Entrepreneurs, How To's

What do Lady Gaga and Uber have in common?

More than you may think.

Lady Gaga and Uber are both industry disruptors, they made it with good old-fashioned hustle and the most important thread, a man named Troy Carter.

Who is Troy Carter, you may be asking….

Troy Carter helped Lady Gaga launch her career. He was also an early investor in Uber, Lyft, Dropbox, and Warby Parker. He’s a spotter of great products and knows how to build brands.

Watch this interview with him.

It may change your life.
It may confirm what you already know to be true about marketing, building brands, selling, and developing your network.

Either way, it’s fascinating to watch him in action and see how he embodies his business ethos in everything he does.


Here is a shortish list of my favorite theories and practices from Troy Carter:

1. The first 50. Get your first 50 fans and build from there.

To me, this is genius. Regardless of what market you are tackling, start with your first 50 rabid fans. Who are they? What makes them tick? Why did they choose your brand? Take these answers and build your sales and marketing strategy around these people to get started and get traction. You can always flex, but you have to start somewhere and maintain focus!!

2. Narrative: It doesn’t happen quickly. You must build your story.

Through the life of your brand or company, you must think about writing your story. This is how you tell your customers and the world what matters to you and why they should give a rip about what you are doing. It’s the way you get emotional buy-in to your brand and this is how people tell your story for you.

3. “If you can’t see it, it’s hard to be it.” – Troy Carter

When he saw P. Diddy as the owner of a company it was the first time he had seen a young black man as the boss. “It showed me a path.” – Troy Carter. I love this philosophy for a number of reasons, but it’s personal to me because as a woman in business in my 40’s I can appreciate the need for paths. Path’s are being laid for all sorts of people in this world that never existed for them before. We need more diversity in general, and for me, I have a particular interest in supporting the inclusion of women in business and politics to show these paths to the next generation. I’d love for my daughter to never think twice about a woman CEO or President or Mayor.

4. Influencer network

Learn how to build your network and know when to activate it. Troy Carter’s network is constantly introducing him to entrepreneurs. He becomes friends with them and then decides to invest. He was building his network from his high schools days. His connections to local celebrities alowed him to expand his network to Los Angels, New York and beyond. I think your network is your most valuable asset. You must invest in it every day. Be genuine. Be honest. Be there for others first. To me, it’s about getting to know people and understanding what they are looking to do, what makes them tick, what they are interested in right now. It’s amazing to me where conversations can lead if you are focussed on the other person. Put your phone away and listen. Ask questions. Be present.

5. Hustle

Focus on your goal and never stop until you reach it. Troy Carter and Lady Gaga were booked into 4-5 clubs a NIGHT in the early days of launching Lady Gaga. This hustle factor was honed when Carter was a high schooler and spent 6 months taking the train to Will Smith’s recording studio and waiting outside for a chance meeting. When that chance came, he was ready.

Troy Carter, bravo to you, sir. Thank you for your authenticity, your work ethic, and your ability to spot brands and products and make them great. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

Dayna Neumann

boundless. curious. renegade. founder @ execuity

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