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. Order the How I Built This book at https://www.guyraz.com
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Dang Foods: Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragarn
Vincent Kitirattragarn grew up in a Thai-Chinese-American household, which meant eating congee and lemongrass chicken, while also ordering chicken McNuggets with his younger brothers. He dreamed of opening his own Thai restaurant, but an exhausting stint working at one convinced him that his entrepreneurial path would never be in the restaurant industry. Instead Vincent's Asian-inspired snack food brand, Dang Foods, was born in 2011 when a delicious home-cooking experiment led him to start importing coconut chips from Thailand. Vincent's brother Andrew joined a few years later to help grow the brand through a series of snack product successes—and some tasty but colossal flops. Today, the company sells their brightly-packaged coconut chips, rice crackers, and energy bars in over 10,000 stores across the country.
Discovery Channel and Curiosity Stream: John Hendricks
In the 1980s—the early days of cable television—John Hendricks got stuck on an idea he couldn't shake: to create a channel that would teach people cool things in an entertaining way. In college he had seen hours of documentaries on history, science, and outer space; and he figured if he was interested in them, others would be too. So around the age of 30, he left a comfortable consulting business to begin a delicate juggling act: leasing a satellite, licensing content, and wooing cable distributors, all the while pounding the pavement to finance it all. Today, Discovery reaches more than 400 million homes around the world, and John is still in the content business, having launched Curiosity Stream in 2015.
M.M.LaFleur: Sarah LaFleur (2020)
When she was working corporate jobs in New York City, Sarah LaFleur hated getting dressed in the morning; the choices in her closet felt overwhelming, many items didn't fit right or wore out too quickly. So in 2011 she launched a line of clothing for working women that would be simple, elegant, and well-tailored. She had no experience in fashion but partnered with a top-line designer, Miyako Nakamura, to create M.M.LaFleur. Today it's a multi-million dollar company with loyal customers from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley.
Headspace: Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson (2019)
Andy Puddicombe is not your typical entrepreneur—in his early twenties, he gave away everything he owned to train as a Buddhist monk. But after ten years, he decided he wanted to bring the benefits of his meditation techniques to more people. While running a meditation clinic in London, Andy met Rich Pierson, who had burned out on his job at a high-powered London ad agency. Together, they founded Headspace in 2010. Over ten years later, Headspace's guided meditation app has users in 190 countries and an annual revenue of over $100 million.
Bonus Episode! Wisdom From The Top: Best Buy
This week, we thought we'd bring you a little bonus from another show that Guy hosts called Wisdom From The Top.
In 2012, to say there was a crisis at Best Buy—is an understatement. In January, Forbes published an article with the headline: WHY BEST BUY IS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. And then, in March, the company reported a loss of $1.7 billion dollars. In April, the CEO resigned because of an "inappropriate relationship" with an employee. Hubert Joly stepped in, determined to fix Best Buy, and he started by valuing the people who work there.
Tate's Bake Shop: Kathleen King (2019)
Kathleen King was 11 years old when she started baking cookies to sell at her family's farm stand on Long Island. After college, she opened a small bake shop, and eventually started selling her cookies to gourmet grocery stores in Manhattan. But after twenty years of running a small business, she wanted more time for herself. She brought in two partners to grow sales, but the partnership was a disaster—and after bitter lawsuits, Kathleen was forced to start over from scratch. 18 years later, Tate's Bake Shop—the second cookie brand that she built out of the crumbs of the first—sold for $500 million.