E190 Brian Fried: Serial Inventor & US TV Host

Episode 190 February 15, 2023 00:29:44
E190 Brian Fried: Serial Inventor & US TV Host
NoCode Wealth
E190 Brian Fried: Serial Inventor & US TV Host

Feb 15 2023 | 00:29:44

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Show Notes

Brian Fried is an Inventor, a Consultant, an Invention Licensing Agent, an Author, a TV and Radio Host, an Innovation Keynote Speaker, and Serial Inventor.

Website: BrianFried.com

Linkedin: /in/brianfried/

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Episode Transcript

Once upon a time, there were tens of thousands of makers struggling. Every day they built for hours and hours but didn't ship and didn't earn enough income. One day, the No Code Wealth podcast came to help them find a way. Because of this, makers became founders and lived the life they deserve. Because of that, founders lived lives of abundance, freedom, and creativity. That's what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being born to a single mother with no opportunities, just sheer hard work, to failing multiple startups yet learning a whole lot, to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, even living part of my life as an illegal immigrant, I've lost everything twice and now I'm rebuilding my life one more time, 1% a day, sharing the wisdom of luminaries I've interviewed on this podcast from Google executives. Goldman Sachs, the Financial Times, Forbes Technology Council, World Economic Forum, the United Nations, Harvard University, and even a priest from the Vatican Church, everyone is welcome here. So let's begin. My guest today is Brian Fried. Brian is an inventor, a consultant, an invention licensing agent, an author, a TV and radio host, an innovation keynote speaker, and serial inventor. Brian has his own portfolio of inventions, 15 issued patents, licensed and manufactured, as well as other inventors' products he represents, which made it into the mass retailers, catalogs, online retailers, as seen on TV, home shopping channels, et cetera, and there is more he is continuously working on. Brian, how are you today? Aziz, thank you for the intro and thank you for having me. And you've had amazing, wonderful guests on your show and I'm proud to be one of them and honored. Thank you. I'm honored and privileged to have you here and I'm really curious about you as a person, the man behind the brand, and to understand your relationship with invention. I know we all grew up as kids. We imagine we'll be this inventor kind of character, someone who creates new things into this world. Was that your past? Did you grow up as someone who was interested in that since childhood it was your childhood dream lifelong journey or is it something that you stumbled upon because life opened doors that helped you put your skills into practice in a way that you love? I remember that when I was young, going back, not so young anymore, but when I was young, I realized that I would pay attention to things around me and kind of look at how things work and maybe take them apart sometimes, not in an aggressive way, but just understand the way that things actually work and evolve and are made. And I started to just be curious about it. And later on in life, I started to understand how things were made and all that and just kind of put two and two together. And then I got married, well, even before that, single life on my own, starting to think about what I'm doing and how it can be made or done easier. Or maybe if it didn't exist, how to actually create something that would make it easier and better and simpler for me as a single guy. Then I got married and I watched my wife do things in the kitchen that I thought could be done a little bit differently. And then I had my daughter where different things that we had to do when she was born, all the formulas and bags and dragging and carrying all, and then just that continues to evolve. So you think about your life and all the stages of your life that you kind of get into. And for me, most of the time Aziz, I'm coming up with things that annoy me, things that annoy me. And then I think about how much it could annoy other people or does it annoy other people. And that's where I kind of stem my ideas from. That's so interesting because a lot of successful entrepreneurs, they're their first customer and that they solve their own problem and then they think, I am not the only person I'm sure who has this problem. So they go check with others and begin selling it. And to demystify inventing, is inventing just bringing things out of thin air or how is it? Is it being inspired from different things that are in other domains and bringing them into a new domain? Is it combining ideas? Is it something that you need engineering to do? Can you share a bit more about that so that people can understand it in layman's terms or in ways they can practically use rather than being intimidated? Because the word sounds like you have to be a space engineer or a rocket scientist in order to do. Aziz, look, we all didn't wake up saying, I want to be an inventor. I mean, there are kids and there's different programs for kids out there and they realize how cool it is to be an inventor. Maybe they do say, I want to be an inventor, but realistically you most likely find some kind of career right out of school. And eventually this can turn into an idea that can