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Producers' Pick | Guy Raz: How Entrepreneurs Build Success

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
March 20, 2022 12:00 am

Producers' Pick | Guy Raz: How Entrepreneurs Build Success

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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March 20, 2022 12:00 am

Creator of the "How I Built This" podcast and author of the new book "How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs."

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Thanks, but no thanks. Laughed out of the room. I'm Guy Raz and on today's show, how a stay-at-home mom went from selling homemade chicken salad to friends and neighbors to building one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in America.

She calls it Chicken Salad Chick. And that's part of the NPR podcast, How I Built This with Guy Raz. He's got a book out called How I Built This. It's a bestseller.

It's out on paperback. The Unexpected Pass to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs. Guy is also founder and CEO of Built-In Productions. Guy, welcome. Congratulations on the success. What prompted this idea?

Brian, thanks so much for having me. You know, what prompted the idea was my love for entrepreneurship. It's an incredible story of American ingenuity, of people who really oftentimes came from nothing and built these incredible businesses and brands. We just heard Stacey Brown's story of building Chicken Salad Chick.

She was a single mom with three kids in Auburn, Alabama. And she built an empire because she knew how to make great chicken salad. And it's an incredible story. And it's a story we hear again and again. And I wanted to amplify those stories.

And that was really the beginning of the show. So you wanted to bring those out. How did you get inspired by entrepreneurship? Are you an entrepreneur too?

I guess in starting this year. I am indeed. Yeah, I am indeed.

I've got two media companies. And you know what, what really inspires me, and I think a lot of people listening can relate to, and I think you could probably relate to this too, Brian, is the idea throughout our lives that people say, no, that can't be done. That's not possible. You know, we hear that throughout our lives and our careers.

And it can be really discouraging, right? I'm sure you heard that throughout your career. People said, no, you can't do this. You can't be that.

You can't do it. And somehow people push through that, you know. And what I wanted to do was show that all of these entrepreneurs that we admire, people who started businesses like Pods or Raising Canes or the Leatherman Knife, you know, Tim Leatherman, they heard no throughout their careers, throughout their lives. And they still persisted and pushed and managed to create things that have changed our culture, changed our country. And persistence, I guess, is one of the key attributes. But let's get into some of the stories. How about the creator of LinkedIn?

Oh, it's incredible. I mean, Reid Hoffman, you know, he was part of the so-called Paypal Mafia, Paypal Pal Mafia. And he came up with this idea to connect people around business, around the things they do, and eventually sold it to Microsoft for billions of dollars.

It's one of the most influential social media sites in the world and something that I'm sure you use, I use, and millions of people use every day to connect and to learn. You got a soccer player in New Zealand is on the national team and notices some unused wood. Yeah. And he goes and he starts a company called Allbirds, which is one of the fastest growing shoe brands in the U.S. He wanted to create the world's most comfortable shoe and he did it using wool, Merino wool from sheep in New Zealand and went on to build this company that's now publicly traded.

And I don't know if you've worn them, but they're incredibly comfortable shoes. It was just an idea. And then you have to have the follow through and you have to have the patience, correct? Exactly.

It's so much of what we, the stories we tell on the show are stories that we know intuitively. You know, you think about a company like Spanx, the undergarments. Sarah Blakely, a young woman living in Atlanta, selling fax machines door to door, but has this idea to transform, to create this transformative brand. Women's undergarments, you know, she's going door to door, trying to get manufacturers to make her a prototype.

Everyone's saying, no, how are you going to take on the big guys? Eventually she does it. She comes up with a prototype.

And, you know, long story short, Spanx is a multibillion dollar company that Sarah Blakely owns outright that she started in her apartment in Atlanta, Georgia. Right. And of course, I think she she also managed the now owner of the Atlanta Hawks, correct? Husband? Indeed. She's an owner of the Hawks, yeah.

I don't think she has to lean on him. He's also a very creative guy. So, Guy, you have this podcast on PBS – NPR, excuse me – on NPR. What led you to that and that idea first before Amazon jumped in?

Well, as you mentioned, now Amazon is our distributor and we work with Amazon. You know, look, I am an audio guy first. That's where I started and that's where I came from. And we really – I really wanted to figure out a way to connect with people around a shared experience, this sort of shared view and belief around building and entrepreneurship. Something that I think really connects people all across the board and all across the country. And that was really the genesis of it. You know, this idea that so many people that we know, that you know, are trying to build something. Whether it's a small store on Shopify or it's a brick and mortar store in your town or it's a bigger idea that could scale.

