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
Happy Family Organics: Shazi Visram (2020)
While she was a student at business school, Shazi Visram ran into an old friend—a new mother of twins. The friend confided she felt like a bad mom because she had no time to make her kids healthy meals. That gave Shazi her initial idea: why not make organic pureed baby food, and sell it frozen instead of jarred? People told her she was crazy to take on Gerber, but she convinced dozens of friends and family to invest in Happy Baby. Nearly 20 years later, the brand is known as Happy Family Organics and reportedly makes more than $200 million a year.
HIBT Lab! Climeworks: Jan Wurzbacher
According to the 2022 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world needs to cut carbon emissions drastically to avoid the worst effects of global warming. But that’s not all. In addition to reducing emissions, we also need to remove 6 to 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by 2050.
This week on How I Built This Lab, Guy talks with Jan Wurzbacher, co-founder and CEO of Climeworks. They discuss how Jan and his team built the world’s largest direct air capture facility, which filters carbon dioxide from the air and stores it permanently underground. Plus, Jan’s optimistic vision of how humans can achieve the goal of reversing climate change.
HIBT Lab! BlocPower: Donnel Baird
When Donnel Baird was a child, his parents would regularly use the oven to heat their Brooklyn apartment — a dangerous and energy-inefficient practice that’s unfortunately not unique to New York City. As an adult traveling the country with the Obama for America campaign, Donnel saw countless homes and apartments wasting power and jeopardizing resident safety because of dated infrastructure. He founded BlocPower in 2014 to address this precise problem, focusing on low-income communities so often overlooked by innovative startups.
This week on How I Built This Lab, Donnel talks with Guy about BlocPower’s work to modernize buildings nationwide and transition them to clean energy sources. BlocPower has raised more than $100 million from Wall Street and Silicon Valley investors, and has partnered with cities across the country to create greener, safer spaces for their residents.
The Tonight Show & Electric Hot Dog: Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon may talk like a comedian, but he thinks like a restless entrepreneur. In addition to his day job as host of The Tonight Show, he runs a TV production company, writes best-selling children’s books, and creates products you never knew you needed, like all-day pajamas and “hands high” jerseys that show the name of your favorite team in the armpit. As a kid, Jimmy was obsessed with perfecting his impressions of Richard Pryor and Steve Martin, with the goal of one day starring on Saturday Night Live. After an incredibly successful 6-year run on that show, he tried to make it in film, only to eventually find his way to one of the most coveted jobs in television. Today, he’s constantly generating new ideas, whether for a new TV show, or a Christmas tchotchke called Elvis on the Shelvis.
HIBT Lab! The Sorry Girls: Kelsey MacDermaid and Becky Wright
YouTubers Kelsey MacDermaid and Becky Wright – better known as The Sorry Girls – have always had an affinity for production. When they met as film students back in 2010, little did they know that the DIY videos they were creating for fun would eventually lead to full-fledged careers co-founding and leading their own media company. But building to where they are now, with over 2 million subscribers and counting, didn’t exactly come with a blueprint…
This week on How I Built This Lab, Kelsey and Becky talk to Guy about pursuing the uncharted territory of a YouTube career, their philosophies on navigating brand deals, and their take on growing a business in the creator economy without compromising on values.
Check out The Sorry Girls on YouTube and try your own hand at DIY: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheSorryGirls/featured
Affirm: Max Levchin (Part 2 of 2)
After PayPal sold to eBay in 2002, Max Levchin could have relaxed on a beach for the rest of his life. But that’s not the kind of person he is. He isn’t happy unless he’s coming up with new ideas and building companies – so much so that he actually fell into a dark place after leaving PayPal. He didn’t fully find himself until years later, when he rediscovered his passion for the “hard, valuable, fun” problems of fintech. Now, Max runs another billion-dollar company: Affirm, a “buy now, pay later” service that’s transforming how we purchase things on credit. This is the second part of a two-part conversation with Max; to hear the story of PayPal, be sure to listen to part 1!
This podcast was recommended to me by a friend. She said she loved it because she listens to the stories and it makes her think she could do it. I laugh because I had the opposite reaction. I loved it because I listen to peoples stories and think I could never do what they did and I’m in awe of people that don’t let their dream die.
I tel everyone I know who owns their own business to listen to this.
Fascinating and Great for Family Car Rides
What more can I say? We listened to Guy for our yearly 12 hr trek to the beach with everyone interested and engaged (and without complaint!)
I Love This Podcast
Hello. This is a fabulous podcast. It provides insights into the minds of the greatest leaders of our time. I love to listen to these episodes with my pre-teen children to stimulate conversations and help them think about their own futures.
I would like to provide specific feedback on one particular episode. Episode 417 with Sundar Picchai was quite good. However, I wish it had more time spent on his childhood and challenges he faced growing up in India and thriving despite not being surrounded by computers or other facilities we take for granted in the US.
Also I would love to hear about more specifics when building the products at Google. The war stories of all nighters or the ideas and conversations with the founders would be very interesting. Finally, he is not the typical CEO given his quiet demeanor. A more in depth conversation about how he overcame would be neat.
I hope you can do a follow up with Sundar with more personal stories of this type.
Overall I love this podcast and thank you.