Opacity versus Openness

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There is much lying going on in the field of EPM software vendors.

– They lie about the people they hire &#8212-many of the new employees are in fact part-time (at best).

– They lie about their customers &#8212-some of the names you see on their &#8220-clients&#8221- webpages are in fact companies that have abandoned the experiment long ago. By keeping old customers in their listing and adding some brand-new prospects, they create artificially a cumulative effect so as to impress the gullible prospects that they try to hook up at those pitiful $400-a-seat vendor conferences.

– They lie about the benefits of prediction markets. Since (enterprise) prediction markets are just information aggregation mechanisms that can&#8217-t reach omniscience by essence, the only value of (E)PMs comes from the weaknesses of the competitive forecasting tools. Those weaknesses are not that numerous &#8212-hence, the applications of (E)PMs are probably limited.

– They lie about the successes that their customers got. There isn&#8217-t a single detailed business case published about EPMs.

– They lie about the real age of the prediction markets &#8212-they make it like PMs are in childhood, whereas the reality check is that PMs are in adulthood. The first batch of contemporary PMs popped up in 1988 &#8212-that&#8217-s 21 years ago, folks. The starting point of the PM hype was in 2003&#8211-2004 &#8212-that&#8217-s 6 years ago, now. It is not true to say that (E)PMs are a novelty. By now, we should be able to pause, assess their benefits, and tell the world where exactly they can make an impact (if any).

Because the lying is still going on, I have decided to downgrade the prediction market people and the prediction market organizations who are opaque &#8212-and to upgrade the ones who are open. I hope that my tougher stance will incite everyone to be more truthful.


An uncertain future – A novel way of generating forecasts has yet to take off. – by The Economist – 2009-02-26

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