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How I Built This with Guy Raz


Guy Raz interviews the world’s best-known entrepreneurs to learn how they built their iconic brands. In each episode, founders reveal deep, intimate moments of doubt and failure, and share insights on their eventual success. How I Built This is a master-class on innovation, creativity, leadership and how to navigate challenges of all kinds. New episodes on Mondays and Thursdays for free. Listen 1-week early and to all episodes ad-free with Wondery+ or Amazon Music with a Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. Get your How I Built This merch at


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Guy Raz interviews the world’s best-known entrepreneurs to learn how they built their iconic brands. In each episode, founders reveal deep, intimate moments of doubt and failure, and share insights on their eventual success. How I Built This is a master-class on innovation, creativity, leadership and how to navigate challenges of all kinds. New episodes on Mondays and Thursdays for free. Listen 1-week early and to all episodes ad-free with Wondery+ or Amazon Music with a Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. Get your How I Built This merch at




Food52: Amanda Hesser (2021)

In the early 1990s, as Amanda Hesser's college friends were interviewing for their first cubicle jobs, she chose a different path; one that led straight into the kitchens of Europe, where she cooked traditional recipes and learned the rhythm of the seasons from a crusty French gardener. By 24, she had landed a book deal and one of the most coveted jobs in journalism: writing about food for the New York Times. But over time she grew restless, and in 2008, gave up that dream job—and the...


HIBT Lab! Saysh: Wes and Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix is the most decorated American track and field athlete of all time. She’s also a mother. Those two identities came into conflict in 2018 when negotiating a contract renewal with her shoe sponsor, Nike. Ultimately, Allyson broke ties with Nike because the new contract presented a significant pay cut and lacked adequate maternal protections. After struggling to find a new shoe sponsor, Allyson and her brother/agent, Wes, decided to take matters into their own hands and start...


Xero Shoes: Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix

In 2007, Steven Sashen went on a 5K run in his bare feet, an experience that felt so surprisingly natural that it led him to launch one of the best-known minimalist shoe brands in the world. After reading the best-seller Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and fashioning his own, thin-soled sandals that helped him fully feel the ground, Steven noticed he was running faster and having fewer injuries. His friends began asking him to make sandals for them, and soon enough, he convinced his...


HIBT Lab! Too Good To Go: Lucie Basch

Collaboration is the new competition: that was French entrepreneur Lucie Basch’s philosophy when she approached a group of Danish founders who happened to be working on a similar food waste reduction app. Before long, Lucie and her new co-founders joined forces to create Too Good To Go, an app that enables restaurants and grocery stores to sell leftover items in ‘surprise bags’ at a significantly reduced price. Since launching in 2016, Too Good To Go has raised over $30 million dollars and...


Michael Kors: Michael Kors

As a teenager, Michael Kors filled his notebooks with dress designs and doodles of his own initials—casual sketches that would eventually fuel the launch of a global fashion brand. Michael grew up with a love of fashion; by the time he was 19, his designs were on display on 5th Avenue, and by 22, his collection was getting attention from the fashion editor of New York Magazine, a young upstart named Anna Wintour. In the early days, he designed thousand-dollar dresses in his bedroom and...


HIBT Lab! The Confess Project: Lorenzo Lewis

Barbers have played a central role in the Black community throughout American history. Haircutting was one of the first jobs that Black men were allowed to hold after the Civil War, and barbershops were often a hub for organizing during the civil rights movement. More recently, barbershops have played an instrumental role administering vaccines in the wake of Covid-19. And now, Lorenzo Lewis imagines a new role for barbers: a first line of defense in addressing mental health challenges for...


Politico & Axios: Jim VandeHei

Before Jim VandeHei co-founded the media company Politico, the only thing he’d managed was the night shift at Little Caesar’s pizza in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. An early passion for politics and journalism led him to Washington, D.C., where he became a political reporter for Roll Call, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. But by 2006, he could see how the internet was transforming journalism, so he walked away from the Post to co-found a digital publication—Politico—with the goal of...


HIBT Lab! Boom Supersonic: Blake Scholl

Commercial air travel has been stuck below the sound barrier for about 20 years, since the Concorde’s last flight in 2003. While the technology exists to fly about twice as fast as we do now, conventional wisdom in the aerospace industry is that supersonic flight simply doesn’t make economic sense. Blake Scholl disagrees... This week on How I Built This Lab, Blake tells Guy how Boom Supersonic is working to revive the dream of supersonic air travel—and already has orders from major airlines...


Osprey Packs: Mike Pfotenhauer

With a passion for design and a skill for sewing, Mike Pfotenhauer grew a bespoke backpack business into one of the world’s most popular outdoor brands. He got his start in the 1970’s, when it was hard to find a pack that wasn’t clunky and uncomfortable. Operating out of a little shop in Santa Cruz, California, Mike started making better-fitting packs for hikers, and—with no advertising except for a sign out front—began to get noticed. As demand for the packs grew, Mike was forced to shift...


