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Performance management solution for Fantasy Sports?

As an entrepreneur that is very interested in starting a company in fantasy sports realm, the recent reports of DraftKings and FanDuel has me a tad concerned. Both companies have received a lot of heat for allegations of insider trading, which in turn has brought to light other issues/challenges fantasy sports companies experience. One in specific I am curious to hear others opinions on is the fact that there has been recent reports that concluded that these top fantasy football sites regularly experience major traffic spikes, typically on Sundays which causes ridiculous load issues and overall bad experience for users. Therefore, what sort of performance management solution should be incorporated in order to ensure top-notch digital experience?



10 Replies

Edward M. Yang
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Edward M. Yang Entrepreneur
Managing Partner at Firecracker PR
I would think that they could model performance management on other websites that tend to experience periodic massive spikes in traffic: Black Friday, new launch of hot movie (Star Wars), PR story going viral. Since their spikes are predictable, it should make it far easier to resolve going forward.

As an aside, I have proprietary algorithm and system built out for fantasy baseball that is no longer in use. It could easily be tweaked for daily fantasy format. This system was in commercial use but was shut down a few years ago when we ran out of funding. The fantasy baseball system is unlike anything the big guys have, and could instantly give you a competitive advantage. If anyone is interested in acquiring the whole thing, please let me know.
Daniel Austin
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Daniel Austin Advisor
Founder and CEO at GRIN Technologies, Inc.
Web traffic is often described as 'bursty' or prone to transient first-order positive swings. Model this using the peak-to-average ratio P = avg requests/peak requests. The value of P can range from 1-5 for 'normal' traffic and any value over 1 indicates a capacity deficit. Unusual events, such as the famous 'Michael Jackson' event at Yahoo can drive the value of P up to 1000.
Then use the Response Time Law to determine your needed capacity, then add 10%. This is really a capacity planning problem rather than a performance problem. Use AWS autoscaling via Beanstalk or Formation, or use something like Rightscale to ensure that you have enough capacity to handle your traffic. This is a case where renting the hardware on an as-needed basis via one of the cloud providers makes sense.
You can learn about this and other aspects of Web performance in my class this week at HTML5 Devconf.http://html5devconf.com/training.html#daniel-web

Regards,

D-
Don Daglow
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Don Daglow Entrepreneur • Advisor
3-Time Inc. 500 CEO, Technical Emmy® Award, International Speaker, Advisor at Founders Space accelerator
Ryan, I have some comments but it's a narrow subject and we can take the discussion offline. My email address is ddaglow at the ever-popular gmail. Thanks!
Rex Stock
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Rex Stock Entrepreneur
President and CEO at RDS, Incorporated
The problem with Fantasy Sports is not the insider trading angle but, rather, that it's gambling and thus illegal except for Nevada and in some cases New Jersey.

The loophole being exploited by social pariahs like DraftKings and FanDuel are closing and closing fast. It's a scum bag's business that is all about taking money from people in a way that makes lotteries look like good bets.

Where it is legal one must pass extraordinary licensing processes that are not for the faint-of-heart.

I have 30 plus years in the legal gambling industry and strongly support licensed and regulated gambling as long as it also provides social responsibility and protections for those who can, will, and are hurt by gambling...

If you want to end up in jail or lose everything you own you can rely on websites like this who would have you believe that Fantasy Sports is allowed.

http://www.usaonlinesportsbooks.com/is-sports-betting-legal-in-the-united-states.html
Edward M. Yang
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Edward M. Yang Entrepreneur
Managing Partner at Firecracker PR
Rex Stock, exaggerate much? Social pariahs? Scum bag's business? End up in jail? Sorry, I've played fantasy sports since the pencil and paper days, along with many of my friends. I've seen alcohol and tobacco ruin far more lives than fantasy sports.

DraftKings and FanDuel are growing like gangbusters because they met a market need that sites like Yahoo and CBS completely missed. Good for them.

As for whether or not it is "gambling", let's just say that more times than not, a skilled and knowledgeable fantasy sports manager will beat out some random Joe. So I guess it is "gambling" much like poker is gambling, yet some poker pros always seem to be net positive.
Rex Stock
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Rex Stock Entrepreneur
President and CEO at RDS, Incorporated
You have no idea what you're talking about, Edward M Yang.

Fantasy Sports played during 'pencil and paper days" were friendly social events, as you say, that lasted an entire season with weekly updates provided on a small scale amongst friends.

These online sites are able to scale at incredible volumes and it's a whole different ballgame than what you are describing.

If you really knew what you were talking about you would have read that DraftKings and FanDuel just last week were banned from doing business in the State of Nevada by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board, in conjunction with the Nevada Attorney Generals Office, in addition to many experts who are licensed and involved in legal gambling have stated without any reservation that Fantasy Sports are not games of skill as the Fantasy Sports people have long contended--that these activities are games of chance and thus subject to gambling laws as such.

