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Business Schooled on Smash Notes

Business Schooled podcast.

December 28, 2019

In this new podcast by Synchrony, Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Initialized Capital and Reddit, meets the OG generation of entrepreneurs and learns how they started their own booming businesses.

Episodes with Smash Notes

As he concludes his journey across the country learning from OG Gen-X and Boomer entrepreneurs, Alexis admits he’s never talked business with the man he credits for getting him started. Alexis heads to Baltimore, Maryland, to sit down with his father—and CEO of Infinity Global Travel—Chris Ohanian. The two take a trip down memory lane and leave us with some timeless wisdom to hand off to the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Updated on May 14

How did a Navy vet with zero culinary training become the newest guru of backyard grilling? Soraya travels to Louisville, Kentucky to meet Noah Glanville, founder of Pit Barrel Cooker Company, to learn how he leapt past some crucial turning points and nailed a recipe for growth by baking his beliefs into every part of the business. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

One of the biggest developments in home building is also the smallest. Soraya travels to Elgin, Illinois and meets with Bob Clarizio, founder of Bantam Built, to learn why he saw a huge opportunity in building tiny homes, and how he staged a major comeback after the hype cycle left him out in the cold. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

When clothing is made by hand, there’s a story behind every stitch. Soraya travels to Dallas, Texas to meet Cristina Lynch, founder of Mi Golondrina, to learn how she went all in on her passion for traditional Mexican clothing, crafted a community that crosses borders, and transformed a one-woman operation into a rising fashion brand. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

In the heart of New York’s Diamond District, one jewelry business is turning the industry on its head. Soraya meets Anubh Shah and Slisha Kankariya, the founders of With Clarity, to learn how they kickstarted their company with 3D printing, but had to overhaul their entire customer experience to truly make the business shine. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

How did a veterinarian with a wild idea defy expectations and build an empire? Soraya travels to Mount Laurel, New Jersey to meet Dr. Lisa Aumiller, founder of HousePaws, and find out. Dr. Lisa reveals how she dropped out of the mainstream vet industry, took animal care on the road, and used her nose for opportunity to put HousePaws ahead of the pack. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

The race is on to master a whole new sector of the US auto market. Soraya travels to Provo, Utah to meet Steve Hall, founder of Vanderhall Motor Works, to learn how he got his business in high gear with an innovative three-wheeled roadster. Steve recounts how he survived countless trips to the drawing board to take Vanderhall from the back roads of Salt Lake City to a thriving enterprise that’s setting the pace. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

Nobody ever said that changing your company culture would be easy. Soraya travels to Grand Prairie, Texas to meet Jason Adams, founder of Home Zone Furniture. Jason reveals how some hard truths inspired him to put a people-first POV at the heart of his brand, and helped turn Home Zone into one of the country’s top furniture retailers. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

A new challenger in sportswear is gearing up to take on the field’s heavy hitters. Soraya travels to Portland, Oregon to meet Lynn Le, founder of Society Nine, to learn why she created boxing gloves for women, and how she’s fighting to upgrade her business from one hot product to the industry’s next cult brand. Be sure to subscribe and review Business Schooled after listening.

Synchrony’s podcast Business Schooled is back with a new business puzzle to solve. New businesses in America are succeeding at the highest rates we’ve seen in thirty years. New host Soraya Darabi, start-up co-founder and general partner at Trail Mix Ventures, hits the road to get essential lessons on business and life from eight entrepreneurs who’ve graduated from their early start-up days and unlocked new phases of growth. All eight episodes drop November 26. Download and subscribe to Season 2 of Business Schooled. Be sure to rate and review Business Schooled after listening, and learn more at

Quilting, one of America's oldest pastimes, is now also a great American success story. Alexis Ohanian visits Hamilton, Missouri, to meet Jenny Doan, founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company and her son, Al, to learn how they rebuilt their life, their town, and created a global quilting "four-patch block" at a time. 

Sometimes overnight success can be a business' biggest problem. Alexis Ohanian travels to Katy, Texas, to meet Dr. Anastasia Gentles and Zawadi Bryant, co-founders of NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care, to uncover their unique approach to growing a thriving company while maintaining the core values that made them successful to begin with. 

Move over Austin and Nashville, there’s another music capital in the US. Alexis Ohanian touches down in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to meet Chuck Surack, CEO and founder of Sweetwater, to learn how he went from doing business out of the back of a VW van to running a worldwide music retailer. 

How does a 60-something with a PhD in Social Welfare reinvent herself and the travel bag industry? Alexis Ohanian visits Lo & Sons’ Brooklyn headquarters to meet its convention-defying CEO, Helen Lo. Along with her two sons, Helen reveals how they turned an insight and insult into a thriving luxury travel and lifestyle e-commerce brand.

How does someone who is camera-shy become one of the most recognizable faces in Southern California? Alexis Ohanian visits San Diego to meet Jerry Navarra and Brian Woods of Jerome’s Furniture and discuss TV-commercial stardom, family-business succession, and devising a business plan that defied every norm in the industry.

Going from 0 to 60 mph isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Alexis Ohanian stops by West Palm Beach, Florida, to meet Vinnie DeVito—founder, and CEO of Resurrection Muscle Cars. Vinnie describes his comeback from financial despair, parting with a beloved yellow Camaro, and how he pivoted his entire business to reinvent the American muscle car.

Who said 50 cents and unbeatable customer service isn’t enough to start a booming business? Alexis Ohanian visits Long Island, New York, to learn how the American Dream has become reality for Gregg Richard, CEO of P.C. Richard & Son, and his family. 

Catch a preview of some of the lessons Alexis Ohanian learns on his 8-episode journey across the United States. All episodes drop November 24, 2018.

People tend to think that all the innovation is happening by founders under 40. Fact is, Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are building twice as many businesses as Millennials. In Business Schooled, Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Initialized Capital and Reddit, travels the country meeting these entrepreneurs and learning from their successes. Subscribe to Business Schooled today. All 8 episodes drop November 24, 2018.