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Planet Money and How I Built This
Sundays at 10am

Planet Money explains the economy with playful storytelling and Peabody award-winning deep dive, roll up your sleeves journalism. The team includes Robert Smith, Jacob Goldstein, Stacey Vanek Smith, Noel King, Ailsa Chang and Kenny Malone.

How I Built This is where innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists take us through the often challenging journeys they took to build their now iconic companies. Featured guests include the founders of Lyft, Patagonia, Zappos, Spanx, Samuel Adams, Instagram, and more.

Look below for lists of recent episodes of Planet Money and How I Built This. To learn more about Planet Money, click here. To learn more about How I Built This, click here.

Planet Money
  • There's a behind the scenes industry that helps big brands decide questions like: How big should a bag of chips be? What's the right size for a bottle of shampoo? And yes, also: When should a company do a little shrinkflation? From Cookie Monster to President Biden, everybody is complaining about shrinkflation these days. But when we asked the packaging and pricing experts, they told us that shrinkflation is just one move in a much larger, much weirder 4-D chess game. The name of that game is "price pack architecture." This is the idea that you shouldn't just sell your product in one or two sizes. You should sell your product in a whole range of different sizes, at a whole range of different price points. Over the past 15 years, price pack architecture has completely changed how products are marketed and sold in the United States. Today, we are going on a shopping cart ride-along with one of those price pack architects. She's going to pull back the curtain and show us why some products are getting larger while others are getting smaller, and tell us about the adorable little soda can that started it all.By the end of the episode, you'll never look at a grocery store the same way again. Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • Graphite is sort of the one-hit wonder of minerals. And that hit? Pencils. Everyone loves to talk about pencils when it comes to graphite. If graphite were to perform a concert, they'd close out the show with "pencils," and everyone would clap and cheer. But true fans of graphite would be shouting out "batteries!" Because graphite is a key ingredient in another important thing that we all use in our everyday lives: lithium ion batteries.Almost all of the battery-ready graphite in the world comes from one place: China. That's actually true of lots of the materials that go into batteries, like processed lithium and processed cobalt. Which is why it was such a big deal when, earlier this year, President Biden announced a tariff package that will make a bunch of Chinese imports more expensive. Included in this package are some tariffs on Chinese graphite. He wants to create a new battery future—one that doesn't rely so much on China. In this episode, we get down on the ground to look at this big supply chain story through the lens of one critical mineral. And we visit a small town that realizes that it might be the perfect place to create an American graphite industry. And we find that declaring a new battery future is one thing, but making it happen is another thing entirely. Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • Most economic textbooks will tell you that there can be real dangers in running up a big national debt. A major concern is how the debt you add now could slow down economic growth in the future. Economists have not been able to nail down how much debt a country can safely take on. But they have tried.Back in 2010, two economists took a look at 20 countries over the course of decades, and sometimes centuries, and came back with a number. Their analysis suggested that economic growth slowed significantly once national debt passed 90% of annual GDP... and that is when the fight over debt and growth really took off.On today's episode: a deep dive on what we know, and what we don't know, about when exactly national debt becomes a problem. We will also try to figure out how worried we should be about the United States' current debt total of 26 trillion dollars.This episode was hosted by Keith Romer and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Willa Rubin and edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez with help from Sofia Shchukina and engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • For thousands of years, getting light was a huge hassle. You had to make candles from scratch. This is not as romantic as it sounds. You had to get a cow, raise the cow, feed the cow, kill the cow, get the fat out of the cow, cook the fat, dip wicks into the fat. All that--for not very much light. Now, if we want to light a whole room, we just flip a switch.The history of light explains why the world today is the way it is. It explains why we aren't all subsistence farmers, and why we can afford to have artists and massage therapists and plumbers. (And, yes, people who make podcasts about the history of light.) The history of light is the history of economic growth--of things getting faster, cheaper, and more efficient.On today's show: How we got from dim little candles made out of cow fat, to as much light as we want at the flick of a switch.Today's show was hosted by Jacob Goldstein and David Kestenbaum. It was originally produced by Caitlin Kenney and Damiano Marchetti. Today's rerun was produced by James Sneed, and edited by Jenny Lawton. