- Lady Gaga once critiqued Larry Page for A/B testing a potential product color.
- “Did Picasso A/B test his paintings?” she said in response to him asking if she would ever do similar research.
- That’s according to the new book “A-List Angels,” which explores how celebrities became major investors in tech startups.
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A 2011 interaction between musician Lady Gaga and Google cofounder Larry Page perfectly illustrates the friction that can occasionally arise between the art world and the tech world.
In the new book “A-List Angels: How a Band of Actors, Artists, and Athletes Hacked Silicon Valley,” author Zack O’Malley Greenburg explores how celebrities became major investors in tech startups.
In the book, Greenburg talks with Troy Carter, a tech investor and onetime manager of Lady Gaga. He told a story about the musician’s trip to Google in 2011 ahead of the launch of Google Play Music, when Carter and Gaga met with Google cofounder Larry Page and then Google employee and eventual Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to explore potential collaborations.
Mayer showed Gaga two shades of green that Google was considering for a product, which the company had been A/B testing. The research showed that people preferred one shade over the other and were more likely to click on it.
According to Carter’s account, Page, who was excited about the research, asked Gaga if she did the same for her work, to which she replied, “Did Picasso A/B test his paintings?”
Luckily, the awkward exchange didn’t kill the chance of a relationship between the tech giant and the musician: Gaga appeared in a commercial for the Chrome web browser, and Google’s investment arm, GV, once invested in her startup, Backplane (which has since shut down).