How I Built This with Guy Raz
How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world's best known companies and brands. If you've ever built something from nothing, something you really care about — or even just dream about it — check out How I Built This hosted by Guy Raz @guyraz. Follow the show @HowIBuiltThis.
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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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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)
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.