Many other states have also banned Fantasy Sports or are in the process of doing so. Just today the NCAA forbid any associations with Fantasy Sports.

The aspect of responsible gaming is one that most legal jurisdictions have laws and procedures in place that attempt to at least address the issue.

The amount of money that is being wagered and lost right now by many players has, in an incredibly short time (because one doesn't need to leave their home to gamble) cleared out bank accounts and led to people not paying their debts.

You'll be reading about people who are embezzling to cover their Fantasy Sport habits and you'll read about all manner of social decay brought on by this activity that is truly the crack cocaine of gambling (due to it's variable/variable reinforcement schedule that is daily and covers all sports).

You would be wise to read up more on the impact these betting sites have on people. It's not minimal and there are no regulatory protections for people stupid enough to play these sites. You probably think you're one of the wise guys who is smarter than the Random Joe as you call them but the algorithms these sites use are designed to insure that the only winners are the people who own and manage the sites.

The ads about these big winners who "consistently win" is pure baloney. Yes, there will always be people who win money, just as there is now with Lotteries, but, only a moron would consider the Lottery to be a good bet.

I have over 30 years in the legal gambling industry and have spent time in probably every legal casino in the United States. I have held several licenses of privilege that allows me to work in the industry and I guarantee you that the people who are running FanDuel and DraftKings have absolutely zero chance of getting licenses in the State of Nevada, where, just last weekend they defied the Nevada Gaming Control Board and did not forbid Nevada residents from placing bets on their sites.

If you knew anything about the legal gambling industry--which you clearly do not--you would know that if a person is denied a license in Nevada, they will be denied a license in 99.9% of any other legal gaming jurisdiction.

Why would you even venture to challenge someone when you don't have nearly the facts, and I introduced myself as someone who comes from the legalized gaming industry?

And, a very, very small percentage of poker pros are net positive. Less than 1%. You really have no idea at all what you're talking about when it comes to anything in the legalized gambling world.

Why in the world would you pick a fight on this? I was trying to help someone who was thinking about getting into the business and I was trying to help them see that there's a very good chance that doing so would put them in legal jeopardy, but certainly in financial straights.

And, Edward, no, I don't exaggerate much at all. Do a little research and come back and tell me one thing I've offered in this post that's incorrect. One thing.
Edward M. Yang
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Edward M. Yang Entrepreneur
Managing Partner at Firecracker PR
Rex Stock, I don't appreciate your condescending tone. Everyone and their dog heard of the story regarding the employee getting inside information. Insider trading also happens on Wall Street, but does that mean anyone who invests in stocks is a scumbag, waiting to ruin their life? A few bad apples don't spoil the bunch in this case.

I'm not "picking a fight". I'm challenging your attempt to smear an entire industry and everyone who enjoys playing fantasy sports. You seem to have a personal vendetta against them, a bone to pick. The original poster didn't ask you for your personal opinion on the moral evils of fantasy sports. He asked a question about peak performance management.

State owned lotto companies take way more money from poor people and run advertising telling folks they can win millions of dollars as well. Is it ok when the state does it and not private companies?

As for Nevada, I'm shocked...shocked that they would want to try and regulate or shut down something that they can't profit from. /sarcasm The government can attempt to shut it down, but look how well that's doing with online poker. I know plenty of folks using workarounds who play online poker. People will always find a way around heavy-handed state restrictions.

Like I said, if you're going to go on a moral crusade against fantasy sports, there are plenty of other things we as a society tolerate that do far, far, far more damage. I've already mentioned alcohol and tobacco. What about pornography? Methinks you are being way too selective and biased here.

One thing you've offered in this post that's incorrect? Why don't you provide data to back up your assertion that those involved in fantasy sports are "scumbags, social pariahs, and that it's ruining people's lives"?

Let the market dictate the fate of fantasy sports. If people willingly choose to spend their leisure dollars playing fantasy sports, who are you, or I, or the government to say that they cannot?
Rex Stock
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Rex Stock Entrepreneur
President and CEO at RDS, Incorporated
I don't care if you don't appreciate my tone. I wouldn't assume that tone if you weren't so adamant that you know something which obviously you do not.

State lotteries at least post the odds. And, no smart gambler would ever play a lottery. Lotteries also use the money they earn to support things like schools and public good whereas the money FanDuels and FantasyKings generates does none of that and they do not disclose odds.

The long history of legalized gambling has many laws that either allow or deny its activity. The so-called market has little to say in that matter even when and if they do say they want or do not want to have legal gambling within state lines.

The mere fact that these entities chose to continue allowing people to place bets in Nevada afterthey were ordered to do so shows that they have no respect for the laws in the jurisdictions they are doing business in.

