Hooked Up_ Book 1(5)

By: Arianne Richmonde



I headed across the road for a coffee.

I shuffled through the door, now back in my sneakers—New York City sidewalks do not favor high heels for any period of time. I could tell how long someone had been living in New York by her footwear. Comfort first. Heels for visitors. Or women from New Jersey.

I stood in line, pondering over the rich choice I was presented with. A wave of guilt washed over me as I mentally totaled up the money I’d spent on superfluous coffee breaks over the years—money needed by charities, for water wells somewhere, for a child’s education. Stop! Life isn’t fair. Yum, Mocha Cookie Delight . . . coffee blended with mocha sauce, vanilla syrup, chocolaty chips, milk and ice. Or a Vanilla Cappuccino – coffee flavored with vanilla and blended with milk and ice – and fewer calories . . .





LUST AT FIRST SIGHT





ALEXANDRE





IT WAS RAINING in New York City. The sort of rain that felt vaguely tropical because it was summertime and the muggy heat was broken by a glorious downfall. Very welcome, because my sister and I had just given a talk at an I.T. conference and she was feeling hot and bothered—really getting on my case.

The rain eased the tension.

Sophie had been driving me nuts all day. It wasn’t easy going into business with a sibling, but if it hadn’t been for her shrewd business savvy, I wouldn’t have had the same luck. Sophie inhaled HookedUp. Exhaled HookedUp. Being as obsessed with money as she was, she wouldn’t rest until we’d practically taken over the world. And, as everyone now knows, social media really has taken over the world so she was onto something big. Clever woman.

Sophie had moved our conference talk forward by an hour because she was in a foul mood—wanted to get it over and done with—get the hell out of there. I, on the other hand, felt bound by some odd sense of duty to share our success story; inspire people to jump into the deep end, as we had done. To go for it.

At the conference, someone in the audience asked me how I would describe myself and I replied: “I’m just a nerd who found programming fascinating. With a keen eye for patterns and codes, I pushed it to the limit and got rich. I’m a lucky geek, that’s all.” People laughed as if what I said was a silly joke. But I meant it.

I’m still not used to being a billionaire. Even now, if I ever see an article written about the power of social media and HookedUp, it’s as if I’m taking a glimpse into someone else’s life; a driven, ambitious, “ruthless businessman” (as I’ve often been described), when I’m still just a guy who likes surfing, rock climbing, and hanging out with his family and dogs. Just an ordinary man. Others don’t perceive me that way—at all. I suppose I should be flattered by their attention, although I’m a private man and hate the limelight.

I took a chance, worked hard, and got lucky.

A Frenchman living the American Dream.

That’s what I love about American culture. Everybody gets a shot if you get off your ass and have the will to succeed. Not so in France. It’s hard to break away from the mold; people don’t like to see others rise above their station. Maybe I’m being hard on my country, judgmental, but all I know is if I’d stayed there, HookedUp wouldn’t be the mega-power it is today. Not even close. The USA has given us all we have, and I’m grateful even though having this much money still feels sinful at my age. Or any age, for that matter.

Funny how Fate pans out; you never know what life has in store for you.

I nearly didn’t go into the coffee shop that day. Sophie needed a shot of caffeine and I really wasn’t in the mood to argue, so we dashed in from the rain and stood in line.

Our conversation had been heated, to say the least. We’d been discussing the HookedUp meeting we had scheduled in Mumbai in a couple of weeks time. It was a mega-deal that my sister had been feverishly working on all year. I didn’t think HookedUp could get any more global and powerful than it already was, but I was wrong. That deal was going to make us silly money. Really silly money. I knew I was going to be able to buy that Austin Healey I had my eye on. Hell, I could have bought a fleet of them. Aircrafts too. Whatever I wanted.

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