This is a Quotation
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
— Charles Darwin
It’s Just Another Day
I’m a fairly logical person. I tend not to be emotional about almost everything because my sense/belief is that emotions rarely help people be better at almost anything.
At the same time, I’m a nostalgic person. I care about little, but when I care I do so as deeply as I can.
My sophomore year of high school, a girlfriend broke up with me because I didn’t remember that it was our one-month anniversary. She thought that my failure to remember was a sign that I didn’t care about the relationship.
- The phrase “one-month anniversary” is perhaps the most ridiculous in the English language.
- She was right: I didn’t care about the relationship.
But I still remember a slew of significant calendar dates for other relationships — those that ultimately mattered to me. For instance, even though it happened over 10 years ago I remember the date when I discovered that my officemate’s favorite movie was Annie Hall. That was the date I knew I wanted to marry (or at least go out with) the woman who would become my wife.
If you value something, it tends to stick with you.
All of this is to say that today (January 18th, 2017) marks the one-year anniversary of my first day at FantasyLabs.
My relationship with FantasyLabs is something I value.
Also, as fate (or my schedule) would have it, this is the 100th Labyrinthian. I would say that it’s just a coincidence that these two milestones have aligned, but . . .
Mycroft: Oh, Sherlock. What do we say about coincidence?
Sherlock: The universe is rarely so lazy.
. . . I tend not to believe in the concept of coincidence.
Family a Team
I love the guys who work for this company. I mean, I don’t actually ‘love’ them — because I’ve met most of them only once — it’s not like I’d take a bullet for any of them — but I’m not inclined to take a bullet for anyone — because I’m an *sshole.
But what I love about them is that they all work their *sses off each day. They’re inspiring. It’s easier to work hard when I know that everyone else in the company is also grinding.
In that regard, FantasyLabs is similar to a professional sports team. Not only are we all world-class athletes . . .
Results are an utter slap in the face. I’m racing a dude who’s literally sponsored by GrubHub & eats double-digit breakfast sands per week. https://t.co/L3nDeIT3EF
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) January 17, 2017
. . . but we also know that every day each one of us needs to prove himself, be his best, earn his roster spot, and deliver the clichés. And you’re d*mn right I put the accent over the “e” — because at FantasyLabs “above and beyond” isn’t just a saying. It’s also another cliché.
Like the professional athletes around whom our industry is built — except for Pierre Garcon; f*ck that guy — the members of this team work hard for each other.
And we also work hard for our ‘fans’: Our readers, users, and subscribers. (By the way, right now we have a limited-time offer on monthly memberships.) We’re fortunate to have an amazing community of DFS players who support, rely on, and trust us.
Every week I get tweets and emails from smart and hard-working readers who offer ideas and feedback. I’m constantly motivated and energized by the examples they set. They think, and they grind. They win, and they lose. They analyze and strategize, and then they grind again and again. They are the grindstone. They — not FanDuel, DraftKings, and all the other platforms — are the DFS industry.
I don’t mind being critical, but I don’t want to be hypocritical, and it would be the height of hypocrisy for us not to do our best every day — not to grind on our content every single day — when the people who consume our content grind their DFS contests as hard as they can.
Thank you for reading and grinding and being yourselves. For me, you help make FantasyLabs what it is.
A Year in the Life of a Daily Fantasy Sports Writer
So I have a few reasons for loving FantasyLabs — and especially my job. If I’m being honest/selfish, what I love most about it is that I get to write.
And I get to write about something I care about: Fantasy sports.
It’s a privilege to have this job. I am immensely fortunate. I know that. I get to do something I love — and I’m not talking about staying at home in my pajamas all day — although I love that too, and that’s definitely a part of the job.
I get to write.
Of course, this privilege comes with responsibility: I need to write. My job requires me to write.
During my first week at FantasyLabs I wrote two pieces — one on Larry Fitzgerald‘s postseason production against the Eagles (remember that?!) and one on the process of building unique tournament lineups — and they weren’t bad pieces, but after those I had no idea what to write next.
So I did what came naturally — what I’m doing right now, in fact: I just started writing. The result was the first installment of The Labyrinthian.
Labyrinthian 3 was on the Art of War and the besetting sins of a DFS general. Labyrinthian 5 was on the pharmaceutical practice of ‘shotgunning.’ Labyrinthian 6 was on outliers. Labyrinthian 7 was on the inverted yield curve. Labyrinthian 8 was on the Asch conformity test. Labyrinthian 11 was on value investing. I was all over the place. (I still am, but at least now we’re used to it.)
For the first month or so of the series, I felt as if I were finding my way. I didn’t feel truly in control of the journey till Labyrinthian 13 and Labyrinthian 14:
Almost a year later, I still think those two pieces are among the best I’ve written at FantasyLabs.
Since then, The Labyrinthian has touched on . . .
• Strong Inference
• Selection Bias
• Woody Allen
• The Monty Hall Problem
• The Doomsday Vault
• Covered Calls
• P/E Ratios
• Inductive Reasoning
• Shakespeare’s Two Clowns
• The Anxiety of Influence
• New Historicism
• The Missing Dollar Riddle
• Chaos Theory
• Compounding Mistakes
• The Dominance of Charlize Theron
• Gray Swans
• Dual Eligibility
• The Bayesian Prior (Unfortunately)
• Asset Allocation
• Thresholds and Balance
• The DFS-Poker Analogy
• The Periphery
• Mean Reversion
. . . and lots of other random topics. The series has basically been a reflection of the thoughts circulating through my brain over the last 12 months.
The First Step Remembered
In the first piece of the series, I distinguished between a labyrinth and a maze:
A labyrinth is a single path that winds back and forth upon itself to form a circle, with the path leading ultimately and unambiguously to the center of that circle. To be clear — although the words “labyrinth” and “maze” are sometimes used interchangeably, a labyrinth is not a maze, at least as the two are understood now.
A maze is complex and overwhelms with options. A labyrinth is simple and offers only two options: Forward or backward. A maze is multicursal. A labyrinth, unicursal. A maze is designed so that one might lose one’s way. A labyrinth is designed so that one might lose oneself along the way. A maze is often a source of frustration. A labyrinth, elucidation. A maze, chaotic. A labyrinth, therapeutic. A maze, dangerous. A labyrinth, ameliorative.
The distinction between maze and labyrinth is still important. The wanderer — the reader — wishes to escape from the maze but into and through the labyrinth.
The Center of the Labyrinth
Although I can be straightforward when needed, I tend intuitively to write in a roundabout style. I don’t march forward like a soldier. I wind my way back and forth like a serpent.
While each piece in the series — like any step in a journey — has its own purpose, The Labyrinthian as a whole is less a collection of individual thoughts and more an impressionistic exploration on the act (or art) of thinking.
My writing is labyrinthine because the world is a labyrinth.
I am — you are — DFS is — nothing but a labyrinth.
We’ve walked along the curves of non-DFS subjects because one never knows precisely where the center of the labyrinth lies until one has walked the entire circle.
I don’t know where I’m ultimately headed, but I know I haven’t reached the center yet. More circle remains.
Thanks for accompanying me on this journey over the last year. Let’s keep walking this labyrinth together.
The center is always just one step away from being one step closer.
The Labyrinthian: 2017.5, 100
This is the 100th installment of The Labyrinthian, a series dedicated to exploring random fields of knowledge in order to give you unordinary theoretical, philosophical, strategic, and/or often rambling guidance on daily fantasy sports. Consult the introductory piece to the series for further explanation. Previous installments of The Labyrinthian can be accessed via my author page.