This alone shows they are scumbags. What do you call people who openly disregard the laws?

And, Nevada did not stop this activity until they had done a thorough investigation to determine these are not--repeat not--games of skill as the social pariahs are lying to the public about.

Your assertion that you know plenty of people who are using "workarounds" to play online poker means you know people who are breaking the law.

So, perhaps the problem is that I am debating a point of fact with someone who hangs out with people who think it's okay to break the law... Are you one of those people?

I'm in the casino gaming business and I don't know anyone who uses workarounds to play illegal poker. I'm sure most of us don't know "plenty of folks" who think it's okay to break the law.

And, to my point, they must have a gambling problem themselves if they want to risk being caught breaking the law just so they can play some rigged online poker? Unless all your pals live in Utah or Hawaii there are plenty of places they can go to gamble legally.

My 'crusade" is not one of morality. Problem gambling is not a moral issue. It's a disease. I've spent more time in casinos than you or most people could imagine and I've seen what happens to folks who cannot gamble without hurting themselves and their families.

The vast majority of gamblers are not that way, but the industry has a duty to protect those who are vulnerable.

Here's one legal opinion on the matter that you might find useful:

The problem, says Daniel Wallach, a sports and gaming attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, is that the 2006federal law doesn't supplant state law, as the law itselfspells out.

"UIGEA is not this broad, blanket exemption that provides legal clearance for daily fantasy sports to operate in any state," Wallach says. "That's a determination that has to be made on a state by state basis."


Edward M. Yang
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Edward M. Yang Entrepreneur
Managing Partner at Firecracker PR
Rex,

You are off topic. Msg me personally if you want to continue yourdiatribe. Otherwise stick to the topic at hand.

By the way, Nevada makes all their money from gambling. State sanctioned taking of money from people in casinos. The only reason they are banning fantasy sports is because it directly threatens their livelihood where sports betting is a huge cash cow for them. When Nevada bans sports betting, live gambling and prostitution, then come talk to me
Rex Stock
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Rex Stock Entrepreneur
President and CEO at RDS, Incorporated
Mr. Yang, you like to be in control and get edgy when anyone threatens that control you perceive as yours. You end up your weak incorrect statements and demand that I "come talk to" you when you've not earned the right to have me spend anytime with you in person.

You're an absolute fool thinking that sports books are a huge cash cow for Nevada. Sports books, in general, are loss leaders that make very little money for casinos and that's the primary reason most casinos lease out the sport book spaces to betting companies like William Hill. Your knowledge of how the casino industry is deeply flawed and categorically incorrect.

I never was off topic. This whole discussion arose because some poor guy was thinking about jumping into the Fantasy Sports business. I was simply doing my best to warn him that it was a move that had many problems including ones that are legal.

By the way, Nevada does NOT make all of its money from gambling. Far from it.We have many large mining companies in our state, in addition to cattle and agriculture.

Nevada is also one of the leaders in renewable solar power, with more solar power produced per capita than 90% of the United States. Nevada also boasts significant geothermal power output, again, one of the leaders in the United States.

Oh, and if you'd been paying attention, we're also the center of transportation for the West due to our location and lack of inventory taxation. That's why WalMart and Amazon have large distribution centers in Nevada. In Northern Nevada alone WalMart has some 1500 trucks load up and head out to deliver within one day to 11 Western States.

Also, Tesla is opening what they describe as a Gigafactory just a little east of where I live in Reno and Switch is building the world's largest data center in the same industrial park as Tesla, The Tahoe Reno Industrial Park, which just happens to be the world's largest industrial park. The world famous Desert Research Institute calls Reno home and we are also home to the world's largest slot manufacturing company, IGT.

Wait, I'm wrong: they're not the largest, they're the second largest (though based up here in Reno) with Scientific Games in Las Vegas being the largest in the world.

We have one of the top digital agencies right here in Reno, Noble Studios--in the top 5 nationally--going up against like firms in SF, LA, NY, Chicago, etc.

Nevada is also home to extensive research and development on drone and other aerospace technologies. I could add many more high tech manufacturing that is happening right now in the State of Nevada but you're not interested in learning new things--you're interested in trying to show everyone how smart you are and the power you have over others, except me and others who refuse to be bullied by folks like you...

Just as the case with Fantasy Sports, you simply do not know anything about Nevada and what and how we make our money and what we do.

Finally, we don't have any personal income taxes levied against us because of the dollars gaming provides in addition to the additional monies all the other industries bring to our state. The amount coming from gaming has decreased dramatically, and, if we were as you imply, a one trick pony, we'd been bankrupt a long time ago.

Thank goodness we have PR firms who can tell a much better and more accurate story than you can. Be careful with firecrackers--sometimes they go off prematurely and do significant damage.
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