put him on track to becoming a billionaire media titan.
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43 min
March 20, 2017
Kendra Scott: Kendra Scott
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 the company is reportedly valued at more than a billion dollars.
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44 min
March 13, 2017
5-Hour Energy: Manoj Bhargava
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 the world.
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35 min
March 6, 2017
Chesapeake Bay Candle: Mei Xu
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 multi-million dollar company Chesapeake Bay Candle.
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42 min
February 27, 2017
Atari & Chuck E. Cheese's: Nolan Bushnell
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.
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50 min
February 20, 2017
Crate & Barrel: Gordon Segal
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.
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31 min
February 16, 2017
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.
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26 min
February 13, 2017
Lyft: John Zimmer
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 of life.
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41 min
February 6, 2017
Kate Spade: Kate & Andy 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 modern-shaped handbag that launched the iconic fashion brand: Kate Spade.
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41 min
January 30, 2017
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.
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34 min
January 23, 2017
Zappos: Tony Hsieh
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.
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30 min
January 16, 2017
Honest Tea: Seth Goldman
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.
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31 min
January 9, 2017
Drybar: Alli Webb
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.
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34 min
January 2, 2017
Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman
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.
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39 min
December 26, 2016
Warby Parker: Dave Gilboa & Neil Blumenthal
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.
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32 min
December 19, 2016
Melissa & Doug: Melissa And Doug Bernstein
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.
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37 min
December 12, 2016
Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard
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.
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27 min
December 5, 2016
Serial Entrepreneur: Mark Cuban
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.
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35 min
November 28, 2016
Angie's List: Angie Hicks
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.
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30 min
November 21, 2016
Southwest Airlines: Herb Kelleher
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.
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35 min
November 14, 2016
Celebrity Chef: José Andrés
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.
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28 min
November 7, 2016
Music Mogul: L.A. Reid
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.
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33 min
October 31, 2016
Samuel Adams: Jim Koch
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.
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34 min
October 24, 2016
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.
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40 min
October 17, 2016
Airbnb: Joe Gebbia
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.
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42 min
October 10, 2016
VICE: Suroosh Alvi
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.
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37 min
October 3, 2016
Clif Bar: Gary Erickson
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.
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28 min
September 26, 2016
Radio One: Cathy Hughes
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.
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33 min
September 19, 2016
Instagram: Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger
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.
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29 min
September 12, 2016
Spanx: Sara Blakely
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.
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30 min
September 2, 2016
Coming Soon: How I Built This
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.
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2 min
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