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.

Most Recent Episodes

NPR

Live From The HIBT Summit: Sara Blakely Of Spanx

Our first episode from the 2019 How I Built This Summit features Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. In front of a live audience, she tells Guy how she stayed confident in the earliest days of building the business, and why one day she still wound up sobbing on the floor of Office Depot. Every Thursday through the new year, we'll release new episodes from the HIBT Summit, so keep checking your podcast feed!

Live From The HIBT Summit: Sara Blakely Of Spanx

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Kristen Uroda for NPR

Live Episode! OtterBox: Curt Richardson

In the 1980s and 90s, Curt Richardson started making simple plastic boxes in his garage in Fort Collins, Colorado. They were originally designed to keep small items dry while you're fishing or skiing, and Curt and his wife Nancy called them "Otter Boxes." But after the launch of the Blackberry and the iPod, Curt started tailoring the boxes to fit and protect the breakable devices – and OtterBox evolved from an outdoor goods supplier into a company tightly adhered to the tech industry. With the rise of smartphones, Otter Products grew by more than 1000% in just five years. Today, it controls a massive share of the phone case market and sells more than $1 billion in cases each year. This interview was recorded live at the Paramount Theatre in Denver, Colorado.

Live Episode! OtterBox: Curt Richardson

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Suzanne Dias for NPR

Outdoor Voices: Tyler Haney

In 2013, Tyler Haney was a 24-year-old graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York. One day on a jog, she realized that her workout outfits looked, and felt, like they were made for competitive athletes. Tyler envisioned a brand of athletic wear for more everyday activities, like walking the dog or hiking with friends. She launched Outdoor Voices and she got her two-piece "kit" — a crop top and leggings – into a few specialty boutiques. Soon afterward, her brand made it into J. Crew stores and took off. Today, Outdoor Voices has raised close to $60 million from investors and has around 350 employees. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," after a lunch with some new moms turned into baby bedlam, Beth Fynbo created Busy Baby Mat — a placemat that would securely stick on any table, keep toys off the floor, and provide a fun surface for babies to eat and draw.

Outdoor Voices: Tyler Haney

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Angie Wang for NPR

Remembering Jake Burton Carpenter

The founder of Burton Snowboards, Jake Burton Carpenter, has died. He was 65 years old. We are grateful that Jake shared his story with us in 2017 and we are republishing it as a tribute to his life and career in which he elevated snowboarding into an international sport. 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.

Remembering Jake Burton Carpenter

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Gordon Segal is the co-founder of Crate & Barrel Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Andrew Holder for NPR

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. PLUS in our post-script "How You Built That," we check back with Ashlin Cook, whose love for dogs inspired her to create Winnie Lou: a Colorado business that sells healthy dog treats.

Crate & Barrel: Gordon Segal

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Selina Tobaccowala is the co-founder of Evite Parvati Pillai for NPR hide caption

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Parvati Pillai for NPR

Evite: Selina Tobaccowala

At the height of the first dot-com boom, Selina Tobaccowala and college friend Al Lieb were determined to start a tech company. After a few false starts, they landed on the idea for Evite—an on-line invitation business that within its first year, attracted a million followers and $37 million in investment. When the tech bubble burst, Selina and Al were forced to lay off dozens of employees before selling Evite in 2001. But the company has survived to this day, and Selina remains a role model for women in tech. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," Jamia Ramsey describes how her frustration with pink ballerina tights led her to create Blendz, apparel for dancers that matches darker skin tones.

Evite: Selina Tobaccowala

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Karina Perez for NPR

Live Episode! Luke's Lobster: Luke Holden and Ben Conniff

Luke Holden grew up in Maine, working on lobster boats and in his father's lobster processing plant. But his parents pushed him to find a more stable career, so after college, he moved to New York and got a job in finance. One of the things he missed most about home was lobster rolls, so he decided to open his own lobster shack as a side project. Luke posted an ad on Craigslist looking for help, and linked up with Ben Conniff, a history major with a passion for food but no restaurant experience. Ben and Luke opened a 200-square-foot take-out restaurant in the East Village in 2009. Ten years later, Luke's Lobster has over 500 employees, and more than 40 locations in the U.S. and in Asia. This show was recorded live at the Back Bay Events Center in Boston.

Live Episode! Luke's Lobster: Luke Holden and Ben Conniff

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Phuong Nguyen for NPR

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 in our post-script "How You Built That," we check back with Loren and Lisa Poncia who turned a 100 year-old family business into an organic beef supplier: Stemple Creek Ranch.

FUBU: Daymond John

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Marcus Marritt for NPR

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 in our post-script "How You Built That," we check back with Gerry Stellenberg who combined his knack for technology with his love of pinball to create a company for modern pinball enthusiasts called Multimorphic.

LÄRABAR: Lara Merriken

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Chelsea Beck for NPR

Gimlet Media: Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber

Alex Blumberg made his early career by helping build two of the most successful shows in radio and podcasting: Planet Money and This American Life. In 2014, convinced that podcasts could make money, he walked away from the safe umbrella of public media to start a new media company with co-founder Matt Lieber. Every doubt, triumph and humiliation of building the business was documented on the podcast Startup, which included the back-and-forth over how the company got its name: Gimlet. Many more successful podcasts followed, and five years after launch, Gimlet sold to Spotify for roughly $200 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," after years of researching how women's shoes wreak havoc on the joints, Casey Kerrigan quit her job in medicine to start 3D printing more comfortable designs: Oesh Shoes.

Gimlet Media: Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber

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