A former executive with ARP Instruments. Friend joined the company in the mid-1970s and participated in the development of several later-version models including the Mark III version of the Odyssey. In 1977, Friend was part of a faction of ARP senior employees who advocated the development of the Avatar guitar synthesizer, which company CEO Al Pearlman was vehemently opposed to. The pro-Avatar faction worked with the company's financiers to force Pearlman out of the company, and then proceeded to invest in the Avatar development in preference to the Chroma, a polyphonic synth with patch memory, which was also being developed.
When introduced in 1979, the Avatar turned out to be a market flop, and insufficient funds remained to finish development of the Chroma due to the amount of money spent on Avatar R&D. This put ARP in a financial downward spiral, and the company declared bankruptcy in 1981. After leaving ARP, Friend went on to found several successful technology startups, including Sonexis, a Web conferencing service, and Carbonite, a cloud-storage and online backup service. Friend sold his interest in Carbonite in 2014 to return to the music industry, and has consulted with Korg on their revival of the Odyssey.