maybe be a side hustle to start with that might evolve into a full time job or good residual income from just licensing your idea or if you're going to manufacture it and start a business from it. But look, most of the time, just think about this Aziz. You wake up, you have an alarm clock that goes off, you're in the bathroom brushing your hair, your teeth, you're going to get dressed, you're going into the kitchen, you're doing something to make breakfast, maybe you're not, and you're going out the door and you're in the car or maybe you're in public transportation, there's people all around you, right? If you're continuing that path, you have things that are going on in your office, you're working with people, seeing people, talking to people, there's all these things, these routines that if you stop and think about it, so many things are going on around you. And if you sometimes stop to say, you know what, that could be done a little bit better or that could be done a little bit different. And a lot of times people just keep going on with their day and that's okay. They might not be the ones to be that inventor or stop in their tracks to capture that idea. But that's what I do is I'm always thinking about things around me and things that are going to happen or happening, or maybe I see something that could be done a little bit different than what's out there. And that's what I do is I capture that idea and that's what inventing, that's how it starts. You kind of make a mental model in your brain and I can twist and turn it in my brain as much as I want until I think I got it. And then I go online and I do a descriptive search and I put in images, I click on images instead of going through every link and from a visual perspective, I see if my ideas are out there. And if they are, then I buy it. It's funny Aziz, back in the day, my daughter was daddy's inventor. Now she's going to be 21 in a couple of weeks, but you know, she had this notebook and she always used to come up with ideas and write them down. And most of the time we'd find them. And I said, if you find them, or if we find them, then I'm going to buy it for you because I'm so proud of you that you came up with something. It's okay that it exists, but we're going to find something that doesn't exist. And we played that game until she said, daddy, I came up with a green invention called the iPad. And I was like, I'm not buying that for you right now. So we kind of stopped, but yeah, it's really good to capture the idea, jot it down immediately. Because think about it, you're driving and you're thinking about something, somebody calls you, poof, your idea is gone. So these days you can text yourself, email, write it down, record it, whatever you need to do to capture that idea. And then you go online and you do that search. Then if you want, browse through retail stores or where you think your idea can be sold, if that's what it is, a product, and start jotting down things and ideas from that. And then there's the next steps, which I can continue. But yeah, that's really the ideation part of it. And a lot of times disease, I come up with all these ideas and I just eliminate them because maybe it's too niche or it's too similar to what exists out there. I'm looking for ideas that I can call my own. I really, really love what you're mentioning. And also it's a funny anecdote with your daughter. But it's a truth that many people should realize or must realize. It seems the life and the world operates in a way that it rewards people who put in volume. And like you spoke about, you looking and choosing among many ideas which ones will work, which ones are too niche and wouldn't work, et cetera. So someone who is an inventor probably will have 99% stupid ideas what others would judge. So they shouldn't judge themselves. But call those stepping stones in order to find that one that can work. And therefore, putting in volume is necessary to be an inventor. Did I understand you correctly? What's your perspective on this? And do you have some specific methods of looking for how to invent things? I remember there are some Soviet engineering method, I forgot the name, where you take something and you want to improve it. And there are all the facets that usually people can look for ways to improve things. And it's a method for creating innovation or invention. So do you have something like that? Do you go structurally through a process each time in order to find solutions to problems? Or do you let inspiration somehow come to you and just your subconscious working on it and giving you the answers or the suggestions? It doesn't matter who you are, right? You can be a doctor, lawyer, unemployed senior citizen, student. It doesn't matter. Ideas don't discriminate. They come to you. So you can be in your certain environment or you can be in your profession. There's things that are going on around you that you want to just capture that idea. And then you have to think about it. Is this something that is only selfishly for me that I'm going to have a better way of doing something or is it for somebody else? How many people is it for? What's my window of opportunity? So for example, I have this product that I invented called Pull Ties and it's a bag sealer. You put your plastic bag, cereal bag, freezer bag through this loop, you push the button, you slide it up and it seals it tight. So I was on