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
NPR

How I Built This with Guy Raz

From NPR

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

Connor Heckert for NPR

Belkin International: Chet Pipkin

Chet Pipkin was the kind of kid who loved to take things apart and put them back together. As a young man in the early 1980s, he started hanging out in mom-and-pop computer shops, where he realized he could meet a growing need by selling the cables that connect computers to printers. That simple idea became the main ingredient in Chet's secret sauce: instead of making his own computers, he would make the accessories needed to make them work. Belkin International eventually grew into a massive manufacturer of electronic goods — last year, it sold to a subsidiary of Foxconn for more than $800 million. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Clay McCabe decided to rebrand his dad's zipper repair business into Zipper Rescue, a repair kit that helps people fix their broken zippers at home.

Belkin International: Chet Pipkin

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/722148754/722155855" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Marcus Marritt for NPR

Framebridge: Susan Tynan

Susan Tynan's experience in the ephemeral e-market of LivingSocial made her want to start a business that she could touch and feel. After being charged $1600 to frame four posters at her local framing store, she decided to create a mail-order framing company that offers fewer designs at lower prices. Framebridge is now five years old and still feeling growing pains, but is slowly reshaping the rules of a rigid industry. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Len Testa, who created an app that uses real-time data to help people avoid long lines at Orlando area theme parks. (Original broadcast date: November 27, 2017)

Framebridge: Susan Tynan

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/717496919/717538212" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Connor Heckert for NPR

Live Episode! Peloton: John Foley

John Foley started climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder at a young age, first as a fast food server and eventually as an e-commerce executive. Still, at 40, he couldn't climb out of bed fast enough to make it to his favorite spin class. John couldn't understand why there wasn't a way to bring the intensity and motivation of a boutique fitness class into the home. Having never worked in the exercise industry, he teamed up with a few friends to create a high-tech stationary bicycle called the Peloton Bike. Today, Peloton has sold close to half a million bikes, with a valuation as high as 4 billion dollars. Recorded live in New York City.

Live Episode! Peloton: John Foley

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/710439824/717608991" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Angie Wang for NPR

Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

At age 22, Whitney Wolfe helped launch Tinder, one of the world's most popular dating apps. But a few years later, she left Tinder and filed a lawsuit against the company alleging sexual harassment. The ensuing attention from the media – and cyberbullying from strangers – prompted her to launch Bumble, a dating app where women make the first move. Today, the Bumble app has been downloaded close to 30 million times. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Michael Dixon, whose business Mobile Vinyl Recorders uses portable record lathes to cut vinyl at parties, weddings, and music festivals. (Original broadcast date: October 16, 2017)

Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/712909267/714430808" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Marcus Marritt for NPR

Men's Wearhouse: George Zimmer

In 1970, George Zimmer was a college graduate with no real job prospects and little direction. That's when his father, an executive at a boy's clothing company, asked him to go on an important business trip to Asia. It was that trip that propelled him into the world of men's apparel. In 1973, the first Men's Wearhouse opened in Houston with little fanfare. But by the mid-80s, George Zimmer managed to carve out a distinct niche in the market – a place where men could buy a good quality suit, at "everyday low prices," along with all the shirts, ties, socks, and shoes they need. With George as the face of the brand, Men's Wearhouse became a multi-billion dollar empire with hundreds of stores across the U.S. But then, in 2013, a bitter battle forced him to give it all up. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with two brothers from Guinea, West Africa who founded a company that makes Ginjan, a spicy-sweet juice from their childhood that mixes pineapple and ginger.

Men's Wearhouse: George Zimmer

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/712287610/712899953" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse Phuong Nguyen for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Phuong Nguyen for NPR

Chez Panisse: Alice Waters

In the 1960s, Alice Waters studied abroad in France – and discovered a culinary world far from the processed food popular in America. When she returned to California, she tried to find restaurants to recreate her experiences abroad, but she couldn't. In 1971, she opened a small restaurant in Berkeley called Chez Panisse, where she focused on serving fresh, local ingredients. Just a few years later, Chez Panisse was named one of the best restaurants in America, and became one of the hottest locations for fine dining in the Bay Area. Despite her success, Alice chose not to turn Chez Panisse into a restaurant empire. Instead, she continued to insist on cooking with food raised locally, sustainably, and ethically. Today, most chefs agree Alice Waters and Chez Panisse sparked the farm-to-table movement in the restaurant industry. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Piersten Gaines took the trauma out of salon visits for women with highly textured hair.

Chez Panisse: Alice Waters

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/709856256/710399199" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Marcus Marritt for NPR

Springfree Trampoline: Keith Alexander & Steve Holmes

In the late 1980s, a New Zealand engineer named Keith Alexander wanted to buy a trampoline for his kids. After his wife said trampolines were too dangerous, Keith set out to design his own — a safer trampoline, without metal springs. He tinkered with and perfected the design over the course of a decade. But he was daunted by the challenge of bringing his invention to market — and he almost gave up. At that point Steve Holmes, a Canadian businessman, bought the patent to Keith's trampoline, and took a big risk to commercialize it. Today, Springfree Trampoline generates over $50 million in annual sales and has sold over 400,000 trampolines. PLUS in our postscript, "How You Built That," how Cyndi and Chris Hileman created a candle in a planter pot that can later be used to grow wildflowers.

Springfree Trampoline: Keith Alexander & Steve Holmes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/708100472/708103454" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Andrew Holder for NPR

Compaq Computers: Rod Canion

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).

Compaq Computers: Rod Canion

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/705892242/705893351" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Phuong Nguyen for NPR

Away: Jen Rubio

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.

Away: Jen Rubio

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/701651787/703796016" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Phuong Nguyen for NPR

Logic: Logic & Chris Zarou

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.

Listen Logic & Zarou

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/701212707/701674768" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top
or search npr.org