NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz on Tour

April 2018
A Standout Year 

Last year was a standout year for NPR podcasts. In particular, How I Built This with Guy Raz, which explores the success stories of some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and how they built their businesses.

And 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger for the show. And its sponsors.

Throughout 2017, the show remained among Podtrac’s Top 20 Podcasts, a list based on audience size, and was among the Top 20 Podcasts of 2017. Last year, the podcast also expanded to broadcast in connection with Planet Money. And launched a live tour, bringing its signature conversations on business, entrepreneurship and inspiration to audiences across the country.

How I Built This with Guy Raz Live builds on NPR’s legacy of events, including live podcast tapings of Ask Me Another, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Pop Culture Happy Hour and more, which reached nearly 80,000 people at live events in 2017. With its live events, NPR caters to audiences’ enthusiasm for these programs and creates opportunities for sponsorship activations that engage audience members.


How I Built This with Guy Raz, Goes on Tour
How I Built This with Guy Raz LIVE

Photo Credit: Jim McAuley

The first-ever How I Built This Live tour, supported by American Express, included sold-out stops in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, DC and Columbus. At each stop, Guy interviewed the founders of some of the world’s most notable companies, including:

  • Jonah Peretti, Founder of Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post
  • Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, Co-founders of Reddit
  • Howard Schultz, Executive Chairman of Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Robert L. Johnson, Founder of BET
  • Arthur Blank, Co-founder of Home Depot, and owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United
  • Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams


Listen to How I Built This Episodes Here


In the conversations, the entrepreneurs often describe how an unlikely circumstance led them to start their business. Co-founders of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, were just two college roommates on a road trip. Howard Schultz of Starbucks worked at a local coffee bean shop. BET’s Robert L. Johnson was a lobbyist for the burgeoning cable industry. In so many cases, an entrepreneur’s “big idea” was inspired by their everyday experiences.

These events gave audiences and aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to hear stories and insights from people who’ve built successful businesses themselves


How I Built This with Guy Raz LIVE

Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz (New York), Jim McAuley (San Francisco), and Jovelle Tamayo (Seattle)

“How We Built This City” Interactive Map

NPR amplified the guest experience and exposure for sponsor American Express through an interactive lobby experience customized to each tour stop. Before each event, attendees placed their photo on a digital, co-branded “How We Built This City” map to show how they’ve made their entrepreneurial mark on the city.

The activation was designed to be shared across social channels and generate enthusiasm for the How I Built This Live experience. In all cities, audiences were surprised at the end of the show as Guy Raz displayed the interactive map on stage, highlighting an individual audience member’s achievement.

How I Built This with Guy Raz LIVE

Photo Credit: Jovelle Tamayo



On to 2018!

And the events never stop! In addition to announcing four additional live podcast tapings in 2018, NPR is pleased to launch the How I Built This Summit, sponsored by American Express.

“After bringing several sold-out How I Built This tapings to audiences across the country, this opportunity feels like the natural next step,” adds Jessica Goldstein, NPR Director of Events and Strategic Initiatives. Like the podcast, this one-day Summit on October 16 in San Francisco will feature Host and Creator Guy Raz’s live, intimate conversations with entrepreneurial superstars, plus breakout sessions focused on how building a business affects an entrepreneur’s entire life.

Click here to register for the event, and contact Johanna Weber to learn more about how your brand can sponsor the How I Built This Summit.


Sponsor NPR Events
NPR Events offer brands the opportunity to align beyond the airwaves and digital experiences, reaching target audiences in person. Through live music events, podcast tapings, original programming for the stage and now conferences, too, brands can engage with audiences in intimate settings alongside top-quality NPR programming.