The great ascent of Lady Gaga from an also-ran performer in the Lower East Side techno-rock clubs a few years ago to number one selling recording artist in five countries, four million albums sold, and 20 million singles, rivals nothing so much as the ascent of Killmanjaro in 5½ hours or Apple's 4000% rise from 5 to 210 and the fourth largest market cap company in four years. Here are some of the things we can learn from her about how to be successful in the markets.

1. The Lady has a core of admirers she can always count on: the gay community. "I've got so many gay fans and they're loyal to me. They'll always stand by me and I"ll always stand by them." Apple's loyal fans are those that started out with them making music on their first computers and the minority group that liked the Apple operating system over and above the mainstream Microsoft one.

2. The prouct must be packaged and designed with great care and verve. Gaga has a special team, the Haus of Gaga, that designs all her clothes and stage performances. "When I'm writing music I'm thinking about what I'm going to wear on stage." Apple's packaging, its vivid colors, its compactness, directness, ease of use is crucial to its success.

3. You have to be technical to be a success. Gaga was playing by ear at the age of four, planning to go to Juilliard at 13. She writes her own music and her voice was good enough to attract Akon to sign her. The companies that have had the highest returns are people by engineers and computer scientistis with technical degrees.

4. You need a vision to be successful. Gaga didn't try to be the world's #1 singer or its most profitable. But she had a vision to combine glam rock with simple melodies. The best performing companies, Apple or Cisco or Whole Foods, have a product that makes life better for their customers, and they aim to be the best at it, and stick to their knitting.

5. She gets great reviews from the critics and this filters to the masses. All the best-performing companies reach out to the idea that has the world in its grip. They are all huge supporters of the current administration and reach out to unisex and redisbrituive policies so that the critics who share their persuasion will be sure to nominate them for awards. The most popular song of Gaga makes fun of rich kids that want material goods. When will she be invited to the Oval?

6. She has a simple product and a simple name. It's four letters and two syllables. And she combines simple movements, simple melodies, and simple rock rhythms in her songs. The price to weight ratio of Apple products is comparable to her own.

7. She stands on the shoulders of giants. She has borrowed from all the most popular idols that preceded her including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Blondie, and Andy Warhol. To be successful you need the base of fans that your predeceessors have accummulated.

8. She is shocking and exuberant in the things she does. The bubbles that she wore in Rolling Stone remind me of the glass houses Apple sells their products in, and her performances on stage are reminiscent of the conventions where Apple unleashes its products.

9. She has a completely integrated operation, writing her own songs, dancing them, designing her own clothes, and distributing them through a company she owns. The control of product from start to finish a la Apple's designed marketing and then retailing their own products is crucial nowadays to the most successful companies.

10. She is always ready to seek the limelight. She strives to have the best product, is proud of it, and will stop at nothing to popularize her brand. If it requires appearing nude, why that's just more publicity that her critics and core fans will love.

Kim Zussman comments:

This wonderful analysis also convincingly articulates the ugly, banal, cynical, pandering con of capitalism in general and investing in particular. Presumably the patina of beauty derives from the knowledge that it is facade.

Add to AAPL's list recruitment of the left, which targets Wintel for viruses but leaves MacAlone - encouraging climate coolers to take the path of least resistance.

Relatedly, Madam Gaga also evidences survivor-bias: How many thousands of performers try different angles but don't make it, then with the benefit of hindsight we ascribe causality to the at least partly accidental qualities of the successful?

Vince Fulco adds:

GagaI would venture Lady Gag Gag's actions, as I like to call her, is bleeding into other artists' styles. Forced to watch Shakira's latest DVD by my significant other yesterday, it was obvious she's leaning much more risque in movements, outfits and dance routines. She certainly doesn't need to given her voice, lyrics and natural beauty. Beyonce seems to be doing the same. Although I catch these performers infrequently, who passes up an undulating set of hips that the wife gives free pass on viewing?





