It can be said that the tough thing about change is the requirement to something different or to do things differently.
However, for Troy Carter of the Atom Factory, the reality of change has not only been a difficult, but also evolutionary as a series of traumatic experiences and failures have molded Carter into a solid entertainment and investment titan.
From Philadelphia, with Talent and Failure
Born in West Philadelphia, Troy had a rough upbringing as his mother died at age 7 and father was imprisoned for 12 years for the murder of his brother in law after a heated dispute. As a teenager, Troy took to a burgeoning new genre of music called Hip-Hop.
In his junior year of high school, he was in a rap group called 2 Too Many, which was signed to WilJam Records. After hip-hop showed some sort of promise to Carter, he dropped out of high school, only for the group to later be dropped by WilJam Records.
After his dreams of rap stardom crash and burned, Troy Carter tried his hand at being a music and concert promoter in Philadelphia after meeting Sean Combs of Bad Boy records.
At age 25 in 1995, Troy worked with acts like the Notorious B.I.G and Will Smith, before interning for Sean Combs at Bad Boy. He went on to intern for James Lassiter for a year and a half in Los Angeles.
However, he was fired from that internship and returned to Philadelphia, entering into a period which Carter described as one of the “darkest times” of his life. Carter would bounce from hope to dream for the next few years until he met a young talented rapper named Eve Jeffers in Germantown Pennsylvania.
Striking Gold after Hitting Rock Bottom
Carter would successfully manage Eve, culminating in her receiving her famed television show on UPN.
Carter's career blossomed further with a management positions with Nelly and Floety, and a corporate partnership with Jay Erving, the son of basketball player Julius “Doctor J” Erving, which was later acquired by Sanctuary Music.
Yet, again unfortunately, failure would strike again.
Troy Carter’s deal with Sanctuary fell apart over the next few years, Eve fired him as her manager and Troy realized himself to be in financial disarray by 2007. His mortgage was foreclosed and his car repossessed.
Troy Carter pictured with pop-icon, Lady Gaga
Prepared for Failure, Carter embraces new Tech
But as Carter was sorting through this chaos, he was introduced that same year to an unknown new artist who called herself Lady Gaga. After some early obstacles to getting radio spins for her single “Just Dance,” Troy and Gaga were innovative and utilized Twitter and Youtube to garner public attention and viral sharing of her music.
While these methods were unconventional, they were fittingly courageous. After experiencing so much hardship in his life and career, Troy saw he had nothing to lose by having Gaga use new social media and small gigs in order to make her way onto the big stage.
Troy shares the stage with fellow Angel Tech Investors, Tim Draper and Jason Calacanis
From this courage and innovation, not only was Carter successful in making Gaga into a glocal sensation and cultural icon, he also had discovered the power of digital marketing to promote musicians and talent.
Through his failures as a manager, Troy was forced to reinvent himself and his approach to the industry, causing him to see the future of where it would all be going.
By taking on a something as unknown and untried as social media for the purpose of managment and publicity, Carter had set the stage for a new paradigm.
Investing in His Future and Tech Startups
In 2007, Troy Carter, undeterred by previous failures and energized by his ongoing success with Lady Gagag, founded Coalition Media Group. In 2010, he added a management division named the Atom Factory.
In 2011, he became the co-founder of The Backplane which helps celebrities and brands to engage fans, build community, and develop brand loyalty".
Since 2013, Troy Carter has become increasingly active in the startup tech sphere, creating A \ IDEA, a product development and branding firm , as well as AF Square, an angel fund and technology consultancy with investments in over 35+ tech startups which Spotify, Warby Parker, Ubeam, Dropbox, Fab, and Uber.
As cited by Fast Company writer, Danielle Sacks, the now 49 year old Carter had prepared himself for the day when Lady Gaga would fire him as her manager, for it’s simply what artists eventually due.
Troy knew that he never wanted to experience the disappointment and pain of dependency and misplaced trust.
It’s exciting to see Troy Carter doing well as a business person and as an angel investor. He failed fast, gathering up the experience and lessons with incredible courage, allowing him embrace his future with innovation, expertise and fearlessness.
Medvis Jackson is a web designer at Hindsite, curator at Kulchah and avid cricket fan. You can follow him @medvisjackson for his random thoughts.