How I Built This with Guy Raz 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.
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How I Built This with Guy Raz

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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 with Guy Raz »

Most Recent Episodes

Tom's Of Maine: Tom Chappell
Connor Heckert for NPR

Tom's Of Maine: Tom Chappell

In 1970, Tom Chappell took out a $5000 loan to launch a natural products company called Tom's of Maine. Working out of a warehouse in Kennebunk, Maine, he created soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste free from added chemicals, and sustainable for the environment. When he sold the company three decades later, Tom's of Maine had become one of the largest natural products brands in the world. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", we check back with Paul Kaster, who two years ago started a company that makes wooden bowties, and is now starting Carbon Cravat — which makes bowties out of carbon fiber.

Tom's Of Maine: Tom Chappell

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Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman

The worldwide dance craze Zumba was built with sweat, sneakers and sweatpants. Andrew Holder hide caption

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Andrew Holder

Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman

We're hard at work planning our upcoming live show, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Zumba. Zumba began as a mistake: aerobics teacher Beto Perez brought the wrong music to class, then improvised a dance routine to go with it. For his students, it was more fun than work — and it eventually grew into one of the biggest fitness brands in the world. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alex McKenzie is hoping to upgrade the menu of your neighborhood ice cream truck by offering exotic flavors, high fat content, plus low-guilt options for the health-conscious.

Zumba: Beto Perez & Alberto Perlman

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Framebridge: Susan Tynan

Susan Tynan, founder of Framebridge Marcus Maritt for NPR hide caption

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Marcus Maritt 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. She got her idea after experiencing sticker shock at her local framing store: she was charged $1600 to frame four cheap posters and figured there had to be a better way. So she created a mail-order framing company that offers fewer designs at much lower prices. Framebridge is now three years old and still feeling growing pains, but is slowly reshaping the rules of a rigid industry. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alexander Van Dewark created a portable mat that helps people mix cement without a wheelbarrow or a paddle.

Framebridge: Susan Tynan

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Ben & Jerry's: Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield
Angie Wang for NPR

Ben & Jerry's: Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield

In the mid-1970s two childhood friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield decided to open an ice cream shop in Burlington, Vermont. Their quirky little shop packaged and sold unusual flavors like Honey Coffee, Mocha Walnut, and Mint with Oreo Cookies. In 1981, the regional brand spread across the country after Time magazine called it the "best ice cream in America." Today, Ben & Jerry's is one of the top selling ice cream brands in the world. And, like the original founders, the company doesn't shy away from speaking out on social issues. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That", how David Stover and his team at Bureo turn fishing nets into skateboards.

Ben & Jerry's: Ben Cohen And Jerry Greenfield

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Instagram: Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger

"This is it, we've built this great thing and we've totally messed it up." — Mike Krieger, co-founder of Instagram, about the night the company launched Andrew Holder for NPR hide caption

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Andrew Holder for NPR

Instagram: Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger

We're hard at work planning our upcoming live shows, so we bring you this favorite from the last year: Instagram. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched their photo-sharing app with a server that crashed every other hour. Despite a chaotic start, it became one of the most popular apps in the world. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," we check back with Dave Weiner of Priority Bicycles, a low-maintenance bicycle brand.

Instagram: Kevin Systrom & Mike Krieger

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Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher, founder of Eileen Fisher. Marcus Marritt for NPR hide caption

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Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher

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 for our postscript "How You Built That," how Louisiana butcher Charlie Munford is helping popularize wild boar meat.

Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher

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Chipotle: Steve Ells

Steve Ells, founder of Chipotle. Connor Heckert for NPR hide caption

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Connor Heckert for NPR

Chipotle: Steve Ells

In 1992, Steve Ells was a classically trained chef working in a high-end restaurant in San Francisco. But after eating a burrito at a local taqueria, he got an idea: to sell burritos and earn enough money to open his own gourmet restaurant. The first Chipotle opened in Denver the following year. Bringing his culinary training to taqueria-style service, Steve Ells helped transform the way we eat fast food. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Alexander Harik turned his mom's recipe for za'atar spread—a fragrant Middle Eastern condiment—into Zesty Z: The Za'atar Company.

Chipotle: Steve Ells

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Burton Snowboards: Jake Carpenter

Jake Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards. Angie Wang for NPR hide caption

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Angie Wang for NPR

Burton Snowboards: Jake Carpenter

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," how Jane Och solved the problem of guacamole turning brown, with a container that removes air pockets, the Guac-Lock.

Burton Snowboards: Jake Carpenter

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Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

Whitney Wolfe, founder of Bumble. Angie Wang for NPR hide caption

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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 new kind of dating app where women make the first move. Today, the Bumble app has been downloaded more than 20 million times. PLUS for our postscript "How You Built That," how Michelle Innis invented De-Fishing soap to freshen up her fisherman husband, and how it wound up in WalMart.

Bumble: Whitney Wolfe

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Teach For America: Wendy Kopp

Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America Connor Heckert for NPR hide caption

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Connor Heckert for NPR

Teach For America: Wendy Kopp

In 1989, college senior Wendy Kopp was trying to figure out how to improve American public schools. For her senior thesis, she proposed creating a national teaching corps that would recruit recent college grads to teach in underserved schools. One year later, she launched the nonprofit, Teach for America. Today, TFA has 50,000 alumni, a budget of nearly $300 million, and continues to place thousands of teachers across the country. PLUS in our postscript "How You Built That," how a game of Secret Santa led Chris Waters to create Constructed Adventures, elaborate scavenger hunts for all occasions.

Teach For America: Wendy Kopp

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