Speak your mind

30 Comments so far

  1. douglas roberts dimick on December 26, 2009 2:27 pm

    Reflections, from Stubby to Gaga

    Since October, when my friend from Dallas here showed me how to download music for free (with the help of his Chinese girlfriend), I have been stuck on the Lady’s “I like it rough” and “Just Dance” tracks, right to and including Christmas eve here in the Shanghai Clubs.

    Yesterday, though, on the day after, times of mother and father revisited with dinners full of scents, notably that of our own backyard-cut birch smoldering in the fireplaces of the living and dining rooms. That of sweaty winter clothing, riverbanks, and snow-laden fauna and flora while snowshoeing, later snowmobiling in and out across a ten acre piece field to cut our Christmas trees, though, also now have since caused me to pause.

    As with Stubby in his world, do we envision the import of such emotively diffusive times during life?

    Markets appear then merely as the bulbs and blinking lights of our seminal tree when considered in this context, being the Holidays. Money, gold, stocks and bonds, alas, the S&P… who cares to be… you are a master of the universe, you die, perhaps your stock drops 10% in price on the news of your timely (or untimely) death.

    Is there anything more significant in one’s evolution of an imaginary life than at that moment of opening a gift, the one that was yearned for yet unknown until time of unwrapping?

    Quantification… Right, unable to quantify that which cannot be quantified means that one has crossed from mere material existence to another world, one which escapes the ghostly shackles of mortality.

    Kids know this to be so. So as with us albeit unless we forget somewhere along the way – a protocol of adult behavior all too randomized by our daily tribulations and excursions for the sake of money and fame.

    Stubby is a tale of how life is not quantified but imagined. Lady Gaga is not some itinerary of do’s-and-don’t particulars – as if a re-homogenized Madonna, though she is – for popularization within our pop markets; she is about having fun – loving what you are doing and fortunate enough to be paid and celebrated for it along the way.

    The Boston Tea Party inspires though base in its causation. Battle of the Bulge reaffirms that of a humanity which may otherwise not be seen militarily.

    The Holiday, therewith, is a collective of that which life both punishes and rewards… reflections of our past, present, and future… blessed with the benefit to favor goodness above and beyond all that else remains in our time here, were from the darkness, we seek the light of that we come to know under the bows of a tree… happiness and joy. dr

  2. Steve Leslie on December 26, 2009 7:44 pm

    Lady Gaga whose real name is Stefani Germanotta reminds me in many ways of another Icon who preceded her 25 years ago.

    Madonna Louise Ciccone is a marketing genius. She is one of the true pioneers of the entertainment industry to create an image and then adapt it to the the changing times. She developed a vocal style, and a visual look to go with it. This would have been enough to get her famous but she kept retooling her image to remain loyal to her fan base and accelerate her career and maintain it for a quarter of a century. Madonna took some well calculated maneuvers along the way including entering films and marrying a high profile actor in Sean Penn.

    Other famous Icons with one name who come to mind are Cher and Elvis. The most famous Icon of all time worldwide is probably Michael Jackson. They all did similar things to get famous and then adapted to remain famous. Each of their lives can be studied and remarkable similarities can be observed.

    Miley Cyrus sits on the horizon as then next great icon in entertainment. She is not even past her teen years but she is already well on the a meteoric rise to stardom.

    One tragic character who had a similar career to Miley is Britney Spears. There is no telling where she would have gone had she been able to handle the pressures that a career in entertainment place on a person.

    I applaud the chairman for illustrating Lady Gaga ne. Stefani Germanotta.

    I think upon that which Tony Robbins states: If you want to be successful find successful people who have preceded you and model your self to their best characteristics and methods. There is something golden in everyone who has gone before us.

  3. What Startups Can Learn from Lady Gaga | Leveraging Ideas on December 27, 2009 12:32 pm

    […] 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 […]

  4. John Stack on December 28, 2009 10:54 am

    I completely agree with your points. She’s a machine and she seems to listen to her customers or has found something that deeply resonates. The one thing that might be missing here is the concept of team - unfortunately, stars don’t ever promote the fact that without a team (beyond their producers) helped make it all go. As consumers, we all seem a bit taken by the person in the limelight and seem to ignore the fact that nothing happens without one.

