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How I Built This

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How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world's best known companies and brands. If you've ever built something from nothing, something you really care about — or even just dream about it — check out How I Built This hosted by Guy Raz @guyraz. Follow the show @HowIBuiltThis.More from How I Built This »

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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 in our postscript "How You Built That," how a frustrated renter Melanie Colón created an easier way to communicate between neighbors and apartment staff, called Apt App. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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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 in our postscript "How You Built That," how frustrated renter Melanie Colón created an easier way to communicate with noisy neighbors, called Apt App.

Compaq Computers: Rod Canion

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In 1978, college drop-out John Mackey scraped together $45,000 to open his first health food store, "Safer Way." A few years later he co-founded Whole Foods Market — and launched an organic food revolution that helped change the way Americans shop. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Kyle Ewing created waterproof paper through his company TerraSlate. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Whole Foods Market: John Mackey

In 1978, college drop-out John Mackey scraped together $45,000 to open his first health food store, "Safer Way." A few years later he co-founded Whole Foods Market — and launched an organic food revolution that helped change the way Americans shop. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how Kyle Ewing created waterproof paper through his company TerraSlate.

Whole Foods Market: John Mackey

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In 1972, Maureen and Tony Wheeler bought a beat-up car and drove from London "as far east as we could go." They wound up in Australia, by way of Afghanistan, India and Thailand. Their scribbled notes on how to travel on a shoestring became a book, which grew into Lonely Planet — the largest travel guide publisher in the world. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Lonely Planet: Maureen & Tony Wheeler

In 1972, Maureen and Tony Wheeler bought a beat-up car and drove from London "as far east as we could go." They wound up in Australia, by way of Afghanistan, India and Thailand. Their notes on how to travel on a shoestring became a book, which grew into Lonely Planet — the largest travel guide publisher in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how 15-year-old Michael Mendicino, with help from his mom, took a teenage trend and turned it into a board game called Bottle Flip.

Lonely Planet: Maureen & Tony Wheeler

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As a kid, Troy Carter dreamed of being a rapper, but soon discovered he was a better manager than a musician. He took Lady Gaga from obscurity to stardom – helping shape both her music and her brand. Then he turned his gift for spotting talent to spotting investment opportunities with his company Atom Factory. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Lady Gaga & Atom Factory: Troy Carter

As a kid, Troy Carter dreamed of being a rapper, but soon discovered he was a better manager than a musician. He took Lady Gaga from obscurity to stardom – helping shape both her music and her brand. Then he turned his gift for spotting talent to spotting investment opportunities with his company Atom Factory.

Lady Gaga & Atom Factory: Troy Carter

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Barbara Corcoran grew up in a poor Irish Catholic family in Jersey – with nine brothers and sisters. But she used her charisma to conquer the streets of Manhattan and build the real estate company, The Corcoran Group. She then reinvented herself as a shark – on Shark Tank. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Real Estate Mogul: Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran grew up in a working-class Irish Catholic family in Jersey – with nine brothers and sisters. But she used her charisma to conquer the streets of Manhattan and build the real estate company, The Corcoran Group. She then reinvented herself as a shark – on Shark Tank.

Real Estate Mogul: Barbara Corcoran

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Brian Scudamore didn't dream of a life hauling away other people's trash. But when he needed to pay for college, he bought a $700 pickup truck, painted his phone number on the side, and started hauling. Now 1-800-GOT-JUNK? makes over $200 million in annual revenue. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore

Brian Scudamore didn't dream of a life hauling away other people's trash. But when he needed to pay for college, he bought a $700 pickup truck, painted his phone number on the side, and started hauling. Now 1-800-GOT-JUNK? makes over $200 million in annual revenue.

1-800-GOT-JUNK?: Brian Scudamore

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App developer Apoorva Mehta almost gave up on being an entrepreneur until he figured out what he really wanted to do: find a hassle-free way to buy groceries. Five years after launch, the grocery delivery app Instacart is valued at three billion dollars. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Instacart: Apoorva Mehta

App developer Apoorva Mehta almost gave up on being an entrepreneur until he figured out what he really wanted to do: find a hassle-free way to buy groceries. Five years after launch, the grocery delivery app Instacart is valued at $3 billion.

Instacart: Apoorva Mehta

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When Steve Case started out in the tech business in the mid-80s, the idea of the internet — as we think of it today — didn't exist. But with AOL, Case saw an opportunity to connect millions of people, through chat rooms, news updates, and the iconic greeting, "You've Got Mail." Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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AOL: Steve Case

When Steve Case started out in the tech business in the mid-80s, the idea of the internet — as we think of it today — didn't exist. But with AOL, Case saw an opportunity to connect millions of people, through chat rooms, news updates, and the iconic greeting, "You've Got Mail."

AOL: Steve Case

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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. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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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.

Power Rangers: Haim Saban

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Ever since she was a little girl playing dress-up in her aunt's closet, Kendra Scott loved fashion. Her first business was a hat shop, which she started at 19 – it failed. A few years later, she started a jewelry business out of her spare bedroom. Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Kendra Scott: Kendra Scott

Ever since she was a little girl playing dress-up in her aunt's closet, Kendra Scott loved fashion. Her first business was a hat shop, which she started at 19 – it failed. A few years later, she started a jewelry business out of her spare bedroom. Today the company is reportedly valued at more than a billion dollars.

Kendra Scott: Kendra Scott

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