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.
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.More from How I Built This with Guy Raz »

Most Recent Episodes

Connor Heckert for NPR

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.

Tempur-Pedic: Bobby Trussell

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Angie Wang for NPR

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.)

Rent The Runway: Jenn Hyman

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Connor Heckert for NPR

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.

method: Adam Lowry & Eric Ryan

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Phuong Nguyen for NPR

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.

Cisco Systems & Urban Decay: Sandy Lerner

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Andrew Holder for NPR

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.)

Power Rangers: Haim Saban

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Marcus Marritt for NPR

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.

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics: Bobbi Brown

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Phuong Nguyen for NPR

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.

Live Episode! New Belgium Brewing Company: Kim Jordan

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Angie Wang for NPR

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.)

WeWork: Miguel McKelvey

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Angie Wang for NPR

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).

TRX: Randy Hetrick

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Andrew Holder for NPR

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)

Angie's List: Angie Hicks

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