  5. Erin Blusieq on December 28, 2009 1:53 pm

    "This wonderful analysis also convincingly articulates the ugly, banal, cynical, pandering con of capitalism in general and investing in particular. Presumably the patina of beauty derives from the knowledge that it is facade."

    Dear Kim Zussman: The ugly con is the idea of (gov't forced) redistribution of wealth (it goes under several names - incl communism) Capitalism is the only sustainable system and when it appears to have failed, the "failures" can be traced back to gov't interventions in it. It is the only system that has been proven over time to be successful.

    The ultimate consequence of Socialism, Communism and Marxism are is destruction. And that is the ugly con.

    Stand on your own two feet and please get off of mine - thanks.

  6. 10 leçons de Marketing par Lady Gaga | CiTiZeN L. aka Laurent Francois on December 29, 2009 6:02 am

    […] Lady Gaga livre par la voix de Victor 10 enseignements clés qui explique le succès de son marketing (traduction des 10 points) : […]

  7. Cory Levy on December 29, 2009 1:46 pm

    Well written post! All great lessons we can learn from GaGa!

  8. what I’m reading ›› Princess Lasertron on December 30, 2009 11:13 am

    […] 1. What we can learn from Lady Gaga via Daily Speculations (and what Startups can learn from Gaga, from Leveraging Ideas) […]

  9. Daily Blogwatch: What Happens on the Last Day of the Year? Lady Gaga Teaches Traders! | The Best News Right Now on December 31, 2009 10:12 am

    […] Super trader and Squash champion, Victor Niederhoffer, explains, in great detail, what traders and entrepreneurs can learn from Lady Gaga. ___________ […]

  10. Daily Blogwatch: What Happens on the Last Day of the Year? Lady Gaga Teaches Traders! | on December 31, 2009 11:02 am

    […] Super trader and Squash champion, Victor Niederhoffer, explains, in great detail, what traders and entrepreneurs can learn from Lady Gaga. ___________ […]

  11. Derrik Funk on December 31, 2009 11:08 am

    Banal as she may be I still want her in my bedroom late at night clawing like an affected cat.

  12. vic niederhoffer on December 31, 2009 12:28 pm

    Yes. But would you react like her other male admirers and be turned off by her thinking of her female friends while clawing? It's part of her business persona so don't be abashed. vic

  13. Daily Blogwatch: What Happens on the Last Day of the Year? Lady Gaga Teaches Traders! | cars burner on December 31, 2009 4:19 pm

    […] Super trader and Squash champion, Victor Niederhoffer, explains, in great detail, what traders and entrepreneurs can learn from Lady Gaga. ___________ […]

  14. Anonymous on January 1, 2010 2:03 pm

    every 1 says your a man but I dont believe any of it.  im your biggest fan and your my favorite singer you'll always be no matter what my mom or brother, and cousin says nothing will change my mine.

  15. Richard Podsada on January 3, 2010 9:17 pm

    I'm not sure I can wholeheartedly agree with point #9 being good general advice for every business. I can see the sense of doing this in the music industry, where having full control of your entire production and distribution chain is beneficial. But I think in many industries and scenarios it may be smarter and even more profitable to simply license your idea or outsource its production. Just because you invent the rocket doesn't mean you have to manufacture it too. :)

  16. vic niederhoffer on January 5, 2010 8:59 am

    Inspired by Lady Gaga, I hasten to add I was inspired to examine this prize winning video by being apprised of the mojo of Gaga by our able editor Victoria Niederhoffer, and Palm Inc.'s talented sales representative at MTV, Ms. Joyce (hoops) Kwon. Victor Niederhoffer

  17. What Lady Gaga Can Teach Writers — It’s More Than You Think! — Show Me The Screenplay on January 5, 2010 2:44 pm

    […] Gaga article here: Share This    Print This TweetThis […]

