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/
Dude Perfect: Cory Cotton and Tyler Toney
As Texas A&M students in the mid 2000's, Cory Cotton, Tyler Toney and their housemates spent countless hours playing hockey in the living room and attempting trick shots in the backyard. A spontaneous bet over a sandwich led the guys to make a video montage of outrageous basketball shots, which they titled Dude Perfect and posted on a new site called YouTube. After that first video wound up on Good Morning America, the five Dudes challenged themselves to even more outrageous stunts: an impossible shot from the third tier of a stadium, a here-goes-nothing lob from the door of a flying plane. But despite their growing popularity, the group spent five grueling years trying to build ad revenue and brand deals while juggling day jobs and commuting weekly across Texas. In 2014, they finally committed fulltime to building Dude Perfect into a robust entertainment platform, which today includes books, TV, live events, and a YouTube channel that has more subscribers than the NBA, NFL, and NHL combined.
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inov-8: Wayne Edy
After more than 20 years working in the shoe business, Wayne Edy decided to strike out on his own, risking most of his savings to launch his own brand. Knowing he was entering a crowded field, he focused on a niche sport—trail running—and developed a lightweight shoe with a rubber-cleat sole, well-suited to the terrain near his home in England's Lake District. The unusual design raised eyebrows at first, but after inov-8's launch in 2003, the shoe quickly grew a following among elite trail-runners, which raised its profile and helped the brand expand into CrossFit and hiking. After selling inov-8 and then buying it back, Wayne still leads a multi-million dollar business that's headquartered in a tiny English town, while outfitting athletes from around the world.
Lynda.com: Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin
After falling in love with the first Apple Mac computer in 1984, Lynda Weinman found a new career: using the new technology to teach web graphics. She published a best-selling book on the topic, and then—along with her husband Bruce Heavin—decided to host a web design workshop in the small town of Ojai, California. When the class sold out, the partners realized their straightforward approach to digital design was in high demand. Despite having no business background, Lynda and Bruce continued to expand their vision, eventually offering instructional videos on a range of topics through their streaming platform, Lynda.com. In 2015, the company sold to LinkedIn for 1.5 billion dollars.
Springfree Trampoline: Keith Alexander & Steve Holmes (2019)
In the late 1980s, a New Zealand engineer named Keith Alexander wanted to buy a trampoline for his kids. After his wife said they 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. Since the start of the pandemic, sales of Springfree Trampolines doubled, and since their launch, the company has sold nearly 500,000 trampolines worldwide.
Live From The HIBT Summit: Rashad Robinson
We have our final main stage event from the 2021 How I Built This Virtual Summit, and it's Guy's conversation with Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change, the nation's largest leading racial justice organization. In this live interview, Rashad talks about finding strength and purpose through activism—an initiative that has no clear end. According to Rashad, activism does not have to center around sadness and tragedy; activism is about the power of the people, recognizing victories, celebrating moments of joy, and implementing self and community care.
Burt's Bees: Roxanne Quimby (2019)
In the 1970s, Roxanne Quimby was trying to live a simpler life – one that rejected the pursuit of material comforts. She moved to Maine, built a cabin in the woods, and lived off the grid. By the mid-80s, she met a recluse beekeeper named Burt Shavitz and offered to help him tend to his bees. As partners, Roxanne and Burt soon began selling their "Pure Maine Honey" at local markets, which evolved into candles made out of beeswax, and eventually lip balm and skin care products. Today, Burt's Bees can be found in thousands of grocery stores and drugstores around the U.S.