The title of this post should probably be something like “What It’s Like to Only Occasionally See Other Humans” or “What It’s Like Eating Cart Food for the Seventh Consecutive Day.” The answer to both of those would be “it’s amazing,” by the way.
I chose “What It’s Like to Work in Daily Fantasy Sports” because…I work in daily fantasy sports…but in reality I’d think my day-to-day is much different from someone who works for DraftKings or FanDuel or something. I imagine working for a big company like that is pretty similar to working for any other company – marketing people have meetings about marketing, developers develop things, you know – with maybe a cool startup vibe or something that makes coming to work a little more fun.
I run a startup, too, but everyone except for the developers at FantasyLabs works remotely. That means my work environment – my apartment – is less “there’s pizza and beer in the break room” and more “I found an old pizza crust under my bed.” Basically, this post is more about what it’s like to work from home, I guess, than to work in DFS.
There are others in daily fantasy sports who work from home, too – professional players and full-time employees of sites like FantasyLabs (although there aren’t too many of either of those jobs floating around). I think the perception of what it’s like to either play DFS as a professional or to run a company like FantasyLabs is probably way off from reality, so I wanted to just sort of run through what a typical day is like.
It’s more or less just this sort of stuff – all day, every day, without the need to do any actual work…
Look how fun I just made my life look. Now here’s where I am almost all the time…
The life of someone who works in DFS – or at least for me – is like the life of any entrepreneur who works from home. You work. A lot. Some of it is really fun. Some of it isn’t that fun. Some of it occurs in an actual office. Most of it happens in bed. They say not to work in bed; I don’t know if it’s because I’m just fucked up, but I must be 3x more productive in that bed literally laying down flat with my laptop on my stomach as compared to anywhere else in the world.
This is a tangent, but isn’t it crazy how the internet has changed so much? Imagine just laying down for 12 straight hours (after sleeping in the same spot for nine hours) without internet. OH MY GOD that would be terrible. But with internet, it’s like I don’t even recognize that I’m just wasting my life away in bed. It’s sensational.
Occasionally my life is decent with things like travel and sporting events and stuff, but usually I’m at home. Business Insider shadowed me for a day and that story was pretty accurate for what it was, except it was a Sunday during NFL season. There are like 20 of those all year, or less than 6% of my life. I was also watching the games with my friends, which happens basically only during football season because I really don’t sweat DFS.
So the things the average DFS player might think my life is like – exciting, not much work, and watching tons of sports – are pretty much the exact opposite of what’s really going on. Most of my days look something like this:
8am: Wake up, turn over to pick up my laptop, and start working. I almost always start by answering emails, which might take 30 minutes or so. I try not to check in on emails throughout the day too much, instead just answering them again at night. Getting caught up in that email back-and-forth can just be really draining and inefficient.
Then I go downstairs and drink coffee. I drink a lot of coffee because, duh, it gives me energy and makes me more productive. I also eat at that time, and although I feel like it’s cliche to say at this point, it’s almost always a breakfast sandwich (lately either McDonalds or 7-11, both of which I can see from my apartment). After that, I come back up to bed, lay down like a fat piece of shit, and get back to work.
9am: I almost always do the most difficult tasks in the beginning of the day. I think trying to save things that are really mentally challenging – like writing – for the end of the day is just a recipe for disaster. It’s like doing a bunch of cardio and moderate lifting all day, then trying to do a heavy bench press or squat at the end of the workout. I typically do this “intense” work until around noon.
11am: I take Bowie outside to pee and shit. Bowie is my cousin and roommate who has trouble going to the bathroom indoors. Just kidding. Bowie – you guessed it – is a dog. If you think 11am is late to take a dog out for the first time, you’d be right, but he straight up will not go outside in the morning. He’s tired, guys. He’s the only living thing on this planet with an easier life than mine, but he’s tired.
Also at this time, I order food for the day on GrubHub. Current favorite is curry, both Indian and Thai.
12pm: From noon until maybe 12:15 or so, I take a mental break. This usually involves something like watching this highlight video of Tavon Austin, which is so weird because I think he’s a super overrated player (he might not be if he were used more as a true running back). Sometimes I watch a similar sort of energizing video in the morning, too, if I need energy.
Related to this – and something many people might not know about me – is that I am hyper-competitive to the point that it has become a problem in my life in the past. No one wants to play board games or anything with me because I get so angry if I lose, particularly if I lose to someone who plays like a donkey. But that extends into real life and my work, and so part of watching videos is me getting motivated to just win every day. I really, really want to be successful – with my primary focus now being FantasyLabs – to the point that I think about beating everyone else, like, all day long. Most of why I work so hard I think just stems from insecurity about losing.
I think because I’m very shy in person, people think I’m maybe timid in business or just generally not competitive, but I really can’t stress enough how much of my life is driven by this need to win.
1pm: This is the time around when I might normally work out. I’ve been trying to work out more lately – maybe four times per week – and my workouts are short (typically 35-45 min). I was thinking of explaining what I do here, but that might be a cool post on its own that I could do soon.
145pm: You’d think this might be a good time for a shower, but I usually just like to get back to working on FantasyLabs because if there’s one thing I know about working from home, it’s that general hygiene is for suckers. You might ask what the hell I am doing all day, and the answer is sort of everything: I work with marketing, development, content, support – everything that makes the site run. Every day is different in that way; yesterday I had calls with ESPN and an agent for a PGA golfer, the day before that I was creating a plan for our NFL product, and today I’m working on specs for a new Vegas dashboard we’re creating.
230pm: FantasyLabs has three primary Skype calls every two weeks, and they are during this time. I might do an additional five or so calls with guys from different departments each week, for various reasons. If I’m not on a call, this time is spent working on miscellaneous tasks.
5pm: Since it is MLB season, I usually start to do the bulk of my research around 5pm, which is about 120 minutes prior to lock. Ideally I could spend more time on it – and I definitely do research throughout the day, periodically – but I just don’t really have that luxury anymore. I’ve also streamlined my research process so much that I don’t really feel like I need that much time to create profitable lineups. I might make like 5% more with an additional couple hours, but I’d almost certainly be losing EV by not working on FantasyLabs.
7pm: After lineup lock, I try to finish up the day’s work. This might be following up with our employees about their projects, Skype chatting with the developers, or whatever. This entire concept of working with a team is extremely new to me and something I’m really trying to learn to do a lot better. I’ve literally always worked on my own, and so delegating responsibility and leading a team is not currently a strength of mine, but it will be soon.
8pm: After work, I typically go out to eat for dinner. For anyone who lives in the Philly area, some of my favorite places are Heritage, Butcher & Singer, Sampan, Root (just opened in Fishtown…might be the best on this list), Barclay Prime, Same Same, Circles, Abe Fisher, Buddakan, and Barbuzzo.
10pm: I barely watch TV, but shows I do watch around this time include Shark Tank, Real World, The Bachelor, Billions, Million Dollar Listing…the classics.
11pm: Sleep, usually for about nine hours. Sleep is so important in my life and I think is maybe the most overlooked aspect of success. If you feel like you’ve hit a plateau in any aspect of life, I’d say sleeping and working out more are the two most valuable things you can do to get back on track.
So that’s basically my life when I’m at home – not really that action-packed and lots of work, but it gives me the freedom to do whatever I want at any time and to never have to follow the rules, which is something I crave.