Thoughts on Entrepreneurship & Life by Sam Huleatt

What Startups Can Learn from Lady Gaga

Being home for the Holidays means lots of driving in my family. Driving, in turn, means listening to the radio. Right now, listening to the radio means listening to Lady Gaga. As both my sisters are big fans, I started doing some research into the Gaga phenomenon and have been utterly amazed at both the rapid rise and business acumen of the Lady. Even Mayor Bloomberg is a fan.

And apparently I’m not the only one interested — Victor Niederhoffer has a great post on Daily Speculations titled, Lady Gaga: 10 Things We Can Learn

For the uninformed, Lady Gaga has now sold 4 million albums and 20+million singles tracks. Yet, as recently as 2005 she was just a lowly NYU Student. Here’s a pretty spectacular piano performance she gave while attending New York University:

Reading Niederhoffer’s post I was immediately struck by how much startups can learn from Lady Gaga. Read his full post, but three things in-particular jumed out to me as related to startups:

1) 1000 true fans. If you have read Kevin Kelly’s thoughts, it won’t surprise you that Lady Gaga has gone on record numerous times attributing her success specifically to an early community of devoted gay fans.

2) You have to be technical to be a success. Lady Gaga is no Milli Vanilli. She is a seriously talented technical singer and can write her own tracks. She is both a maker AND a manager.

3) What’s in a name? Changing her name from Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta to Lady Gaga allowed her to create a tremendous brand. Was Lady Gaga a Googlewhack? I bet it was. Gaga is also two syllables — I remember once having Luke Nosek tell me that the Founders Fund only likes to invest in companies with two-syllable names because they are the easiest to remember and brand.

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