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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.)
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.)
The Chipmunks: Ross Bagdasarian Jr. & Janice Karman
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Method's Adam Lowry And Eric Ryan At The HIBT Summit