QVC with that invention and it's been on QVC for many years. And if I just went on there and I said, this bag sealer is for bread and I only stuck to this is for bread, this is for bread. You might eat bread disease, maybe somebody else might, somebody else might not. But what I did was I said, how many people use it for bread? You can use it for cereal, you can use it for freezer bags, you can use it in the pantry. So what I did was I built up and I realized the window of opportunity. And that's why that product sold millions of units because that just expanding the mind and just another example. So once an inventor comes to me and they say, Brian, I came up with this golf ball and it does amazing tips and tricks and all kinds of interesting things to make your golf play much more enhanced. Right. So I'm like, OK, he says everybody in the world is going to want my golf ball. Well, if you are on the golf course and you're looking around and you see all these people playing golf, yeah, you're going to feel that way. You're going to be a gazillionaire. But when you step out of the golf course and you go into a restaurant or somewhere else and you ask people, do you play golf? Do you play golf? Do you play golf? It might be a little bit less. So that's the thing, Aziz, is when we come up with ideas or when I come up with ideas, even still, I have 15 issued patents, but I've had many more that weren't issued and I worked on and I kind of trashed. But you get this amazing feeling inside, just like when you come up with an idea, something that happens to you that you feel great with or you have a big payday or whatever it is, you get this emotion like this butterfly feeling in your stomach of excitement. And you want this product or this idea to be your next gazillion dollar invention. You want it to change your life. You want something to happen from it. And a lot of times you just kind of go through it. And I always focus on making a smart business decision. So I'm like, OK, this is just a product right now. It's an idea. And I have to figure out if it's enough of an opportunity for me to put my time, money, energy, effort into to be able to commercialize it and get some kind of return on it. Or there's other inventors that might want to just have a patent and put it on their wall. And that's OK, too. But for me, I love to invent because I love to see people use my inventions for the reason I came up with it. That's the gold for me. That's absolutely fantastic. I love that. And can you speak a bit more about these stresses of the life of being an inventor so that we can manage expectations? Because some people might hear and listen and say, oh, it sounds so easy. You just find problems and just think, think, think, and then test things out and whatever. But in reality, at least in my experience, creativity is painful. It's like giving birth. So when you're mulling over an idea, it feels almost like it's suffocating you while it's coming into reality until you feel when it's a sense of a completion that, like you said, you get excited, finally something worked. So what are some things that are stressful that could be there by following the life of being an inventor, as well as for people whom I think, well, I want to make this my full-time job, how easy or hard is it, how much risk is involved, et cetera, should they quit their day job and become inventors tomorrow or do it on the side? Please share your perspective. As you're telling me this question, I kind of glanced over on my desk here, and I'm looking at one of my upcoming inventions that I have seven iterations already that I've made. So talk about frustrating, yeah, you want to be able to have your idea, your baby be done the way that you want. And sometimes it doesn't necessarily work or come out the way that you want. So you got to do it again and again and again until you're satisfied with it. And sometimes you get so into it that it ends up taking some time and frustration that you get from it. But at the end of the day, you have this vision, this goal, just like anything that you do in life, you want to see it finished through. And that's what I kind of look forward to. And then obviously for people to be using it and me to get into the whole commercialization and the marketing of the product, which is fun and exciting. But I can tell you from speaking to, well, I've been an inventor for over 20 years and pretty close to that for helping other inventors. And I have had the opportunity over those years to not only see my inventions come through and have some level of success, but other people, I've seen people at all different stages come to me with successes and challenges and failures of inventions. And you know what? Most of the time when you're going through and you're coming up with the idea, you're hitting a brick wall. And that's OK, because if you're in that zone of coming up with ideas and if it's not that one, it's OK. You're in that zone, you'll come up with another one. You just have to keep your eyes and ears and all your senses open for that next big idea. But yeah, sometimes it's about the design. Sometimes it's in the beginning that it's not even mine. So that's the frustration. And then for me, initially when I started, I was on a shoestring budget and a lot of people are on a shoestring budget, but I get them through to a point where if they're limited on funds or