Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Google's Prediction Markets

Yes, I already did write once today, but I found this article about Google so interesting I needed a second post.

In yesterday's New York Times, Noam Cohen wrote a piece on Google's internal prediction markets. It's an internal futures market where employees can bet "Goobles" on particular outcomes. Goobles can be traded in for prizes. Kind of like at Chunky Cheese.

As Cohen states, they can bet on things like the number of Gmail accounts the company will have by a certain date. Or whether Apple will have an Intel based offering. Very cool!

I was thinking about how we might be able to use a prediction market at the company I work for. One way is to bet on the outcome of a project or product. I think there are a number of us who kind of know whether a project will be successful or not. How do we know? The managers managing the product. The engineers working on it. The past success of similar projects or products.

I'd love to see an internal prediction market. There is a new project management tool being implemented. I'm skeptical on whether it will be successful or not. Thus I'd bet against it and probably make some money (or credits like Goobles). The advantage to the company is, upper management could look at how people are betting and think about canceling the project (or reducing its scope) before we waste too much more time and money.

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