ICYMI... HIBT Lab! OpenAI: Sam Altman

Artificial Intelligence was once the realm of science fiction. But over the last several years, advances in machine learning and deep neural networks have moved us closer to a reality where computers can learn and solve problems independently, the way a human does. From art and music to medicine and politics, the potential applications of AI are nearly endless, and the technology just keeps getting better. This week on How I Built This Lab, Guy talks with one of the leaders in the field of...


The Ringer: Bill Simmons

Wherever Bill Simmons is, he’s obsessed with helping his team win. During 14 tumultuous years as a creative force at ESPN, that meant launching a slew of influential projects that blended sports and pop culture—including the documentary series 30 for 30, the podcast The B.S. Report, and the multimedia blog Grantland. Today, it means growing his own company, The Ringer, into a major player in the media landscape, with over 50 sports and pop culture podcasts. From his earliest days as one of...


Zumiez: Tom Campion

Working as a manager for nine years at JCPenney, Tom Campion learned a critical lesson about how to succeed in retail: you have to keep close track of inventory. Tom’s experience navigating the ebb and flow of style, color, and size—all without the benefit of computers—gave him the confidence to launch his own retail business, aimed at teenagers. In 1978, he and his partner Gary Haakenson opened their first store, Above the Belt, in Seattle, and soon tapped into the hot new “action sports”...


HIBT Lab! The Sioux Chef: Sean Sherman

Chef Sean Sherman is on a mission to revitalize and reimagine Native American cuisine. Growing up on a reservation in South Dakota, Sean ate a lot of highly processed foods provided by the U.S. government. It wasn’t until he started working in restaurants as a teenager that he began to learn about fresh ingredients and how to prepare them. But as Sean climbed the kitchen ranks, learning the techniques and recipes of European-style fine dining, he began to wonder what happened to the...


HIBT Lab! Biobot Analytics: Mariana Matus and Newsha Ghaeli

Biobot Analytics founders Mariana Matus and Newsha Ghaeli first met in a poop lab. Yep, you read that correctly... Their company has been working with government and corporate clients since 2017 to analyze disease levels and other biomarkers in our wastewater. Their insights have been used to predict spikes in Covid and other infections, help local officials address drug use in their communities, and much more. This week on How I Built This Lab, Mariana and Newsha talk with Guy about the...


Chomps: Pete Maldonado and Rashid Ali

When steaks don’t sell you shift to sticks; that’s how Chomps was born. After several failed ventures—one of which left him bankrupt—Pete Maldonado decided to take another chance on launching a business. He partnered with Rashid Ali to start a mail-order service similar to Omaha Steaks, but with grass-fed meat that was more suited to the Paleo diet. When the partners couldn’t get that off the ground, they shifted to individually-wrapped meat sticks; one of the first in a long line of...


HIBT Lab! Osmo Salt: Nick DiGiovanni

Do you know who holds the record for making the world’s largest chicken nugget? How about the world’s largest sushi roll? If you know Nick DiGiovanni, then you know the answer to those questions. Each week, more than 15 million followers across YouTube and TikTok gawk and drool over Nick’s masterful and over-the-top culinary creations. Nick is at the helm of some analog business ventures too, including a DTC salt and seasoning company and his debut cookbook, Knife Drop, which publishes...


Tarte Cosmetics: Maureen Kelly

Let’s say you had a passion but thought of it only as a hobby; certainly never the seed of a billion-dollar company. Plus, you are studying for a career in something unrelated to business. That’s Maureen Kelly’s story, CEO of Tarte Cosmetics. She was pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and already had TWO Master’s degrees when she realized she didn't want that to be her career. What she wanted was to launch a makeup company—despite having no significant start-up money, no experience, and...


HIBT Lab! Nuro: Dave Ferguson

When you think about self-driving cars, you might imagine relaxing in the back seat while a vehicle carries you to your destination. But according to Dave Ferguson, nearly half of all car tips that Americans take don’t actually need any passengers at all. That’s because we spend a lot of our time driving around just to pick things up, like groceries and takeout. This week on How I Built This Lab, Dave talks with Guy about his vision of a future where many of these everyday errands could be...


Complexly: Hank and John Green

In 2007, brothers Hank and John Green lived thousands of miles apart, so they started posting video blogs to each other on a strange new platform called YouTube. People began tuning in, and the daily Vlogbrothers posts became an early viral hit. Over time, the brothers grew that single channel into a sprawling collection of businesses, including a production studio—Complexly—that makes some of the most entertaining educational content on the internet. They’re also both hugely successful...


ICYMI... HIBT Lab! Malala Fund and Our Place: Shiza Shahid

On October 9, 2012, Shiza Shahid’s life changed forever. It was on that day that 15-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, capturing the world’s attention. Before long, 22-year-old Shiza found herself leaving her corporate job to join a recovering Malala and her father in launching the Malala Fund, a nonprofit that advocates for girls’ education across the globe. Little did Shiza know, this venture was actually just the beginning of her...