Oct 20 • 1HR 7M

Humanizing product development | Adriel Frederick (Reddit, Lyft, Facebook)

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Lenny Rachitsky interviews world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.
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Adriel Frederick is VP of Product Management at Reddit X, where he helps incubate and scale new products. He is a former Product Lead at Facebook (where he was the first black PM), as well as a former PM and Director of Product at Lyft. In today’s episode we focus on what it takes to become a better product leader. Adriel shares anecdotes from his time at Lyft and Facebook, insights about how to lead through tough times, why there isn’t an algorithmic solution to everything, why R&D teams need to be a part of the core mission, the tangible benefits of working on diverse teams, and his thoughts on the future of AI. He also introduces the concept of “cannonballs” .

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript here: https://www.podpage.com/lennys-podcast/humanizing-product-development-adriel-frederick-reddit-lyft-facebook/#transcript

Where to find Adriel Frederick:

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/drellf

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adrielfrederick/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for making this episode possible:

• Linear: https://linear.app/lenny

• Flatfile: https://www.flatfile.com/lenny

• Eppo: https://www.geteppo.com/


• Jules Walter on Twitter: https://twitter.com/julesdwalt?lang=en

• Jules Walter’s guest post on Lenny’s newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/product-sense

• Mark Zuckerberg on The Joe Rogan Experience: https://open.spotify.com/episode/51gxrAActH18RGhKNza598

• Sam Harris’ Ted Talk on AI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nt3edWLgIg

• Facebook’s 7 friends in 10 days: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-chamath-palihapitya-dramatically-improved-user-malinda-senanayake/

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power: https://www.amazon.com/Prize-Epic-Quest-Money-Power/dp/1439110123/

The New Map: Energy Climate and the Clash of Nationshttps://www.amazon.com/New-Map-Energy-Climate-Nations/dp/0143111159/

Revisionist History podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/revisionist-history/id1119389968

Tuned In podcast:  https://www.hpacademy.com/blog/tuned-in-high-performance-academy-podcast/

• Stream Mo on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81134264

• Radiant Nuclear: https://www.radiantnuclear.com/

In this episode, we cover:

(01:10) Adriel’s background

(02:22) What Adriel does at Reddit X

(03:57) Reddit X’s avatar marketplace and NFTs

(05:33) Why R&D teams need to be a part of the core mission

(12:53) What it’s like to be the first black PM at Facebook

(15:38) How to foster diversity

(18:49) Being a PM at controversial companies and how to evaluate criticism

(26:50) Adriel’s most stressful time at Lyft

(29:23) The importance of operational control and what it means

(32:20) Why there isn’t always an algorithmic solution to everything

(40:48) Thoughts on AI

(45:19) Growth hacking and algorithms at Facebook

(51:35) Cannonballs in growth—fundamental changes in the product for optimization

(52:42) Facebook’s 7 friends in 10 days push

(55:12) What is a marginal user and what can you learn from their experience?

(1:01:09) How to think about doing experiments

(1:05:15) Why organization and empathy are the most important skills 

(1:10:20) Lightning round

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.