-I'm so excited to meet you
because I don't really know your face,
but I know your voice. -Yes, this is what I look like.
-You look fantastic. It's great.
-You kind of look what I thought you would look like.
-You look what I -- the same -- same.
-Yeah. -I did not imagine.
-Well, I mean, you see me.
For those of you who don't know "How I Built This,"
can you explain what the show is for people?
-Yeah, so, on one level, it's a business show.
It's about, you know, how these amazing people
created businesses, but at a deeper level,
it's about who you were when nobody would take your call.
Like, who was Howard Schultz
when he had to like sell coffee filters door to door?
-And then he became Starbucks. -Yeah.
And like people were like, "And you are?"
"Howard Schultz." "Okay. And you need...?"
-And then at the deepest level,
it's a show about, "Who were you at your most vulnerable?"
You know, when you were on the bathroom floor,
lying in the fetal position, crying, because you weren't
gonna make payroll or your business was gonna collapse
or you didn't know what was gonna happen.
So it's kind of --
I describe it as a show about vulnerability,
but we kind of use business as a prism
through which to tell the stories.
-It's fascinating just to hear.
Everyone's got a great story, I think.
And so what I love about your interviews,
'cause you get right in there.
What I seem to -- Sometimes I go,
"I don't know if this is gonna be interesting,"
and it is the most fascinating story.
Everyone's got a great thing.
And then, I realize that you have two other shows
that I didn't even know about, "TED Talk" --
-"TED Radio Hour."
-"TED Radio Hour" and "Wow in the World."
-It's a kids show, yep. Kids science show.
-You're the first person ever -- Do you know this? --
to have three shows in the top 20 podcasts on Apple.
Congratulations. [ Cheers and applause ]
Not bad. Not bad.
So I almost feel weird interviewing you
because I want to know, how did you build this?
-I, uh -- yeah.
So, I mean, you know, it really came out of "TED Radio Hour" --
sort of a side project that I was interested in doing.
And, you know, I grew up in a home
where my parents were entrepreneurs.
They quit their safe jobs in their 40s,
and they started a small business.
They started a jewelry store, and there was a lot of,
you know, tension in doing that, right?
There was -- They didn't know if they were gonna succeed.
They didn't know if they could provide for their kids.
And when I start to reflect on that as an adult
and begin to sort of remember those moments
of the cold calling and the door-to-door sales
and kind of the ups and downs that they went through,
I thought, "We should do this on a big scale,"
because these stories are so dramatic.
You know? -Yeah.
-Stories of building businesses
are full of failure and triumph and success.
They're heroes' journeys.
-That's what I like about your interviews
because everyone fails. Like, royally fails.
-You'd think like, "Howard Schultz -- Starbucks.
Everything worked. It was easy, right?
-Yeah. -Right, you just do it.
Dude, it's unbelievable.
They go, "I didn't even know if I could pay anyone tomorrow."
And now the company is worth millions.
-I mean, Stoneyfield Yogurt is a great example.
For 10 years, Gary Hirshberg failed
and then failed again, then failed again.
Like, the cows didn't make milk or the farm collapsed
or they couldn't pay the rent or the delivery truck broke down,
or nobody was buying the yogurt.
And he kept going back to his investors
and saying, "Give me one more chance."
One more chance, and it was like near-death experience
after near-death experience.
Today it's hundreds of millions of dollars,
and the company does sales around the world.
It's an amazing story.
-How did you know that you'd be good with talking to these CEOs?
I mean from TED, or...? -I didn't.
I mean, I think it's -- a lot of it is that,
They want to share their stories.
You know? They want --
And I think that they feel --
And what I always say to them in the interviews is,
"I want you to surrender." You know?
"I want you to come into this with a spirit of generosity
and to really talk about your ups but also your downs,
because success after success isn't that interesting.
-You hear about someone's success over and over again,
that's not what we want to hear.
We want to hear about your failure,
because that's where we can learn from you.
-Yeah, and most of these giant companies too,
a lot of the interviews that I hear, it gets giant,
and then kind of gets away from them.
Sometimes, like, they'll sell off to a major label
or a major thing. -Bobbi Brown.
-Bobbi Brown was a great interview.
-Yeah. -She sold to Estée Lauder
and just kind of -- She's not there anymore.
-She's not there anymore.
Or Kate Spade was a great example of that.
-Yes. -Kate Spade, I remember --
You know, tragically, obviously, sadly before she died,
we had an amazing interview with Kate Spade
and her husband, Andy.
And, you know, imagine being Kate Spade
and going all around the world
and seeing your name emblazoned on shops all around the world.
She couldn't, by the way, use her name.
She was not allowed to use her name.
-Sold her name so that --
-She essentially sold her name, yeah.
-The stories are just -- They're endless.
-They're full of drama, right? -Yes.
What you have learned? Is there one thing --
I mean, you must have learned so many things
from all these smart people.
Is there any advice that sticks --
that you can give us all?
-I think about Jim Koch.
He's the guy who founded Sam Adams beer.
-Yes. -Boston Beer Company, right?
Amazing, amazing story, right?
He had this safe job at Boston Consulting Group
in his mid 30s, he had a wife and two kids,
and he decided to quit, and he decided because
he thought to himself, you know,
"If I stay here, it's going to be dangerous.
If I leave, it's scary,
but if I stay, it will be dangerous.
Because one day, I am gonna wake up,
and I'm gonna say, 'Why didn't I take that risk?
Why didn't I try this thing?'
And I don't want to regret it."
And the danger of regret is greater than the fear
of actually taking the leap and trying it.
-Wow. That's exactly right.
You said something, too.
You said curiosity is actually better than intelligence.
-Yeah. I mean, I think that
a lot of the people on the show, they're not the most educated.
They didn't go to Ivy League schools.
Some of them are dropouts.
Some of them didn't do well, academically.
But the thing they all share is curiosity.
You know? And I find that, time and again,
that when people go into a room
and they're just open to new ideas
and new ways of thinking and open to taking in
all kinds of perspectives,
those are the people who succeed.
It's not the people who have the book smarts.
-Yeah. Do you think now you know an idea is a good idea or not?
Are you an expert on this?
Do people come to with you ideas all the time?
-Yes, and I am so -- I am so bad at it.
-I have a lot of -- [ Laughter ]
-Yeah. -I have a lot of great ideas.
I mean -- -Well, I actually --
I actually think that High Hands is an amazing idea.
[ Light laughter ]
-Yeah. I'm a genius for that.
Yeah, absolutely. -That is an amazing idea.
-Yeah, thank you. Yeah.
-Do you know about High Hands? -Well, it's --
It's actually called Hands High. -Sorry, Hands High.
-But it doesn't matter. -Sorry.
[ Laughter ]
-That's one of my failures.
-But amazing, right? Sports apparel that --
-Yeah, I invented a sweatshirt.
Because I go, "What do you do when your team is winning
or scores?" You go -- Freeze.
Why not put a logo in the armpit?
-Right? [ Laughter ]
-That's prime real estate.
-But that's -- -Hands High!
-Right? Because you recognized a gap in the market.
The fashion industry wasn't using this space.
Sports apparel has not changed for how many years?
It's so boring. Same shirt, same hats.
Same everything. -Yes, yes.
-This is brand-new. Let's bring back the wave!
-Right? -Let's reinvent the wave.
Everyone should --
Can we do the wave right now for Guy?
Let's start on this side over here.
Let's start. Ready?
1, 2, 3, go!
[ Cheers and applause ]
Guy Raz, everybody!
Check out his podcast, "How I Built This" with Guy Raz!