they're a CEO or a celebrity that just doesn't have time, but they did come up with a good idea, then they have somebody like myself that can help them to get to the next level and or possibly license their idea. So licensing means to find a manufacturer with distribution to be able to earn a royalty. So some inventions I license, so I earn royalties from and other inventions I manufacture. So I make them, whether it's in the U.S. or other countries, and then I turned it into a business. So each one is kind of its own business, which I brought together into a company with which is a brand, Inventor Smart. So, you know, a lot of people can take their idea and they can make it into one product and maybe earn some residual income. Maybe it's a single, a double, triple, maybe it is your home run or it could be my home run. But these days you can kind of get to the certain points without spending a ton of money to see if it's something that you can take and turn into something that you can get some kind of return on. Thank you. That sounds fascinating. And speaking about people who you help, how would someone who has ideas or an idea for an invention benefit from interacting with you? How is the process? What kind of help do you offer them? Of course, with your 20 years of experience, you see things they don't see and all that. So please talk a bit more about the process. What can they expect as well as what do you offer them that they cannot do on their own? I can say that most of the time. So people look, I've been like you said, I've been doing this for a while. So I have my books and my TV show and my radio show and I run National Inventor Club. So I'm very active in the inventor community and people see that I've had some level of success and I do offer the one on one consulting. And for me, I think I love when people get to me first because I feel good and know that I'm going to give them the best information that they could possibly get. I understand the licensing and the manufacturing and all the steps and working with so many people in different industries to know kind of a good direction and be intuitive to help them. So a lot of times it is they'll schedule a call with me and I will go through how I can help them. They'll tell me where they are. And basically what I do is understand where they are, learn a little bit about them. And then I figure out what licensing might look like for them, what manufacturing might look like for them and their product. And then I ask them where they are and then I help them to get to where they want to go. But I can tell you is most of the time when people are showing me these ideas, I really I don't make the decision for them, but I help them to realize that they should stop and wait for the next idea. And that's OK. That's OK. But when I end up working with them so I can help them to figure out if they should work on it or not. And then all the steps that they need to get to where they want to go. Patent attorneys, patent agents, prototypers, engineers, product designers, you can just keep going on and then to a point where you might need some manufacturers, either local or overseas, packaging, barcoding, licensing as a licensing agent, finding companies that are in the same space and similar to what you have and getting them to a point where they do have some intellectual property protection like a patent and then bring it to a point where I can present it to a company and see if they're interested in licensing the product, where again, they would manufacture it, they would distribute it and we would earn a royalty from it. So I do get paid for my time and I think I'm pretty reasonable. I don't waste anybody's time. I earn what I ask for and I've been doing this for a long time. If you take a look at on LinkedIn, I have Brian Fried on LinkedIn. You can see my website and I always make sure I do a super job for people so they get to where they need to go or listen, sometimes I'm just, well, I'm definitely not the guy to pat you on the back and make you feel good. I'm going to tell you like it is. So that's where I think people appreciate what I help with and what I do and just help them to make better decisions as is. That's really the key there. I agree 100% because the costliest way to go about life is to make all the mistakes yourself. That's like a way to delay success and to lose basically in this fast-paced time where before we grew up in times where we had apprenticeships, where people mentored those with lower experience and with less experience. But to ask you about something specific, you mentioned some people come to you and you tell them, okay, wait for the next idea. When it comes to writing, there is a concept which is you must kill your darlings or kill your babies, which is any idea that doesn't support the theme of the book you're writing or the novel or any idea that doesn't fit or distracts the story. Even if it's wonderful and exciting and amazing, it should be killed basically and cut away. Well, what are some things that you look for in ideas that let you know this won't work, this is not the right time for it or this one should be a pass rather than you spoke about your next invention which you said was next to you which had seven iterations, when to give up and when to keep going to iterate. What are some criteria? So maybe some people who are coming to you will come with