Robinhood, Moderna, and Burt’s Bees: ‘How I Built This’ shares the inspiration behind the world’s best known brands

Business November 10, 2021
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Listen to ‘How I Built This with Guy Raz’

The world’s best known businesses all had to start somewhere. Whether ideas were hatched in dingy college dorms, founded in creative outlets and hobbies, or even sprouted from a simple article in the New York Times, Guy Raz wants to hear them all. “How I Built This” wants to hear the journey from seed to harvest after harvest from entrepreneurs, innovators, and idealists.

“How I Built This with Guy Raz” frequently tops the business podcast charts, easily becoming one of the most downloaded podcasts in the United States. Guy Raz, journalist, correspondent and radio host for NPR, chats with the founders of some of the world’s best known companies. From innovative concoctions like Back to the Roots, an organic gardening brand inspired by the ability to grow mushrooms in used coffee grounds, to behemoth brands that have become a staple of American cuisine like Chipotle, stories of all kind are welcome here.

Title Nine and Title IX

You can hear the inspiring story of Missy Park and the creation of Title Nine, the female clothing version of Nike. An avid athlete and college basketball player, Park grew up in the years just after Title IX created opportunities for women to actually play college sports. But there was one problem: athletic clothing for women was virtually non-existent. In 1989, Park, with little background in the apparel or retail business, created an athletic clothing company cheekily named after the law that let her play: Title nine.

At first, it was mail order catalogues of running shorts, tights, and sports bras. Now, it is a $100 million business that Park is still the sole owner of, selling swim gear, hiking gear, backpacks, jackets, footwear, you name it. And even more impressively, she did this without any outside investors. She speaks with Raz about the early days and the many failures she endured reaching for success, persevering in her added efforts towards the empowerment of women everywhere.

Moderna’s story

On “How I Built This,” you can hear from Noubar Afeyan, the co-founder of Moderna. What started out as a million dollar risk into an experimental idea became one of the factors in ridding the world of COVID-19. From a vaccine prototype, to testing it with the National Institutes of Health, to overseeing the most rapid vaccine roll-out in history, Moderna has certainly cemented itself in the bio-tech space.

You’ll hear stories from the founders of Dude Perfect, an entertainment platform that continues to film themselves performing outrageous stunts. Or the founder of Burt’s Bees, who, with the help of a reclusive beekeeper, created one of the most recognizable brands in America.

Nearest Green’s whiskey recipe

Or our personal favorite: the story of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. In 2016, Fawn Weaver read a New York Times article telling the story of Nearest Green, a formerly enslaved man who taught the Jack Daniels how to make Tennessee whiskey. She was possessed by this story, eventually purchasing a 300-acre farm in Lynchburg, Tennessee where Nearest taught Jack his secrets. Not only that, but she met with the descendants of both men, initially thinking she would honor Nearest and un-erase his legacy through a book or film.

Instead, she had a better idea: to preserve his memory as authentically as possible would be to make the best bottle of Tennessee whiskey she could. Though she had no background in distilleries or spirit-making, she launched herself headfirst into the white-male dominated industry. Now, five years later, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is one of the fastest growing whiskey brands worldwide, along with being one of the most awarded American whiskeys.

To hear more of these incredible and inspiring stories, check out more episodes of “How I Built This with Guy Raz.”

Listen to ‘How I Built This with Guy Raz’

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