Troy Carter: The Black Man Behind Lady Gaga
(New York Times) — Soon after Apple started its music-centric social network Ping last year, Steven P. Jobs reached out to Lady Gaga and her business manager, Troy Carter, for feedback. At the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Lady Gaga peppered Mr. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, with questions about Ping’s design and how it would work with other social networks. The pop star and Mr. Carter voiced concerns over the lack of integration with Facebook, but they left respecting Mr. Jobs’s overall vision. The meeting also gave Mr. Carter, a new technophile, an idea. He called his friend Matthew Michelsen, a well-connected technology investor and entrepreneur, to find a platform for entertainers that could help them manage their fan base across all major social networks. “I said why try to find a platform, let’s try to build one,” Mr. Michelsen said. Despite Lady Gaga’s demanding world tour schedule that fall, Mr. Carter and Mr. Michelsen quietly founded a start-up, the Backplane, with a team of seven. The company, which has not yet been unveiled, is a platform meant to power online communities around specific interests, like musicians and sports teams, and to integrate feeds from Facebook, Twitter and other sites.