Proliferation of daily fantasy sports games

Brandon Weeden_IMG_8207

Did you capitalize on Brian Hoyer starting for the Cleveland Browns once Brandon Weeden got hurt? Or have you been riding Peyton Manning’s incredible performances so far this season. You might think I’m referring to typical conversations for fantasy football, but with the explosion of daily fantasy sports games, millions of dollars are legally changing hands as websites and now even apps try to capitalize on these games of skill. This has completely changed the landscape of sports betting as players now have the option of risking cash on daily fantasy games as opposed to the traditional method of picking games against the spread. Now with SideDraft being added to the Apple app store we might see the games become even more popular.

The key revolves around the notion that picking lineups in a fantasy game makes these games “skill” games that are not prohibited by various state and federal laws. With the popularity of fantasy football and other sports, these new sites just add the cash element and suddenly we have a new niche exploding around the web. The key difference from a game point of view is that you pick different players each week, so you’re not stuck with a crappy like regular fantasy football if you have a bad draft or have key injuries on your roster.

Most of these games have salary cap of course, so you’ll pay a price for using Manning or someone like Adrian Peterson. The key is finding cheap bargains who can have big games, like Hoyer of course. Even veterans like Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers can help you win, as he’s having a huge year but wasn’t in great demand in typical fantasy leagues.

These games can be just as addicting as regular gambling or regular fantasy football, so the popularity isn’t surprising. I am surprised however that some lawmakers have tried to stop everyone from having so much fun.

  

DoubleTree tries to leverage photos and social media

Check out this interview with DoubleTree Hotels global head John Greenleaf about how DoubleTree is using contests and sharing around photos and videos uploaded by their customers, tied to specific locations.

  

Facebook phone finally announced

Mark Zuckerberg has announced the new Facebook phone as you can see in the video above. The phone will be based on Android but it will be laid out differently with the home page of the phone being devoted to people rather than apps.

Let’s see if this takes off. Not everyone wants the world to see who is on their Facebook “favorites” list on their phone home page. I can see plenty of drama with girlfriends, etc.

  

New York City offers free wi-fi from old phone booths

Here’s a cool idea.

  

Tom Friedman discovers the cloud

Tom Friedman is usually very good at explaining the disruptive influence of new technology and the implications for the global economy, even if he isn’t the first (or second) to notice something.

The latest phase in the I.T. revolution is being driven by the convergence of social media — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Groupon, Zynga — with the proliferation of cheap wireless connectivity and Web-enabled smartphones and “the cloud” — those enormous server farms that hold and constantly update thousands of software applications, which are then downloaded (as if from a cloud) by users on their smartphones, making them into incredibly powerful devices that can perform myriad tasks.

The emergence of the cloud, explained Alan Cohen, a vice president of Nicira, a new networking company, “means than anyone can have the computing resources of Google and rent it by the hour.” This is speeding up everything — innovation, product cycles and competition.

The October issue of Fast Company has an article about the designer Scott Wilson, who thought of grafting the body of an iPod Nano onto colorful wristbands, turning them into watchlike devices that could wake you up and play your music. He had no money, though, to bring his concept to market, so he turned to Kickstarter, the Web-based funding platform for independent creative projects. He posted his idea on Nov. 16, 2010, reported Fast Company, and “within a month, 13,500 people from 50 countries had ponied up nearly $1 million.” Apple soon picked up the product for its stores. Said Alexis Ringwald, 28, who recently founded an education start-up, her second Silicon Valley venture: “I have many friends — they introduce themselves as ‘reformed’ Wall St. bankers and lawyers — who have abandoned conventional careers and are now launching start-ups.”

Some like Rich Kaarlgard have been describing this as the “cheap revolution” for years. Friedman is explaining the new developments in that area. We now have it all at our fingertips all the time. It’s a powerful and exciting development. Kickstarter is a great crowdsourcing example that thrives in this environment.

Friedman uses the column to contrast Wall Street and Silicon Valley. It’s a good read.

  

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