Founder and Chairman
Carbon Media Group, Bingham Farms
Carbon Media Group, Bingham Farms
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WHY HE’S A CHAMPION OF THE NEW ECONOMY:
An avid hunter, David Farbman has translated lessons from the forest to an array of business interests — first as president of NAI Farbman Group, a multifaceted commercial brokerage, leasing, and management firm in Southfield; and then as he gave up the reins for a chance to start a cable TV show centered around the World Hunting Association. The show had trouble starting with the pilot episode, where world-class hunters tracked prey inside a fenced-in, 4,000-acre ranch in northern Michigan; it drew the ire of animal rights activists and environmentalists. “I raised capital from a number of investors, and there’s no show because we (couldn’t) get sponsors or advertisers,” Farbman says. In short order, he switched gears and launched Outdoor Hub, a global digital media company in Bingham Farms that focuses on the outdoors — hiking, fishing, hunting, and boating. Offering daily online articles, industry news, videos, and related content, the company represents 600 websites that generate more than 26 million unique visitors per month. Last year, the company became part of Carbon Media Group, which covers the outdoor market, action sports, and agriculture. Farbman also released his first book in April, The Hunt: Target, Track, and Attain Your Goals (Jossey-Bass).
What was the inspiration for The Hunt?
Throughout my career, whether at a Young President’s Organization forum, inside one of the businesses I am a partner in, or in life and relationships in general, the principles and discipline of hunting have been the core to my strategy and implementation. After I turned 40, my wife, Nadine, threw an amazing surprise birthday party for me, and there was a video she helped create for the party that really affirmed some of the significant growth I’ve helped my family and friends achieve. At that time, my friend, Josh Linkner (CEO and managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners), was getting his speaking career going for two books he’s now published. After the party, I started thinking about writing a book and decided to dive right into it. I saw the book as a way to help more people create something powerful if they put the proper pillars and structures around whatever they were working on. For example, how do you build a brand from scratch? How are businesses actually built, and how do you sustain growth?
With a busy career, how did you find time to write?
The writing started in April 2012, when I was in a blind in Milford for the turkey season. I’ve been fortunate to hunt from a young age, but I had to give a lot of it up to write the book. I worked with a speaking coach, Eleni Kelakos — over the course of six months, we met once a week for two to five hours — who helped me pillar every thought I had. Over time, we created the seven steps of the hunt system. I built an outline first, and the writing was (done) late at night or very early in the morning. It worked out to 20-plus hours a week. One important aspect of the book is to recognize and take advantage of your peak working cycle. I am a rooster, so my peak is in the early morning. Hawks peak midday, and bats peak at night.
What’s your goal for the book?
To reach the best-sellers lists in The New York Times and USA Today, and on Amazon. I want to see the book help as many people as possible. To do that you need a strong platform, so we have a website, we’re using social media, and we’re following our marketing strategy. I’m also developing a successful public speaking platform to build the brand. We will have a daily relationship with readers and hunters — all of which takes a great deal of work and persistence. When you have expansive goals, you have to break it down into little projects and feed on weekly and monthly targets. That’s how you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Otherwise, the overall project will consume you. It’s also critical to celebrate all wins.
How does the book translate back into your business ventures?
The cool part is that everything I write about has been accomplished in my life using the principles of the hunt system. You identify a target, prepare to meet that target, and then score the victory. The key is to use your unique abilities to accomplish a task, and let the experts do what they do to achieve the overall goal. At NAI Farbman Group, I offer an objective point of view, when requested, to our executive team — which includes my brother Andy, along with Andy Gutman and Michael Kalil — as well as work on client relationships. In the end, I’m a real estate guy at heart. I also co-founded Nuco Health with my brother and Pete Davis, where we work with Oakwood Healthcare Inc. (in Dearborn) to add value to their internal and external operations by improving quality and efficiencies. We’re looking at adding some other hospitals. At Carbon Media Group, I work with our CEO, Hyaat Chaudhary, on enhancing our brand, vision, focus, and operations.
With so much business done digitally, where does that leave personal relationships?
I don’t care how great technology becomes, it’s the boots on the ground that gets things done. As a business leader, you have to be a great communicator to explain your vision and how to take it forward with everyone on board. At Oakwood, we’ve helped to add some incredible value in operational efficiency, which at the end of the day helps patients, health care professionals, and the vendor base.