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Trends from Entrepreneurs’ Starts on NPR

National Public Radio (NPR) has a great podcast called “How I Built This” anchored by Guy Raz. From the show:
How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world's best known companies and brands.
There are some really fascinating stories including Spanx’s Sarah Blakely, WeWork’s Miguel McKelvey, and Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia.

Here are some trends I heard from these stories:
  • They’re opportunistic. Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard started life out by becoming a metal worker to make climbing equipment when he couldn’t find what he wanted.
  • They start things with people they haven’t known for a while… or they go it alone. WeWork’s Miguel McKelvey shared how he met his cofounder through his roommate after he wanted to work in NYC. He moved there. He met Adam Neumann who was highly complementary in skill sets and the ability to hook people on vision and sell.
  • They fake the sh!t out of it. Spanx’s Sarah Blakely would pop up her display in department stores on her own without getting official consent. People thought she was legit and bought her product.
  • There’s the hustle we all think we’re doing, and there’s the hustle they do. It’s next level. Toms’ Blake Mycoskie rolled from idea to idea, startup to startup – from a laundry delivery service for his college peers to doing giant advertising displays on the side of buildings only after seeing them work in LA. Then, he spent weeks in S. America to help hand-craft over 2,000 pairs of shoes when orders started piling up when he first started.
Go listen to the podcast. It’ll be motivating and inspirational.

What podcasts do you listen to?

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