Bloomberg Front Office Discontinued?

According to various users of FantasySP, it appears that the Bloomberg Front Office product is no longer offered to consumers.

One user emails me:

I don’t think Bloomberg sent out an email about FO (at least I didn’t get one), but I contacted them when it was getting close to the season and nothing showed up on their site.  They wrote back that it had been discontinued but offered no explanation.

If you know more about the decision to discontinue the Front Office product, then please comment below or email me.

It seems as though Bloomberg now focuses on draft related tools instead of in-season management.  Since when are draft tools more important than in-season team management?

In any case, I encourage all Bloomberg Front Office users to switch to the Fantasy Assistant.  A free seven day trial is available for all new users.

The Fantasy Assistant provides a multitude of features including:

  • High Risk and Low Risk waiver wire suggestions.
  • Category based waiver wire suggestions (perfect for roto leagues)
  • Position based team analysis.
  • Daily team ratings and rankings with charts.
  • Player based analysis and stats.
  • Player news from hundreds of sources.
  • And lots more!
Google rant

Your idea of privacy is dead

I hear a lot about privacy these days.  More often than not, it’s about Facebook or Google and their disregard of privacy.  I think part of the problem is that privacy means different things to different people.

I know for a fact that how I view privacy online is different than other people.  I accept that the internet is changing rapidly and the idea of privacy that existed are long gone.  Online handles are a thing of the past (though there are still exceptions, hi Reddit).

I hear things like…

Ditch Google and use DuckDuckGo because they don’t track users.  Don’t use gmail because they read your email.  Ditch Facebook because Zuckerberg said privacy is dead.

In fact, the most recent knock against them is that Facebook Home can take over your phone and offers all kinds of potential privacy violations.  Reading that story led me to write this blog post.

Let’s face facts here.  The modern web and your personal data are intertwined.  There is no going back.

When Google announced their unified privacy, it was actually a great leap forward.  Those people who complained four years ago that Google was reading their email love Google Now.

Gmail will see that you booked plane tickets or had a packaged shipped and will personalize your Google Now experience.  This was not possible five years ago.  Google Glass was not even possible a year ago.

Will these companies use this data to show advertisements and make money?  Yes, of course.  As it turns out, they are companies that need to make a profit.

A privacy breach will happen time to time with the modern web.  I expect the modern web to be responsible and use SSL and OAuth to securely share my data.  When they are careless and screw things up then they deserve the bad press.  But a story about Facebook Home saying that it “destroys any notion of privacy” is complete and utter bullshit.

I’m not saying that I want to sign up for a service with my email address and phone number and they can turn around and sell this information to a third party.  I don’t want them to publish my phone number without my consent.  Those are violations of my privacy and not something I would agree to.

However, if I sign up for Facebook and they decide to use the fact that I liked ESPN in a personal advertisement, then so be it.  I understand the tradeoffs of the modern web.

I find it funny that we get bombarded with credit card offers and flyers from ten different companies in the mail and no one seems to mind.  We accept those privacy violations offline, even though they offer us nothing in return.  Yet companies online who are innovating and using private data in new ways get so much grief.

No one said you had to join Facebook, use Google, or Twitter.  If you want to pretend its 2002, then that’s fine.  The rest of us are moving forward.  We don’t need you to come along.

This is progress people.  Sit back, relax, and stop your whining.






The Cost of Running a Startup can get out of control

We all love talking about the services out there to make running a startup easier.   Something like monitoring your applications performance or managing newsletters would fit the bill.

For the average well funded startup, paying for additional services is not a big deal.  To the bootstrapped startup, it is an extremely important decision.

Just to name a few:

  • NewRelic – realistic price: $150 per month.
  • SendGrid – realistic price: $9.95 or $79.95.
  • MixPanel – realistic price: $150.

Right off the bat we are talking an additional $310-$369 per month.

There are plenty of other nice services to have like UserVoice ($20) or Basecamp ($30).

You’re going to want to have a CDN too, don’t you think? MaxCDN ($39.95) might be an additional bill.  You’ll also need a place to host your code, so in all likelihood GitHub ($7 or $25) will be an additional bill.

How are small bootstrapped startups supposed to maximize their potential without blowing their budget on these additional services?

Research and use the bare minimum of what you need to get by.  Email each website to see if they have some type of discount for a tiny startup.

NewRelic, or any similar service, is a must to squeeze the most out of your hardware stack. It’s a great company that will actually work with you on the price if you are a tiny start-up.  SendGrid is overpriced in my opinion, so use Mailjet or Amazon SES to get the most bang for your buck.

In fact, a good rule of thumb is to check to see if Amazon offers the service that you need.  They tend to be the least expensive in just about every category, whether it be mail or CDNs or DNS.

MixPanel is also overpriced (sorry, don’t hate me), use something like Clicky instead or just stick with Google Analytics for the time being.

Do NOT spend more money on additional startup services than your hosting bill.  If you are, then you’re doing it wrong.  If your hosting bill is more than $250 a month and you have less than 1,000,000 pageviews per month, then you are doing it wrong.  If you don’t know what your monthly expenses are, then you are doing it wrong.

Big startups don’t have to worry about things like this, but the little guys do.  Make smart, well researched decisions and you should be able to get most of what you want for under $500 per month.

I run a fantasy sports company called FantasySP and my monthly bill for core hosting + github + newrelic + mailjet + CDN + clicky + rackspace cloud is approximately $304.