And, you know, I wanted to create a space where people could feel inspired to do that and to think about it and to think big. And you started one of your early jobs when you were 25. You were in the year 2000. You were working in Berlin. You were covering the Balkans, correct? And the war that never seemed to end over there. Yeah.

No. No, I started out as a reporter, you know, back when I was younger. And I was overseas for seven years and I covered Iraq and Afghanistan and I was based in Jerusalem. I knew many Fox News reporters when I was out there and some great reporters like Jennifer Griffin.

I was in Jerusalem with her. And it was a different time in my life. You know, I love that excitement. But now, of course, I'm a dad with kids and doing very different type of work.

But that was a really important part of my sort of early career and learning about, you know, how to kind of build a career out of what I was doing. And when you see what's going on around the world, are you glad you're not covering, let's say, in the Ukraine right now? Are you glad you're not in Berlin right now? Brian, I have so much respect for the courage of the reporters, the Fox reporters and the CNN and Times. All the reporters out there are doing really courageous work to bring us the story of what's happening there. It's a very dangerous work. It's very stressful work. But it's really important work. And I really admire what they're doing so much. Right.

But you're glad to be reflecting on the way people aren't shooting at you. Absolutely. Yes.

Yes. If you were to teach a class right now on entrepreneurship and some of the foundation of success that you use, besides the anecdotal things, no more do I get persistence, determination. You have to have a vision.

But not every day. Some great entrepreneurs who have products that just don't resonate. Did you notice that when people talk about those failures, were they necessary to find the product or the service that did work? One hundred percent.

One hundred percent. I mean, think about a company like Slack. You know, lots of people are using Slack in the workplace now. That started out as a computer game company. Stuart Butterfield wanted to make a massive multiplayer online game, and he did. It was called Glitch and it failed.

Nobody used it. But in the process of building Glitch, they also built an internal communication system that they used among them, among themselves, the people at Glitch. And one day somebody said, hey, you know, this is kind of cool. We might see if we can turn this into something else.

And Glitch became Slack, which is now a, you know, multibillion dollar company that was that really was never intended to be a communications tool. So sometimes you have to oftentimes you have to fail in order to understand what you're really going after. And oftentimes that's revealed through the process of failure.

Is there any people that surprised you with the journey when you get a chance to sit down and talk to them for a couple hours or her? Brian, I'm surprised every time I interview somebody, you know, I just interviewed Todd Graves, the founder of Raising Cane's, the chicken restaurant, the chicken finger restaurant. And I mean, this is here's a guy from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who had no money.

He had he had no family connections. He wanted to start a chicken finger restaurant right outside the gates of LSU. He went to Alaska for a summer and worked on a salmon boat. You know, one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

Right. For three months, almost died getting thrown off that boat. But he came back with fifty thousand dollars, which was the money he used to put down a down payment on a property that he then turned into Raising Cane's, which is now the fastest growing fast food chain in the United States. From the Fox News podcast network, I'm Ben Domenech, Fox News contributor and editor of the transom dot com daily newsletter, and I'm inviting you to join a conversation every week. It's the Ben Domenech podcast.

Subscribe and listen now by going to Fox News podcast dot com. You know, it's also interesting is that and you write in your intro when people go to this pandemic, every most people to put their lives on hold and they had a chance to reflect, you know, is this commute worth it? Is this job worth it? Am I feeling fulfilled here?

And I imagine a lot of them are a great place where we go to your podcast. But a lot of people are probably saying that, yeah, I'm making a good living, but am I doing what I want? It's such an important question, and what's been so interesting is that if you look at the number of people registering new businesses, business licenses, EINs, it was at a record at a 20 year high last year. And I believe at the end of this year, it will be even higher because that's precisely what people are asking is what I'm doing worth it and can I be doing something that is more fulfilling and can I take a risk? And that's that to me is one of the most exciting outcomes of the pandemic.

Right. To say, hey, this is really, really intended to do. You get that job, you get married, you get a house, you got some payment. Next thing you know, you're 45 years old and you go, am I doing what I want to do?

