It’s easy to assume that people who start iconic companies succeed because they are smarter, luckier, and more capable than the rest of us.
But when you listen to Guy Raz, host of the podcast “How I Built This”, interview the founders of companies like DoorDash, Lonely Planet, Burt’s Bees, and Lyft, you realize that the road to success includes big missteps and epic failures. This is why, to me, there are few things more riveting than listening to an entrepreneur talk honestly about their personal journey.
Of course, a great podcast is made by a great interviewer — and Guy Raz is one of the best. He’s not afraid to get up close and personal with those he interviews, probing into an entrepreneur’s high and low points in ways that illuminate their humanity as well as their business acumen. His questions range from strategy to personal stamina to the challenges of partnerships.
“How I Built This” reveals the messy and often funny truths about back-stories of entrepreneurs and the companies they’ve founded. For example, were you aware that Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon Athetica, made a living working on an Alaska oil pipeline for two years? Did you know that New Belgium Brewing started as a home-brewery in Kim Jordan’s and Jeff Lebesch’s basement? And it turns out that the founders of Wayfair had zero interest in home furnishings but were fascinated by the idea of a website that would give people choices.
One of my favorite “How I Built This” interviews is with Airbnb founder Joe Gebbia who talks about the many “terrible business ideas” he worked on before he had the idea for Airbnb. He shares, “It’s about listening and iterating. We got it wrong four times in a row before we hit on the right idea.”
Check out How I Built This and tell me what your favorite episode is!
Image Credit: Peter Prato