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Engineering by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • There is a constant arms race between law enforcement and criminals, especially when it comes to technology. For years, law enforcement has been frustrated with encrypted messaging apps, like Signal and Telegram. And law enforcement has been even more frustrated by encrypted phones, specifically designed to thwart authorities from snooping. But in 2018, in a story that seems like it's straight out of a spy novel, the FBI was approached with an offer: Would they like to get into the encrypted cell phone business? What if they could convince criminals to use their phones to plan and document their crimes — all while the FBI was secretly watching? It could be an unprecedented peek into the criminal underground. To pull off this massive sting operation, the FBI needed to design a cell phone that criminals wanted to use and adopt. Their mission: to make a tech platform for the criminal underworld. And in many ways, the FBI's journey was filled with all the hallmarks of many Silicon Valley start-ups. On this show, we talk with journalist Joseph Cox, who wrote a new book about the FBI's cell phone business, called Dark Wire. And we hear from the federal prosecutor who became an unlikely tech company founder. Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • We are living in a kind of golden age for online fraudsters. As the number of apps and services for storing and sending money has exploded – so too have the schemes that bad actors have cooked up to steal that money. Every year, we hear more and more stories of financial heartbreak. What you don't often hear about is what happens after the scam?On today's show, we follow one woman who was scammed out of over $800,000 on her quest to get her money back. That journey takes her from the halls of the FBI to the fraud departments of some of the country's biggest financial institutions. And it offers a window into how the systems that are theoretically designed to help the victims of financial cybercrime actually work in practice. This episode was hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and Jeff Guo. It was produced by Willa Rubin and edited by Keith Romer. It was engineered by Neal Rauch and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
How I Built This
  • The Cronut and Dominique Ansel Bakery: Dominique Ansel
    Dominique Ansel’s invention of the Cronut — an inspired liaison between croissant and donut — was supposed to be a one-time indulgence for Mother’s Day. But once word spread about the perfect hybrid pastry, his Manhattan bakery was overwhelmed by endless lines and Cronut scalpers. Dominique eventually learned to manage the hype and grow his business while maintaining his craft. Named the World’s Best Pastry Chef in 2017, he has found an entrepreneurial sweet spot in three brick-and-mortar locations and a mail-order business, which will overnight a Cronut to your door, sans the line, and scalpers be damned. This episode was produced by Carla Esteves with music by Ramtin Arablouei.It was edited by Neva Grant with research help from Katherine Sypher. Our audio engineer was Robert Rodriguez.You can follow HIBT on X & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com. And sign up for Guy’s free newsletter at guyraz.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
  • Advice Line with Randy Goldberg of Bombas
    Bombas co-founder and Chief Brand Officer Randy Goldberg joins Guy on the Advice Line, where they answer questions from three early-stage founders about building brands and reaching new communities.Today we meet Rivky, an Orthodox Jewish woman who's redefining modest clothing for plus-size women. Then Shyam, a rocket engineer who wants to introduce Americans to a popular South Asian tabletop game. And Änna, a boutique owner who wants to translate her hip brick-and-mortar vibes into the digital space.If you’d like to be featured on a future Advice Line episode, leave us a one minute message that tells us about your business and a specific question you’d like answered. Send a voice memo to hibt@id.wondery.com or call 1-800-433-1298.And check out Bombas's founding story from Randy’s first appearance on the show in 2022.This episode was produced by Alex Cheng with music by Ramtin Arablouei. It was edited by John Isabella. Our audio engineer was Cena Loffredo.You can follow HIBT on X & Instagram and sign up for Guy's free newsletter at guyraz.com.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
  • Dave’s Hot Chicken: Arman Oganesyan
    Dave’s Hot Chicken began as a tiny pop-up, selling spicy chicken tenders and fries from a tent in East Hollywood. Their homemade take on Nashville Hot Chicken was an overnight sensation in a city that had barely heard of it, and within days, co-founder Arman Oganesyan and his partners were working frantically to serve the long lines out front. Since launching seven years ago, the pop-up has grown into a chain of 200 stores, with franchises across the country, and a beloved rubber chicken mascot.This episode was produced by Sam Paulson with music by Ramtin Arablouei.It was edited by Neva Grant with research help from Katherine Sypher. Our audio engineers were Robert Rodriguez and Patrick Murray.You can follow HIBT on X & Instagram, and email us at hibt@id.wondery.com.And sign up for Guy’s free newsletter at guyraz.comSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
  • Advice Line with Fawn Weaver of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey (April 2024)
    In case you missed it, we’re rerunning our Advice Line launch episode from a few weeks ago. Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey founder Fawn Weaver joins Guy on the Advice Line, where they answer questions from three early-stage entrepreneurs about telling their brand story. In this episode, we’ll meet Kevin, the owner of a coffee trailer and roastery who grew up on a coffee farm in Honduras. Then Elisabeth, whose jewelry company aims to make a difference in the developing world. And finally, Joanne, a home baker looking to turn her love of pecan pie into a full-time business. If you’d like to be featured on a future Advice Line episode, leave us a one minute message that tells us about your business and a specific question you’d like answered. Send a voice memo to hibt@id.wondery.com or call 1-800-433-1298.And check out the origin story of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, told by Fawn on the show in 2021.This episode was produced by Chris Maccini with music by Ramtin Arablouei. It was edited by John Isabella. Our audio engineer was Neal Rauch.You can follow HIBT on X & Instagram, and sign up for Guy’s free newsletter at guyraz.com. See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.