3 Minutes to read
Kevin Primicerio, Founder of Hook & The Next Wave
Learning Inspiration 🌈 #65
Kevin Primicerio is the founder of Hook. Hook was an accelerator and now. a VC fund, that helps startups scale from first prototype to first fundraising. Kevin holds a Ph.D. in Quantitative Finance, and is the founder of the newsletter “The Next Wave”, a practical approach to personal finance and investment. In this interview, Kevin Primicerio explains why he started his newsletter and how he built Hook.
What inspired you to create content?
I had wanted to start investing for a long time and the best way to learn about investing was to write about it. During confinement, there was a real emergence of newsletters and that pushed me even more to write.
What are the tools you use to create content?
To write down my ideas and the articles I reference, I use Notion.
To publish my newsletter, I used to use Substack, but it was too limited. At the time, there was no affiliate system. I now use Ghost and what I like about this tool is that you can connect to Zappier, which gives you a lot of leeway.
To curate and receive articles, I use an RSS feed.
How do you prepare your episodes?
In Notion, I have a list of article ideas and week by week, I progressively write.
I also maintain a list of articles on Notion that I find interesting.
I struggled at first to write regularly because I wanted to write very complete articles, but that takes time. Instead, I now try to present my portfolio of assets and pull from interesting articles. I have a piece of code that automatically generates reports for me. I take the graphs and I comment on them.
I went from a system where I published quite irregularly because I wanted to write timeless articles to a weekly publication. I now publish simpler articles and I don’t have to achieve perfection in order to publish them.
Where does your interest in finance come from?
It’s funny because I started a company in the Health industry and ended up managing Hook. I have a doctorate in Finance, and freelance in Finance. Everything brings me back to Finance even though, when I started, I was more attracted to Physics. I started my studies in this field and then realized that it was too confined of an environment, where you ended up locked in a laboratory and earned very little. Gradually, I got interested in Finance, in high frequency trading. I quickly understood that trading was very out of touch with reality, but it allowed me to understand how the world of Finance was evolving.
What I like about Hook is that I am in contact with entrepreneurs; there is a very human side to it. The Next Wave, my newsletter, is my very long-term global vision of Finance. What are the major emerging movements, like green tech? It’s interesting to have the full spectrum. I also know that at some point, The Next Wave will join Hook.
Right now, like a lot of people, I’m interested in crypto and it’s pretty hard to predict what’s going to work. 4 years ago, everyone was talking about ICO (Initial Coin Offering) and today there are no more ICOs. Many smart contracts are built on Ethereum and Bitcoin; we’ll see what will survive. Ultimately, not all cryptocurrencies are a good investment. I have a strong opinion on Ripple for example. For me, it’s just short-term speculation. Besides, Ripple has been banned from a lot of exchange platforms. It’s pretty funny because I had strayed quite a bit from crypto and then returned to it quite recently. I was so glad I hadn’t sold my assets.
What is the most satisfying thing when you produce content?
Learning, because when you write, it forces you to be more structured in your learning.
In addition, when I want to dive back into a subject, I know that I can find it on my blog.
Having positive feedback is also great fun. Writing also allows me to meet people I would not have met in another context.
I’ve been writing this newsletter now for a year and still haven’t monetized it. Maybe I will one day, but for the moment what interests me is this positive feedback loop. The more you write, the more your audience grows. The bigger your audience, the more you want to write. I now have an audience of 600 readers and when I publish my newsletter, I know they are expecting it.
Who are the people who inspire you the most?
Ray Dalio is a great source of inspiration; I follow him a lot on Linkedin. He posts a lot from a macro point of view and few people have as much perspective as he does. His article on Bitcoin is a nugget. His book Principles is also a gold mine for people interested in Finance.
Cathie Wood from Ark Invest is also very inspiring. She was the first to write and invest in Tesla in 2014. She really has a long-term and technical vision. Ark Invest’s report “Big Ideas” is really well done. It covers many areas such as AI, blockchain, electric cars, processors, etc.
What are your favorite books and why?
On my tablet, I recently read Enemy of All Mankind. It’s a story about pirates. I really like pirate stories; they inspire me.
Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit is a book that I read when I started to write my newsletter and helped me a lot.
In fiction, I really liked The Gods Always Travel Incognito. It’s a novel that popularized the concept of Computer Programming.
What are your favorite podcast episodes and why?
I’ve been listening a little less lately, but I like Decode Exit which talks about exits and dissects the life of a startup during its acquisition. They detail the accomplishment of selling your business really well.
The Naval Ravikant podcast episode that explains the principles of Angel Investment is also very stylish.
How do you remember what you learn?
I don’t really have a method. I just trust my brain, hoping it finds the right information at the right time. I read for fun, and to remember what I learned I publish it via Hook or my newsletter.
I never really thought about it but at the end of the day, a lot of my work at Hook is writing. I created a knowledge base in order to aggregate information useful to our entrepreneurs.
What would you tell the 18 years old version of yourself?
Wait one year and be sure to get Bitcoin. Plus, at the time, Bitcoin was still practically free.
In general, it’s quite difficult to answer this question because any advice you could give yourself would influence you and suddenly you would do things differently.
I’m happy to be where I am and wouldn’t want to change my past for fear that it could change my future. If you tell yourself “don’t worry,” you won’t be vigilant enough when you should have been.
As Ray Dalio would say, “If you don’t worry, you need to worry.” I really like this quote because if you worry about your future, you are going to work hard to make it go well. Whereas, if you think everything is going to be fine, you are not going to work that hard and you might just miss opportunities. I think I would share this quote with 18-year-old Kevin.
What is the most important thing you learned over the last 12 months?
With Hook, we understood that even if we help the companies in our portfolio, we cannot and should not interfere in their decision making. We must find a way to guide our entrepreneurs while staying in the background. It’s really important to give feedback at the right time when the founders are ready to listen. Otherwise, it can destabilize them. You have to know when to push people and when to tell them to release the pressure. Hook helped me a lot to understand this dynamic.
What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome this year and how did you do it?
With Hook, I have a lot of challenges. I am one of the few people under 30 who has raised 2.5 million euros to set up an investment fund. I had to convince each of our investors; it was a real feat. We managed to tell a credible story and raise money. Now we have to prove that our model works and build our track record. It takes time, but we know that building success takes time. We are already working on our next challenge: raising a bigger fund to support entrepreneurs throughout their entrepreneurial lives, from seed to series A and even in the longer term.
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