Dec

26

 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?


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