Is it worth it? You also say that around 40 years old is when entrepreneurs really dig in for the most part. That's when they have their success. People's images, that whiz kid, 21 year old teenager, but that's not necessarily what the stats say?

No, exactly. In fact, first time entrepreneurs, the average age is 41 years old. And actually, when you really begin to hit your stride as an entrepreneur, it tends not to happen until you're in your 50s, sometimes early 60s. You know, we did the story of Bob's Red Mill. It's one of the biggest grain and, you know, baking goods products in the country. It was started by Bob Moore when he was 57 years old.

It's an enormous company now. And so this idea that startups and businesses can only be started when you're in your 20s and eating top ramen and pizza is a complete myth. That is a time to take risks for sure, but it's also a time to learn. And usually that learning begins to come together in your late 30s, early 40s when you have the confidence to really take the leap and try something new. This is what I've noticed.

I don't know if you picked it up. And tell me if that's not what the stats play out. Entrepreneurs aren't usually doing it to get rich. They're doing it to be successful. They want to make it work.

They aren't usually, a lot of times though, they won't even notice how much debt they might be going into because all they see is the goal. Is that correct? It's the journey, in many cases, to get to that success?

It's 100% correct. And the best evidence for that is when you talk to an entrepreneur whose business was bought out, virtually every single one I've interviewed has gone on to start something new. So Max Levchin, he was one of the co-founders of PayPal, he walked away with $20 million.

What did he do? He turned around and he started a new company, and he made more money from that. And he turned around and started a new company that is called Affirm, which is a publicly traded company. He doesn't even know how much money he has and he doesn't care because what matters to him is being part of something bigger and creating something that has purpose. And that gives himself meaning and meaning to people who work with him and work around him. And when entrepreneurs, on the rare occasions when they sell their business and retire, many of them really start to get depressed because they miss that camaraderie. They miss the people around them. They miss the exchange and the creative tension that those of us who are lucky enough to work around other people get.

And so that to me is the number one – the best evidence for why it's almost never about the money. You know what's so interesting is I read the whole book on Phil Knight, that monster book about Shoe Dog. And he talked about starting up Nike and having to cut the deal with Japan and coming up with the innovation and trying to get people to wear his shoes in a major event and having the souls fall apart. They gave loans only month to month.

They couldn't string it out. So he had money he had to come up with every month. And I'm reading this. I'm getting stressed reading it. When I finally meet him and I'm seeing the size of Nike, this global brand, and I said, man, I don't know how you did it month to month. And he says, I miss it. I loved it. I said, you loved it?

Not knowing if the business is going to work, if you're going to be able to pay your bills, you have a family at home? You loved it? He goes, oh yeah. So I go, convincing his landlord not to charge him rent one week of one month?

I go, I can't believe that. But Brian, it's because it's that – it's the building process, right? I mean think about your – the early part of your career where you were struggling before you were a nationally known name.

Before people would take your call, right? When you were still early in your career, there's a part of that struggle and that grind that really does appeal to us. And of course at the time it was hard. But it's also in some ways that struggle really breeds creative thinking.

And it breeds this passion that we sort of crave. I think about Roblox, this game that every kid between the age of 9 and 12 plays now. And the founder of that company, David Bazooki, he created this game in 2004. But we really only started to hear about it in 2020. So people think of Roblox as this overnight success story, but for many years it kind of hung out there in obscurity. And you think about this guy who hung on for 15 years.

The pandemic hits and all of a sudden three quarters of children aged 9 to 12 are playing Roblox. And I think today its market cap is like $27 billion. It's an unbelievable story. Yeah, if you don't have struggle, you don't appreciate success, even to drill down even further. Hey Guy, congratulations on the book and the series on the Amazon deal and I'm sure the best is yet to come. And I'm sure these entrepreneurs are lining up to get on the show because that's going to continue their success.

And unfortunately your phone bill is probably about non-stop people leaving a message on your voicemail asking to get on because that's part of the mindset of the people that you want to interview to begin with. Yes, yes. Alright, so pick up his book guys, How I Built This. Thanks Guy. Brian, thank you. From the Fox News Podcast Network, subscribe and listen to the Trey Gowdy Podcast. Former federal prosecutor and four-term U.S. Congressman from South Carolina brings you a one-of-a-kind podcast. Subscribe and listen now by going to FoxNewsPodcast.com
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-15 02:01:55 / 2023-02-15 02:09:13 / 7

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