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David Fradin of ‘Building Insanely Great Products’: “Positioning”

It’s key for a product’s success and a book is also a product that one stakes out a “position in one’s mind” to make their book valuable. In my case I build on my over 50 years of experience. Failures and successes to provide stories in my books and in my classes that helps the […]

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It’s key for a product’s success and a book is also a product that one stakes out a “position in one’s mind” to make their book valuable. In my case I build on my over 50 years of experience. Failures and successes to provide stories in my books and in my classes that helps the student remember the key learning takeaway.


As a part of our series about “How You Can Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book”, I had the pleasure of interviewing David Fradin.

David Fradin was classically trained as an HP Product Manager and was then recruited by Apple to bring the first hard disk drive on a PC to market and later became the Apple /// Business Unit Manager at the same level as Steve Jobs. He is the author of “Building Insanely Great Products,” “Organizing and Managing Insanely Great Products,” and the Wiley published “Successful Product Design and Management” all available now on Amazon.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what motivated you to become an expert in the particular area that you are writing about?

About 35% of all new products fail each year representing the waste of between 500 Billion dollars to One Trillion dollars worldwide. If I can help increase product success and reduce that waste, then more resources would be available to help people and the environment.

Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?

After I started the University of Michigan Flyers, I was asked by the former Dean of Aerospace engineering to start a nationwide student organization in support of an American SST. It was called Fly America’s SST or FASST for short. As its leader and before I finished my sophomore year, I had testified before Congress, gone to meetings at the White House and was quoted in Time Magazine. This taught me that politics is important since politics is how one gets things in our society.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?

I am working on a book about and from my Dad…Hymie. Its title will be “Letters from My Hymie: I was a great humor writer but became a plumber”. Its based on letters he wrote home during WW II. Then my last book entitled: “Trippin: Life’s Little Laughs”

Thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you please tell us a bit about your book? Can you please share a specific passage or story that illustrates the main theme of your book?

“Building Insanely Great Products” is about the five keys to product success: SPICE: Strategy, Process, Information, Customer and Employees

You are a successful author and thought leader. Which three-character traits do you feel were most instrumental to your success when launching your book? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  • Empathy. Caring about others. If a person chooses to work for me, I always ask, what do they want to do when the grow up. I then try to help them achieve that goal. If I do, they will be happier and will do an even better job for me.
  • Think Different. We are taught to Think Different at Apple. Shortly after taking over as the Apple /// Group Product Manager, the Executive Committee, at the urging of Steve Jobs, shut down the product line causing a potential multimillion dollar inventory exposure. The president of Apple at the time, John Sculley, asked me what we should do about it. I said give me the authority equal to the responsibility, give me an independent business unit. Apple did and my team made enough money to fund Steve’s Mac project and employ over 1,000 people.
  • Leadership. A leader requires having people be willing to follow. A leader leads by example. By demonstrating support for the Apple ///, the organization, distributors, rep firms and dealers got behind the product and sold it making it the third most popular computer in the world at that time.

In my work, I have found that writing a book can be a great way to grow a brand. Can you share some stories or examples from your own experience about how you helped your own business or brand grow by writing a book?

The Wiley published “Successful Product Design and Management” is now being used in executive continuing education in India including the prestigious IIML University. Over 500 students have used the book for a seven-month program in just the past year.

Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming an author and promoting a book? Can you explain to other leaders why they should invest resources and energy into this? Can you share a few examples of how writing a book in particular and thought leadership in general can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?

Being a book author makes you an expert…and people listen to you.

What are the things that you wish you knew about promoting a book before you started? What did you learn the hard way? Can you share a story about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?

The hard part is getting coverage. Despite that fact that my book covers the keys to product success most don’t understand that.

Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging a book publicist or marketing expert?

Respond to interview request from HARO (Help an Reporter Out) and be a POD cast guest thru Matchmaker.fm

Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experience and success, what are the “five things an author needs to know to successfully promote and market a book?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.

  1. Positioning. It’s key for a product’s success and a book is also a product that one stakes out a “position in one’s mind” to make their book valuable. In my case I build on my over 50 years of experience. Failures and successes to provide stories in my books and in my classes that helps the student remember the key learning takeaway.
  2. Personas. One must target people who should be interested in the topic. In my case its people who primarily responsible for a product or service’s success from product managers, product marketing managers to senior leadership.
  3. Media. Take the story of product success to the media that the target personas consume.
  4. Promotion. I promote my books by speaking engagements worldwide, training courses, media interviews and podcast guest appearances.
  5. Distribution. I lead with Kindle/Amazon, then Apple Books then other distributors to libraries and bookstores worldwide. Also, since Vietnam has the fastest growing economy in the world, I had my book translated into Vietnamese.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Presidents of companies that want to increase their company’s product success.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

www.spicecatalyst.com

Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success with your book promotion and growing your brand.

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