Speaker Troy Carter teaches about life on the cutting edge. Carter became well known in the entertainment world when the entertainment executive became Lady Gaga’s manager in 2007. After Carter helped cultivate the megastar into what she’s become today, Lady Gaga fired him. The setback didn’t seem to slow him down much. His calendar is still as full as ever, as he runs a firm that invests in start-ups while he manages artists such as John Legend. As a speaker, he shares a compelling story about life on the cutting edge of entertainment and technology — a life that has taught him how to bounce back from setbacks and stay centered on his family.
Having the ability to stay current and make rational decisions during tough moments are two things Carter had to learn early in life. He watched his father rebuild his life after being released from prison. And getting fired by Lady Gaga is far from Carter’s first low as a professional. His first big client, rapper Eve, came into his office one day and let him go – after he’d dedicated eight years of his life helping build her career. At the time, he was in his early 30s and he had nothing to fall back on, unlike after the Lady Gaga firing. The loss of the manager-artist relationship with Eve nearly forced him into bankruptcy. With his house foreclosed and all but one of his cars repossessed, he barely had enough money to put gas in his remaining car.
In the midst of the Lady Gaga firing, Carter was also dealing with several significant events in his personal life. Two weeks before his termination, Carter’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, his fifth child. Earlier the same year, Carter moved his mother from Philadelphia to Los Angeles after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following these events, Carter stated that making his family proud is what makes him tick – not money, success, or managing some of the biggest stars in the world.
After the near-bankruptcy scare in his early 30s, it’s not surprising that Carter took steps to diversify his financial portfolio. Among other notable accomplishments while he was with Lady Gaga, Carter invested in more than 50 start-up companies and made himself a fixture on the tech scene.
One of Carter’s most notable new projects is SMASHD Labs. This tech initiative is kind of a sibling to the undertaker-centered editorial site SMASHD, which Carter unrolled in 2015. SMASHD Labs focuses on five-to-seven growing, entertainment and culture-centered tech companies and dedicates resources to help them become successful. Each company receives 10 weeks of housing in the Los Angeles office of Carter’s Atom Factory; $50,000 funding; and access to a savvy group of entrepreneurs and investors. The group guides company stakeholders through a weeklong program to define their business objectives and grow their organizations.
Despite his fame and approximately $30 million net worth, speaker Troy Carter isn’t ready to rest. When you’ve come from nothing and worked your way to the top, there’s always a sense that it could all be gone tomorrow.
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