  18. Lady Gaga: 10 Things We Can Learn [from Apple Inc. about effective Saatchi-esque Lovemark branding], from Victor Niederhoffer | Finance Blog on January 7, 2010 12:51 pm

    […] Click here for the original “Lady Gaga: 10 Things We Can Learn, from Victor Niederhoffer” … reproduced below in its entirety. […]

  19. Dieci cose che le aziende possono imparare da Lady Gaga. « Ernyblog on January 11, 2010 11:44 am

    […] Molti esperti di marketing applicato al settore musicale hanno analizzato il suo successo, come ad esempio Victor Niederhofeer che le dedica un post sul blog Daily Speculations dal titolo  10 cose che possiamo imparare da Lady Gaga, e che andremo a riassumere nel tentativo di stilare un’ elenco di consigli che potrebbero andar bene per qualsiasi impresa che voglia raggiungere un successo. […]

  20. Jordan Cooper on January 12, 2010 2:15 pm

    Interesting analysis. I wrote a very similar article after seeing “This Is It” about Michael Jackson as an ideal VP of Product for early stage startups:

  21. Pat Inguin on January 15, 2010 11:15 am

    I found your 5th comment quite funny. Amusingly, when I Googled her name to find the lyrics of her song criticizing rich kids I learned she went to school with Paris Hilton, so she can't be that hard up. Seems that so often socialist ideas come from those who are already wealthy, and either are ashamed of it, or wish to discourage competition.

  22. vic niederhoffer on January 17, 2010 5:51 pm

    "The Idea that Has the World in its Grip" [Item 5.] refers to a very specific egalitarian idea and book by Clarence Carson namely that the purpose of life is to take from one group and give to others regardless of its impact on individual sovereignty, private property, and cultivating one's own garden. That idea before the fall of the Berlin Wall was associated with Eastern Europe but now we are in the vanguard and Lady Gaga is a leader. I wanted to make the point by indirection so as not to turn off the readers, especially friends of the duo that inspired the article, and apparently I succeeded as my amateurish thoughts on this matter have been widely disseminated. I had no idea until I delved deeper into the subject that Gaga is a genius with philosophical thoughts of deep resonance on music, life, and self-actuation that she tries to promulgate through her work. It is admirable that one who believes in the idea that has the world in its grip should be so admirable, thereby violating Nock's dictum about a red hot stove. vic

  23. Joseph Smarr » Sources of inspiration for 2010 on January 18, 2010 5:44 pm

    […] Same thing with Lady Gaga: just two years ago, no one had heard of her, and she was just playing little clubs in New York. But using her incredible talent in song-writing and performance art, and a willingness to work insanely hard every day, she unleashed her strange and unique vision of music/fashion/art/performance and took the world by storm, becoming the first artist ever to score four #1 hits off her debut album, and at age 23 no less. If you haven’t paid close attention and think she’s just another made-to-order corporate pop starlet, take a closer look, you’ll be surprised (as I was). […]

  24. John Carl on January 28, 2010 10:18 am

    Nice study about GaGa. :)

  25. Kenny on February 14, 2010 1:12 pm


  26. SELIA MERCADO on February 26, 2010 8:35 pm


  27. What You Can Learn From Lady Gaga | Young Upstarts on March 30, 2010 8:28 am

    […] First up, here are 10 things anyone can learn from Lady Gaga by Victor Niederhoffer over at Daily Speculations. […]

  28. Lady Gaga, Technology & Success… on May 22, 2011 3:25 pm

    […] This excerpt is from’s article “Lady Gaga: 10 Things We Can Learn” by Victor Niederhoffer. Read the full post here. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! […]

  29. Le cose che possiamo imparare da Lady Gaga — Giovanni Cappellotto on July 25, 2011 5:09 am

    […] Victor Niederhofeer dedica un post sul blog Daily Speculations sulle 10 cose che possiamo imparare da Lady Gaga […]

  30. What Can You Learn from Lady Gaga’s Success? « virtualDavis on December 22, 2011 12:02 pm

    […] Photograph via […]


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