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Learning from the insights of company founders – The Royal Gazette

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Learning from the insights of company founders – The Royal Gazette

Guy Raz is a journalist, correspondent and radio host and currently works at NPR, among other things doing his popular podcast, How I built this. (File Photo)

I have been an avid listener of the National Public Radio broadcast for many years How I built this by Guy Raz.

Listening to the weekly interviews with the founders of successful companies reminds me of the extraordinary things ordinary people can achieve when they set out to solve shared problems or recognize opportunities and untapped potential.

These episodes allow me to share the founder’s journey in a personal and engaging way, while also being inspired (even if only for a short while now!). Many of these stories have stayed with me over the years.

In 2020, Raz released the book version of How I built thiscapturing for all of us many of these amazing stories and lessons learned.

Thus, our Moments of clarity this week’s column is a salute not only to company founders and entrepreneurs, but also to those of us who are problem solvers and creators, and to Guy Raz, who shares unexpected paths to success from the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs in his book, also titled How I built Thiwith

His podcast and NPR interviews of the same name are the source for many of the topics explored in this book.

The structure of the book is based on the inspiring stories of successful company founders and the different ways they innovate and persevere.

NPR host Guy Yaz uses his podcast How I built thisto interview the world’s most famous entrepreneurs to learn how they built their iconic brands

Raz has organized these stories around three themes: The Call, The Test, and The Destination, each highlighting specific topics, companies, and founders.

Each chapter then explores a specific moment that almost every founder faces in the life of their business. These stories provide nuggets of insight that extend beyond building a business. They inspire both “possibility and relief”—by sharing the paths and insights that come from finding real problems that need solving—and by solving them. The applicability of the lessons learned from exploring these moments is broad and relevant not only to founders, but to all of us as creators and problem solvers.

Raz shares why he wrote this book: “In this book, you deal with the struggles and self-doubt and fear of starting a business or pursuing a big idea in your workplace.

“When we hear stories from other people who have gone through similar challenges – and found a way to overcome them – it can be one of the most powerful motivators for us!

“So in that spirit… I wrote a book! Not surprisingly, it is called How I built This and is filled with advice, wisdom, ideas and inspiration – all told through the stories of more than 100 amazing entrepreneurs.

“The book is intended for anyone who wants to build something new – a business, a project, a non-profit organization – anything that requires courage and energy. And I wrote it because over the course of my career I’ve always wanted to have something I could turn to when I needed advice or encouragement or a road map on how to solve a problem. This book is for you! “

Although this sounds like a book about business, it is more about life.

Guy Raz presents personal stories. The themes that unite them are the inspiration and then the path to finding the way through different challenges.

Following these themes makes the stories he shares not only fascinating to read, but also applicable to many situations we may find ourselves in. These stories offer insights on how to keep going if you fail at first.

To quote a review I agree with: “It’s not just a matter of trying again – there’s a lot of practical advice that has wide application. A rich source of ideas and a fun read”.

After our last MOC on The Culture Code, one of the chapters I found most interesting was in section three, The Destination: Chapter 20 – Build a culture, not a cult. This chapter includes the story of the beginning of Netflix and its founder Reed Hastings.

In 2009, Hastings compiled 130 PowerPoint slides drawn from his ten years of experience as a serial entrepreneur. He and his team then referred to this as the “culture deck.” This deck articulates the intended vision of what Netflix wants to be and how the founders want it to operate.

That presentation was then posted on SlideShare, where it “started ricocheting around the Internet” and ended up becoming an unexpected but powerful recruiting tool for this early-stage company.

Netflix was one of the first companies to intentionally hire for culture and values. In the highly competitive hiring environment in Silicon Valley at the time, being able to clearly articulate the culture Netflix’s founders were committed to developing became a competitive hiring advantage. More on the importance of “Day 1” culture is included in this chapter.

Each of the chapters includes an equally compelling and interesting founder story around topics from being open to ideas in Chapter 1, to gaining attention and pivoting (Chapters 12, 13, 18) and ending with topics like thinking small to become great and to be kind (chapters 21 and 25).

I found many of the insights shared to be equally applicable to established organizations as well as the leaders and teams within them…perhaps because in order to get to this point of becoming a viable, ongoing organization, all employees, teams, leaders, customers and stakeholders participated in “building it” – and continue to do so every day. Enjoy reading… or join in How I built This podcasts.

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