We originally came across the amazing work of Chris Denson and his podcast, “Innovation Crush” through our work with Behind The Hustle. Chris has interviewed the creator of Behind The Hustle, Kenny Mac on his Tastemakers and Influence episode as well as our guy Anthony Demby of HumbleRIOT on his Consciousness of Cool episode. This time around, Chris makes time to sit down with one of our favorite movers and shakers in the entertainment and technology space. He happens to go by the name of Troy Carter.
As the founder of Atom Factory, Troy has an A-1 resume. Not only was he responsible for managing Lady Gaga throughout the height of her career. He is also an investor in superstar companies such as Spotify, Warby Parker, and Uber just to name a few. In this episode of Innovation Crush, Chris chats with Troy about the importance of using our common sense, being tough, opening doors, and caring about the consumer.
Here are 5 tips we learned from Troy Carter on entrepreneurship and innovation:
1. Use Common Sense:
When Troy was asked what he looks for in regards to potential business opportunities, he mentions, “First and foremost, I’m a consumer. I ask myself, would I listen to this? Would I understand why people would want to listen to this? Would I buy this? Would I understand why people would want to buy this? I didn’t go to business school or anything like that. My analytics is just through common sense. I can listen to an idea and break it down to it’s simplest form. From there, it’s just a matter of whether or not I would write a check.”
2. Be Tough
“You have to be a tough founder in order to challenge and compete with incumbents” says Troy. “We look for leaders with tenacity, wherewithal, and strong teams. No one is born an entrepreneur. It’s something that we develop over a period of time. Our grit is a result of the difficult experiences we deal with in our daily lives. This toughens up our muscles in both our stomach and spirit to help us get through the tough times.”
3. Open Doors
Troy mentions, “It’s important for me to create a pathway toward success for kids who come from where I come from. It was people like Russell Simmons, Reginald Lewis, and Puff who I modeled myself after. I looked at them and told myself that if they can do it, I can do it. They all helped to pave the way for me. In return, I’m just looking to blast open the door for 100’s of thousands of kids.”
“I was recently told that some investors didn’t invest in our fund because they thought that we were only going to focus on minority founders” says Troy. “This blew my mind and caused me to ask myself, who said a black guy can’t build a billion-dollar company? Based off of this conversation solely, now I feel obligated to open up doors and give minority entrepreneurs a chance. There are multi-billion dollar opportunities out there. Lets find them and lets get it!”
4. Care About The Consumer
“If you’re still building your business around carbonated beverages, you are in trouble” says Troy. “It’s no coincidence that the soda category started to erode when the information age hit. When people can read and see a direct correlation between health issues and ingredients, they are going to make smarter decisions. As a result, they will eventually gravitate toward the products and services that are in their best interest.”
5. Judge People By Their Intent
When Troy asked the CEO of Sony Music, Doug Morris how he handles executive talent, Doug told Troy, “Judge people by their intent. When people make a mistake, look at their intent in that decision. If it was intended to be beneficial to the company, let them make that mistake and learn from that mistake as long as it wasn’t malicious.”
What does innovation mean to Troy Carter?
“It means living around the corner. Be there before everyone else gets there. See what happens before everyone else sees it.” – Troy Carter
Thanks to Chris Denson, this article also appears as a guest post in Inc.com as the “5 Uncommon Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Win Big.”
(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking Brand Strategist, Educator, and Music Publisher. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development, exposure, and growth. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, Universal Music Group, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about helping companies adapt to culture and building value between brands and their consumers centered around love. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.