Another New Thing

Why I decided to start In the Aggregate, and what to expect

So what is In the Aggregate?

I decided to start In the Aggregate as a way to attack all of my goals, and create something simple that I can be proud of. All of my fantasy/betting content will be housed here, but so will anything else that I want to write. Life stories, political takes, opinions on world events. This is my outlet to #WriteWhateverIWant – an aggregation of all my thoughts. It is going to be authentic, and it is going to be me.

I am not going to put out a formal content schedule. Pretty much, I will write whenever I have the time, while trying to make the posts as interesting as possible. The highest-volume time of the year for me is typically the-offseason. Draft and season-long content is definitely where I excel. In-season, I think ultimately I’d like to create some apps and other interesting content that is useful, and not limited to a seven day window. I really want to grow in my coding abilities, and become a better writer.

It is also important for me to point out that this will not be a touting service. I am presenting my opinions and research, but do not claim to be an expert on anything. If I post about players I like, I will look to give the best reasoning possible for those opinions. If I post about bets that I like, it is just because I think betting is #fun, and find value in letting others come along for the ride. 

How much is a subscription, and what does it get you?

My initial plan is to put all of the fantasy/betting-type of stuff behind the paywall, but leave any other posts in front. Presumably nobody wants to pay to read my random thoughts and musings, and I like keeping those kinds of things available to the general public. If you are on the fence about signing up, join the mailing list on a free plan and get to know me a little better!

Here are the subscription options for those looking to join at the paid level:

Monthly - $5

Yearly - $45 (25% off)

Founding Member - Greater than $45 (at user’s discretion)

The monthly and yearly subscription options are fairly straight-forward. For those looking to join as a founding member, I will also schedule a 30-minute fantasy coaching session with you on your topic of choice. 

Here are examples of the kinds of content you would expect to see behind the paywall:

And this is what free posts may look like:

  • My Battle With Anxiety

  • Easy Germ Avoidance Tips

  • +EV Decisions in Everyday Life

  • Teaching During a Pandemic

  • Coaching Anecdotes

I am excited to get started on this journey, and hope that you will come with me! I’ve written a little bit about what has led me to this decision below. 

The Journey So Far

I’ve had the opportunity to work for so many great places over the past eight years (apologies if I’m forgetting someone):

  • No Coast Bias

  • RotoViz

  • Fantasy Insiders

  • TwoQBs

  • numberFire

  • Draft Day Consultants

  • The Action Network

  • RosterCoach

  • 4for4

  • RotoCurve

  • SportsGrid

  • DraftKings

  • FTN

But while I’ve been able to work for and with so many great people, I’ve had a tough time finding that exact right fit. There have been a lot of announcements come and gone on my timeline, and a lot of moving around trying to find exactly what it is I want. I want to thank anyone who has ever given me a chance to post or contribute to their site in any way.

For a while, I was treating my time in this space like a hobby that I’d like to one day turn into a job. I even accepted a full-time offer to work for a DFS company, but right before I quit my job teaching, I received a phone call that the funding for the position I had just agreed to take may no longer exist. That was a pretty serious wake-up call for me in terms of my expectations in the industry, and I lost a lot of faith in the goal I once had held to pretty tightly. 

It turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise. I turned my focus more towards my career as a teacher, and have fallen in love with it more than ever before. Working with young people – being a part of their lives, motivating them, seeing their growth – is a passion that I don’t think I could possibly trade away. I like to think that I am able to impact society positively in this role, and it would be strange to go from doing this to something that really only benefits myself.

Teaching also provides me with a great deal of security, which I have been reminded of constantly over the past few months with everything going on with COVID-19. There are ups and downs teaching, as with every profession, but I am truly blessed to be able to do what I do.

This is a roundabout way of saying that my personal goals in fantasy sports and betting have changed greatly. I would like to make it the greatest side hustle in the world, but it will likely never be more than that (and that’s okay!). 

A Personal Content Plan

Having done this now for a while, and seeing it done in so many different ways, I’ve been able to learn a lot about myself as it pertains to fantasy. Here are some things I’ve realized about myself when it comes to content and the fantasy space.

My schedule needs to be flexible

This is a corollary to establishing my work in this space as a side hustle. The times I have enjoyed producing content the least is when I have to squeeze it into my schedule out of obligation, at which point it becomes stressful. I’m a full-time educator who coaches the most demanding sport out there (football), and may be coaching others in the future. Time is not always something that I have.

As a result, my writing/research schedule has to be flexible. Hard deadlines are not always going to work for me, especially during the fall when I am most busy. Certainly this does not mean I’d like to be negligent to my work, but the best content is going to come when it has the opportunity to flourish, not be hastily put together to meet a deadline. 

In-season monotony is the worst

Anyone who has produced in-season content knows what kind of grind it can be. It is even more of a grind when the pieces are not particularly interesting, just part of a standard content schedule that most sites produce. 

This loops in with time constraints also. If I am limited on time, and using most of that time doing relatively boring work, that makes it difficult to stay interested, and limits my growth as an analyst. There becomes no real opportunity to improve. Certainly, any in-season content needs to be interesting and intellectually stimulating to be worthwhile. 

Big work environments/companies aren't for me

When I was looking at colleges to attend, Cornell was on my list of schools to see. I, of course, knew nothing about it outside of the fact that it was an Ivy, so it made sense to check out. 

We didn’t even get out of the car. The campus was bigger than I could have ever envisioned. Truly, it was a city all to itself, and way too big for me. That was not the kind of environment I wanted. 

The same applies for fantasy. I don’t want to work for a major company, especially if it is as just another cog in the wheel. My plan for now is to just work for myself for a bit, but if I ever returned to more mainstream site content, I would much prefer it be as part of a small, intimate team than a big one. 

I love doing research

Research projects are perhaps the most interesting thing to me in this space. Anyone who has been following me for a while knows that I love NFL Draft content. The time and research spent in that area is a load of fun, but generally any project that could create some evergreen concepts and idea is going to be more valuable to me than “three GPP plays to win in Week 7” or something. 

This is a bit of a corollary to the in-season monotony. There is no time for interesting in-season research projects if I’m spending all of my time on pieces with three days of shelf-life. 

I want to have growth potential

While I plan on continuing my work on a part-time basis, I would still like for it to have growth potential. While receiving some flat rate per article is somewhat satisfying in the moment, it leaves me feeling empty going forward. We all grind, but isn’t a goal for everyone to one day not have to? Or to do it less? I’d like to be a part of something that will be gaining value as time goes on.

This is something that is obviously difficult to obtain when working for someone other than yourself. 

I want to be myself

I have always prided myself in being transparent and being myself, be it online or in my actual life. That becomes difficult at times when working for others. The things that you say or do can be seen as detrimental to the image of the company you work for. In particular, political content is usually met with a good bit of backlash.

I think it is really important that people who read my work know who I am, and what I believe on a variety of topics. There are obviously plenty of folks who disagree with this concept, and want sports analysts to stick to the topics they are paid to cover. I have realized that I will never be that person. If you read me, you get all of me. 

I want to support good content/people

Another issue that can occur in a competitive space is that supporting others can be seen as supporting the competition if they aren’t employed by the same company you are. I’ve always been clear on this: I will always support good work. Retweeting, liking, and engaging with good content should never be about who someone works for. I know that for me, I would never be where I am today (wherever that is) if it weren’t for some amazing people really supporting what I do. It’s important to pay that forward. 

I also believe that supporting a competitor is likely good for the industry at large. Yes, everyone wants to capture as much of the market as possible, but good work brings more people into the market. A rising tide lifts all boats. It is important to support good work for the betterment of the overall fantasy ecosystem.