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Case Study: The Ramp Report by Ramp Capital

The newsletter for all things markets, tech, startups, business, and memes

stThe seed of The Ramp Report was Ramp’s Twitter account way back in 2013. It’s hard to remember what the tenor of the internet in those days was, but Ramp remembers being one of only a few out there focused on jokes and memes, especially around finance. It was during the ‘08 global market crisis that he got interested in figuring out how the market and stocks work. He saw a very serious discourse- you are talking about people’s finances, so there’s not a lot of room to be funny, but Ramp began to talk about what he was learning with light-hearted, humorous takes. He credits his addiction to Twitter and a highly curated list of followed accounts to his ability to provide actionable, real time updates (though he’s quick to point out that he’s NOT a registered advisor and is only offering an opinion). In 2019, Ramp launched The Ramp Report on Squarespace to diversify across platforms. He knew that should Twitter shut down or he get banned, he’d lose his entire audience. The Ramp Report is a labor of curiosity, a side hustle of expression. With his recent move to beehiiv, we chatted to Ramp about finding the funny in finance and the benefits of not turning a side project into a paying gig.

The Newsletter: The Ramp Report

Posts to check out

Tell me about The Ramp Report

My newsletter has changed a few times over the past few years. It started off covering anything and everything on stocks and tech. Mostly opinion pieces that allowed me to express my thoughts in long form. In 2020 and 2021, it merged into following a crowdsourced portfolio ($WERAMP) that I was running using Twitter polls. Each week I would put out a poll of 4 stocks and Twitter would vote which stock I should buy. Then I would go buy that stock at the end of the week. The newsletter tracked my portfolio as it changed each week. In 2022, I wanted to try something a little different. Since I’m on Twitter a lot I decided to do a segment where I capture some quick short thoughts on the most interesting charts I saw that week. I’m a very visual person and follow a lot of highly technical and smart people that share some really great insights. I thought it would add value to the reader to see some of these interesting charts and data that get shared each week. Separately, I’m also looking at doing deep dives on startup companies that I am interested in or invest in indirectly. We just put out our first piece on AssetDash a few weeks ago, which I am an advisor and investor in.

2022 Goals

1) provide value 2) help people if I can in any way 3) not get burnt out in the process and4) learn new things through the act of curating and creating fresh content. I want people to be excited to read the latest report as soon as it gets published.

Advice for other writers

Keep writing every day if you can. When I write an hour a day, I produce my best work. My advice is even if you’re busy, try to carve out even just 15-30 minutes each day to get in a flow state and put some words on paper (digitally).

Favorite beehiiv features

1) the pollinate feature which ties into Twitter’s Revue newsletter service and imports them directly over to beehiiv. I’ve seen a significant portion of subscribers come from this feature.

2) Being able to add people to your account as editors or writers. This is a great feature if you have a team of writers and anyone can go in and edit a doc.

3) Working hand in hand with a smaller team that actually takes feedback to heart and doesn’t just dismiss it. The smaller team also allows them to promote newer newsletters and get their subscriber count even more supercharged. A win for all of the little folks.

Advice for anyone considering a switch to beehiiv

I like seeing something being built from the ground up and actually being able to offer suggestions to the team that they actually will implement and not brush off. Listening to creators and product users is a key tenet to any functioning startup business. If you want a platform to evolve alongside your newsletter, beehiiv is the way to go.

How have you set yourself apart on Twitter and in the newsletter arena?

I stay in my lane, things I know that I’m competent in. I stay in the finance lane 90-95% of the time. I don’t put bible verses or pet photos. Within that lane, it’s hard to pin it down to one area, it’s whatever catches my eye. Especially in the investing area, there’s so many different start-ups you can invest in.

One of things I wanted to do is help people build things and market things. Through my twitter account, I’ve met a handful of venture capitalists that run funds and specifically funds that I’ve invested in, so then I’ve had conversations with them on the side and sometimes even contribute money to and then I’m a part of their fund. And then there are opportunities that we can both benefit from, I can do a deep dive with a start-up. Of course, I announce that I’m an advisor/investor to them and that it’s a sponsored post.

What is your scaling strategy?

The most impactful thing on scaling any newsletter is to tell stories that are insightful, emotional, and relatable. I’ve found that some of the more technical pieces (while can be dry at times) don’t necessarily grow as fast as telling a heartfelt story that others can relate to. I’m going to try to work on that more this year.

What motivated your move to beehiiv?

I started my original newsletter/blog on Squarespace to keep all of my content in one location. It was extremely limited and glitchy. I was then prompted by a friend to switch over to Substack which was a much more intuitive service and offered better features for lower prices. When I heard about beehiiv, I was seeing some of my friends using it and having success. I am friends with a lot of the Morning Brew crew. So knowing Tyler was an ex Brew crew and went out to build this on his own, I thought I would do my part to help grow this. The migration was super simple. I just let Tyler know I was moving over from Substack and he gave me the white glove treatment. It was up and running the next day and I was free to start writing. When you have these huge companies, you can’t get anything done. Beehiiv is listening, that’s huge to me. It could be as simple as I think I have to click too many times to do this one thing. Or it could be to apply some UI/UX changes here to make it more intuitive for the writer. I feel like I have a direct line to the beehiiv to throw in anything I want, not that they’re going to do everything I suggest. It’s fun to help build the product around me.

Where do you see The Ramp Report headed? Do you want to monetize it?

If we’re being honest, in an ideal world I would be able to scale my newsletter to be a full time publication. Right now it’s just a side gig that I enjoy doing because it allows me to be creative. I know it’s a grind but it’s still an amazing feeling knowing at any moment I can send a direct email to tens of thousands of strangers who want to hear what I have to say. I have a very analytical mind so I’m always looking to share my insights but also be innovative and fun and unique. I’m just grateful that a lot of my hard work has paid off and I get to help others and share my message.

I’ve always done the free model because I think whenever you go down the path of asking people to pay–whether it’s $3 or $30 a month–the pressure to produce quality pieces and information increases exponentially. With a free model, it’s more of a come and join as you like feeling–with no twisting of arms or red tape. I’d rather not feel the pressure of someone expecting me to produce content on a certain specified timeline. If I want to write 4 paragraphs on something that moved me that day then I can with no added pressure. Also, if I’m making my money from other sources, I have the freedom to not sell ads, which I believe helps scale newsletters even further. I see many others who have tried to monetize by doing affiliate only ad deals. Affiliate ad deals are the unpaid internships of marketing. They’re just not worth it in my opinion. You’ll turn off the reader and many times get nothing in return.

What do newsletters offer that’s unique?

The thing that excites me the most about the newsletter space is everyone having the freedom to speak their mind without the fear of being de-platformed. Freedom of speech has seemingly come under attack recently as people struggle to find common ground. While we are more politically and economically divided than ever, it’s important to still allow all voices to be heard, regardless of what they are saying. It’s not the role of big media to be the arbiter of truth. We need to ask more questions and be more open to civil discourse and let the truth come out naturally. People having their own newsletters to share their own personal thoughts with the public accelerates this process–without the fear of being de-platformed.

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