How I Built This with Guy Raz Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built. Order the How I Built This book at https://www.guyraz.com

How I Built This Plus is a great way to support the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/howibuiltthis
How I built this with Guy Raz
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How I Built This with Guy Raz

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Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world's best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists—and the movements they built. Order the How I Built This book at https://www.guyraz.com

How I Built This Plus is a great way to support the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at plus.npr.org/howibuiltthis

Most Recent Episodes

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Dang Foods: Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragarn

Vincent Kitirattragarn grew up in a Thai-Chinese-American household, which meant eating congee and lemongrass chicken, while also ordering chicken McNuggets with his younger brothers. He dreamed of opening his own Thai restaurant, but an exhausting stint working at one convinced him that his entrepreneurial path would never be in the restaurant industry. Instead Vincent's Asian-inspired snack food brand, Dang Foods, was born in 2011 when a delicious home-cooking experiment led him to start importing coconut chips from Thailand. Vincent's brother Andrew joined a few years later to help grow the brand through a series of snack product successes—and some tasty but colossal flops. Today, the company sells their brightly-packaged coconut chips, rice crackers, and energy bars in over 10,000 stores across the country.

Dang Foods: Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragarn

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Scott Everett for NPR

Discovery Channel and Curiosity Stream: John Hendricks

In the 1980s—the early days of cable television—John Hendricks got stuck on an idea he couldn't shake: to create a channel that would teach people cool things in an entertaining way. In college he had seen hours of documentaries on history, science, and outer space; and he figured if he was interested in them, others would be too. So around the age of 30, he left a comfortable consulting business to begin a delicate juggling act: leasing a satellite, licensing content, and wooing cable distributors, all the while pounding the pavement to finance it all. Today, Discovery reaches more than 400 million homes around the world, and John is still in the content business, having launched Curiosity Stream in 2015.

Discovery Channel and Curiosity Stream: John Hendricks

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Neethi for NPR

M.M.LaFleur: Sarah LaFleur (2020)

When she was working corporate jobs in New York City, Sarah LaFleur hated getting dressed in the morning; the choices in her closet felt overwhelming, many items didn't fit right or wore out too quickly. So in 2011 she launched a line of clothing for working women that would be simple, elegant, and well-tailored. She had no experience in fashion but partnered with a top-line designer, Miyako Nakamura, to create M.M.LaFleur. Today it's a multi-million dollar company with loyal customers from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.

M.M.LaFleur: Sarah LaFleur (2020)

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Karina Perez for NPR

Headspace: Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson (2019)

Andy Puddicombe is not your typical entrepreneur—in his early twenties, he gave away everything he owned to train as a Buddhist monk. But after ten years, he decided he wanted to bring the benefits of his meditation techniques to more people. While running a meditation clinic in London, Andy met Rich Pierson, who had burned out on his job at a high-powered London ad agency. Together, they founded Headspace in 2010. Over ten years later, Headspace's guided meditation app has users in 190 countries and an annual revenue of over $100 million.

Headspace: Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson (2019)

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Bonus Episode! Wisdom From The Top: Best Buy

This week, we thought we'd bring you a little bonus from another show that Guy hosts called Wisdom From The Top.

Bonus Episode! Wisdom From The Top: Best Buy

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Sara Litzenberger for NPR

Tate's Bake Shop: Kathleen King (2019)

Kathleen King was 11 years old when she started baking cookies to sell at her family's farm stand on Long Island. After college, she opened a small bake shop, and eventually started selling her cookies to gourmet grocery stores in Manhattan. But after twenty years of running a small business, she wanted more time for herself. She brought in two partners to grow sales, but the partnership was a disaster—and after bitter lawsuits, Kathleen was forced to start over from scratch. 18 years later, Tate's Bake Shop—the second cookie brand that she built out of the crumbs of the first—sold for $500 million.

Tate's Bake Shop: Kathleen King (2019)

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NPR

Bonus Episode! Ask Guy Anything: December 2021

What makes a good How I Built This story? Why do our episodes take weeks to produce? How does Guy prepare for an interview? As a bonus this week, Guy wanted to take some time and answer a bunch of your questions! If you have other burning questions about the show, our process, or even just about Guy, you can Ask Guy Anything by submitting a question at guyraz.com.

Bonus Episode! Ask Guy Anything: December 2021

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Scott Everett for NPR

Spin Master/PAW Patrol: Ronnen Harary

Ronnen Harary built a 4 billion dollar toy company without relying on market research or focus groups. Instead, he believed wholeheartedly in intuition: the "ah-hah" moment that comes from thinking like a 7-year old. Over a 25-year period, he and his Spin Master partners launched innumerable hit toys and amusements, including Air Hogs, Bakugan, and the smash hit franchise PAW Patrol. Spin Master's journey began in the mid-1990s, when Ronnen and his friend Anton Rabie began selling the Earth Buddy, a chia-pet-like novelty gift made of pantyhose, sawdust, and grass seed. Today, it's a publicly traded company with a portfolio that includes TV shows, video games, and toys ranging from puzzles to plush.

Spin Master/PAW Patrol: Ronnen Harary

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Scott Everett for NPR

Planet: Will Marshall and Robbie Schingler

In 2010, rocket scientists Robbie Schingler and Will Marshall set an ambitious goal for themselves: to launch an aerospace mission with the speed and agility of a Silicon Valley startup. They set up shop in their garage, left their NASA jobs, and began pursuing their vision of building small, relatively inexpensive satellites to take daily images of the earth. Today, their company Planet has a fleet of roughly 200 satellites that capture millions of pictures daily, tracking everything from forest fires and oil spills to the health of coral reefs and crops. The company now has hundreds of clients around the world, and just went public on the NYSE.

Planet: Will Marshall and Robbie Schingler

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Scott Everett for NPR

Merge Records: Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan

As college students in the late 1980s, Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan launched two projects that came to define their trajectories as entrepreneurs: the "punky but poppy" band Chunk, and the scrappy record label, Merge. For decades, the partners juggled the demands of managing their own band while negotiating record deals and recording dates for other indie artists. But the two worlds also collided in happy ways: touring in their own band was a great way for Mac and Laura to discover new talent, and they also learned that musicians tend to trust a label more if its founders play in a band. Today, Chunk is still going strong as Superchunk, and Merge has morphed into one of the most influential labels in indie music, with bands like The Mountain Goats, Spoon, and Arcade Fire.

Merge Records: Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan

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