less of the ideas that you'll have to go through the uncomfortable conversation of telling them, no, you should wait for the next one. It's interesting you say that and again, I help them to make the decision that they should stop and move on to their next idea. Just the other day, I really beat up this inventor's product and look, I know that you want to know, right? Because even if it might sound a little bit rough and I might be, like you're saying, kind of like beating that idea up, but if it's not now, when? Do you want to go through the process and steps and then think about it later? I want everybody to be an inventor and I want everybody to be successful with their ideas. There's a point where you have to say, okay, you know what, there's too many challenges to this idea and why? Maybe it's just not working properly. I have this invention that's just not doing what I want it to do. My eighth iteration of it, because the seventh one that I have the prototype here in front of me is just not working, so I will keep going with it and in the meantime, I'm playing around with the design and just thinking about better ways to make it happen. For other people and myself, there's a point where, look, even when you come up with the idea and you're seeing when you're doing your simple search that there's so many similar products out there. If you really want to be in your own business, then buy the product or buy it or get it from a factory that's already making that product because it's more of a commodity these days or maybe there is something about it that's unique, but it's over 20 years old and it's public domain. It's not patentable anymore. You can even go on. There's so many people. If you look on Amazon, a lot of people are just going on Alibaba.com, finding a factory that makes something and putting their brand name on it and selling it. It's nothing unique or a brand new invention, but people could go into business for themselves that way. I could say, Aziz, that most of the time, people are finding things online and realizing that there's so many similarities to it that they should stop or they end up making it and they're just not getting the right traction on it and it's frustrating, so either they continue and just make residual income on it or maybe they just have 5,000 units left in their garage or maybe they try to license it to earn royalties, but there's definitely some points where I've said, you know what? This is not a big enough audience for me. I like mass market. This is niche. I'll make some money, but maybe I'll work on it at a later time. That's really where you have to figure out, or if you're doing a patent search, let's say you do a professional patent search and you're getting a patentability opinion, you might not see it in the stores or online, but somebody has a patent on it and if it's still active, then if you make it, then you're infringing on it, so I'm going to stop, or if it's over 20 years old, then it's public domain like I mentioned and me, you and your neighbor can make it and that's not really having a competitive edge unless you're making it much cheaper and getting it out there more than the others, so those are a few times that I stopped busy. This is such a wealth of knowledge. Our conversation could go on forever, but all good things must come to a temporary end because I don't believe in ending good things forever. It was my privilege and my honor to have you in this podcast to share a little bit a drop in the ocean of your knowledge. I'll make sure to write your LinkedIn as well as your website in the show notes in the description for this episode. Brian, it was my privilege and my honor to have you here. Is there anything that you're working on right now or anything where people can find more about you, can discover more? Tell us about it. Well, my idea is I'd have to have you sign a non-disclosure agreement, but I am working on some fun stuff. My website where you can see some of the things that are going on in my life, like just recently I was a guest speaker for SCORE Mentors, which was really exciting. So I have my website, brianfried.com. I have some of my inventions on there. I have some activities that I'm involved with and things I'm doing in the community and just having fun and different interviews that I've done like yours, so brianfried.com. And a lot of times as these most tell my name, for some reason they spell it B-R-A-I-N and my last name is Fried, but it's spelled fried. So a lot of you spell my first name wrong, then I'm brain fried. It's B-R-I-A-N-F as in Frank, R-I-E-D.com. So brianfried.com. My business website is inventorsmart.com. The National Inventor Club is an online inventor club network that we do once a month live streaming on all social media with amazing guests on there. And my books, I have my last one, which I really love. It came out in May of 2022. It's called How to Make Money with Your Invention Idea, that's available in all the stores. And I have my TV show called Got Invention Show where I interview inventors on their journeys of their inventing experiences. So I'd love to stay in touch with you all. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn as well. Thank you so much Aziz for having me and I appreciate this and I'm really proud and honored to be a part of your amazing guest list.

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