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Volume 25 No. 62
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A Day In The Life: Drone Racing League's Nicholas Horbaczewski

There is rarely a day when Drone Racing League CEO & Founder NICHOLAS HORBACZEWSKI isn't trekking across the country to S.F. or visiting a client overseas. But when at home in N.Y., he can be found getting an early-morning workout in with Take-Two Interactive CEO STRAUSS ZELNICK or grabbing a drink at Birch Coffee in the Flatiron district. Horbaczewski caught up with THE DAILY to walk us through his typical work day and offer an update on what lies ahead for the DRL.

5:00am: I start the day by catching up on email. DRL has events and partners all over the world, so 5:00am for us is the middle of the day in Europe. We have distributors across the Middle East and Asia, so you never know what's coming. I'm not a big morning eater.

6:00am: I try and make TheProgram NYC. It's a workout group that was started by STRAUSS ZELNICK. Strauss is a DRL investor and a mentor of mine, and he was named the fittest CEO in America. It motivates you to get out of bed. The program is held at different places all over the city. Sometimes it's a cardio workout, lifting or spinning.

8:00am: I'll go back home, shower and get ready. I like to try and have coffee with a member of the team when I can. There's a great little spot a block from our office called Birch Coffee. We've increased in size rapidly, so that's an opportunity for me to keep in touch with our people and really know what's going on.

9:00am: I might start the first couple hours of the day meeting with our partners, sponsors or broadcasters. We'll meet with ESPN, Sky Sports in the U.K. We'll also work with a partner, maybe someone like Swatch. We produced a whole campaign with them called "Time to Fly."

Horbaczewski is not on the level of competitive drone racers, but still enjoys practicing the craft
Photo: DRONE RACING LEAGUE

Noon: I always block out some time to look at our technology and meet with that team. The core of what DRL does is based on technology, so all the technology you see in the league, from the drones to the radio systems to even the timing and scoring system is all stuff we built in-house. It's really important for me to stay in touch with what we're doing there, what's coming next and how we can make smart choices about our time. We're already talking about the advanced drone that we're going to launch next season.

1:30pm: I usually just bring lunch back to my desk, either from a deli close by or a salad from Sweetgreen. I'll catch up on emails while I eat, and if I'm lucky and it's a good day, I'll fire up the DRL simulator, which is our video game that we launched that teaches people how to race drones. I'll try to get a little bit of practice time in on the stick. I am so far from being a competitive-level drone racer, but I really enjoy it.

2:00pm: Today we're having some operational planning meetings for what we're doing in the '19 season. We're producing all of our events in-house, so we're looking at our season, we're planning out what races we're going to have and where. We can do races in these really cool, unique, iconic locations. We've done races anywhere from an abandoned mall to a palace outside of London.

3:00pm: We'll do a series of internal meetings with top executives to just check in and see what's going on in everyone's world. We often use a format of a top eight, where we get people to talk about the top eight things they've got their mind on. We'll have close to 12 people in there. I also like to save a little time every day to review content. So I'll watch shows that are going to be broadcast later in the week, I'll look at social content.

5:00pm: I often set aside time to do investor calls. We have an incredibly diverse set of investors that range from traditional venture firms like RSE to strategic folks like Sky Sports and WWE. One of my rules is when someone invests, I'm going to pick up the phone and call them once a week or once every other week to see how they can help move our business forward.

6:00pm: Normally I'm dashing out the door and heading to the airport. Most of my flights are out of JFK because I'm either going west, to Europe, the Middle East or even further. I'm a very loyal Delta flyer. I know every square inch of the Delta lounge at JFK. If I'm catching a late flight, I'll check in with our team in China since that's around the start of their day.

7:00pm: If I'm staying in the city, my wonderful girlfriend RACHEL and I will look hard to find something to do. ABC Cocina is a restaurant I love; the food there is amazing. Tonight, there's an organization in Brooklyn called the Secret Science Club that puts on these science-oriented lectures. I love to go to the N.Y. Times' "Times Talks" whenever I can. If it's a Friday night, I'm a member of an organization called the Explorers Club. They have a clubhouse on the Upper East Side and on Fridays they'll open it up for drinks and conversation and sometimes slideshows about peoples' exploration activities.

10:00-11:00pm: Most of my content consumption comes through Netflix or Amazon. I love "GAME OF THRONES" and "SILICON VALLEY." If you're in the VC world it's fun to see someone poking fun at that. I try and do a little reading before bed -- I've tried to bring that back into my routine.

Know of someone who should be featured in "A Day in the Life"? Send a note to jcarpenter@sportsbusinessdaily.com.