The prediction market consultants who matter -and the others who dont

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Who are the prediction market consultants who took part of the conversation prompted by the publication of the devastating story by The Economist?

Adam Siegel of Inkling Markets

Mat Fogarty of CrowdCast

George Tziralis of AskMarkets

Jed Christiansen of Mercury

Notably absent from the conversation:

– David Perry of Consensus Point

– &#8220-Chief Scientist&#8221- Robin Hanson of Consensus Point

– Emile Servan-Schreiber of NewsFutures

– Chris Hibbert of Zocalo

– The HSX people

– The academic canaries who are over-quoted by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal

Taking all this into account, I am updating my &#8220-Consultants&#8221- listing published at CFM. I am putting the consultants who participate in web conversations ahead of the others, and in bold, so as to signal to my numerous readers who they should contact first &#8212-should they have any inquiry about enterprise prediction markets. And I will consider doing the same for the other Midas Oracle listings.

Starting today, there will be retaliations of measured and graduated amplitude against any prediction market people or prediction market company who snobs the important conversations about prediction markets &#8212-which take place on Midas Oracle or elsewhere.

You can&#8217-t be bragging everywhere that you are a &#8220-prediction market expert&#8221- and be absent from important conversations. If you don&#8217-t converse with us, then you are not such a good expert &#8212-&#8221-you&#8217-re the weakest link, bye bye.&#8221-

NEXT: It is not about Midas Oracle&#8230- It is about taking part of the conversation about (enterprise) prediction markets on the Web.

Inkling Markets CEO Adam Siegel speaks out on the current state of enterprise prediction markets.

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Adam Siegel:


You are right to question this stuff. There is a lot of bullshit out there and frankly I cringe when I see articles or statements about the “accuracy” of markets because it hurts everyone in the long run. It’s why we’ve written 3 or 4 times on our blog about what “accuracy” in a marketplace really means – that you can’t just look at 5 or 10 markets and say “we nailed it.” Unfortunately it’s something we have to deal with because the application is called a “prediction” market after all so it’s the first question that naturally comes to mind. That said I wish Chris wouldn’t make blanket statements [*] about “the vendors, e.g. Inkling Markets” getting the use cases all wrong in enterprise prediction markets. Because frankly, for quite some time “accuracy” has been a secondary argument to a number of other advantages we discuss about markets (in fact on the page on our website that describes the value proposition to companies, we don’t even list “accuracy” as a key benefit). This is also an expectation we set with our clients right from the beginning.

Anyways, I made the statement about business increasing year over year based on our own experience/numbers and as Jed mentioned, by looking at the activity of some of our competitors who have made hires, added clients, etc. I also base the statement on the types of professional services companies we are working with/hearing from and our discussions about prediction markets and what they are going to try and do in the future. I don’t think so many would be interested in adding markets to their toolset and expending resources putting together offerings if they didn’t see them as a long term, worthwhile business capability. So for those that agree with Chris that 6 years is enough time to evaluate a new business capability, I’d like to politely disagree. I could be wrong but these things haven’t been used beyond the experimental/pilot stage in companies for more than 2 or 3 years. We’re just at the cusp of understanding what benefits they’re going to bring. We’ve seen some promising trends, we’ve also seen people try to use Inkling for something and it failed miserably. This is just standard lifecycle stuff, especially for a capability that is designed, as I said in my blog post, to bring about more transparency and break down organization barriers.

[*] Adam, it was not a &#8220-statement&#8221-, it was a 2-choice hypothesis.


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

Inkling Markets to The Economist: The trend is up, fellas.

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Inkling Markets:

&#8220-Yet to take off,&#8221- however, does not equate to &#8220-bad idea.&#8221- The facts are that uptake among companies has been increasing year over year, more business schools are covering prediction markets in their curriculum, industry analysts have begun to track progress in the space, and an increasing number of management consulting firms, market research firms, and system integrators are adding prediction markets to their repertoire of services.

Inkling Markets


– How vendors are scuttling the field of enterprise prediction markets —and the prediction market industry, as a whole

– The Economist: The enterprise prediction markets are flopping, big time.

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MBAs on Enterprise Prediction Markets

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Alan H.:

During the class, Adam Siegel, the founder of Inkling Markets, a prediction markets consulting firm, spoke about his experiences. Of the benefits, he said that prediction markets bring clarity around information, prevent political fudging and backstabbing regarding information. Nobody is the whistleblower for challenging optimistic assumptions, rather, &#8220-it&#8217-s the market.&#8221- […]

Given that many executives and managers want to hide their poor performance, I asked Adam about who typically approaches his firm. He responded that he is usually approached by either third parties who have no P&amp-L responsibility, such as strategic planning groups, or forward thinking managers who are sick of bad forecasts being submitted. […]

Read Adam Siegel&#8217-s post about his intervention.

At the contrary, mister Kirtland.

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Contra Alex Kirtland, I believe that the development of play-money prediction exchanges using MSR (like HubDub or AskMarkets), which popularity is now proved, is much more important news than stuff about CFTC-regulated, real-money prediction exchanges (like HedgeStreet or the Cantor Exchange), which popularity is uncertain.

Inkling Markets, HubDub and AskMarkets have been techcrunched &#8212-that has not been the case for HedgeStreet or the Cantor Exchange. Practically, that means a great injection of PageRank, hundreds if not thousands of bookmarks, and plenty of new users. That&#8217-s not what I call being &#8220-overshadowed&#8221-.

Enterprise prediction markets help organizations mitigate risks.

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IT Business Edge – (I love the name of this magazine):

Seeking opinions from a diverse group of employees rather than just the usual decision-makers helps organizations mitigate risk, says Adam Siegel, co-founder and CEO of Inkling, Inc., a provider of prediction market software. “You want as much information as possible upfront so you can react to possible problems,” he says.

Siegel reads the 10K statements of potential clients to help identify their hot-button issues. When they express interest in the markets but wonder what kinds of questions to pose, he suggests establishing markets examining risk factors such as how pricing fluctuations affect the market for a company’s products or how acquisitions may impact the competitive landscape.

A drawback of prediction markets is that they won’t reveal the factors behind the bets. But, says Young, “If a red flag is raised about a particular issue, it’s not hard to go back and investigate” to determine the root causes of problems. “The bigger problem for most companies is they just don’t know what’s going to happen, and the red flag never goes up.”

– Excellent article.

– If you have missed our previous post, see here our little excerpt of the Forrester report.

– Adam Siegel is CEO of Inkling Markets, as you all know. His company website is very interesting to read. If you have never done it, do it right now. The general concept of prediction markets is explained, and they go down and dirty on how to set up your own enterprise prediction markets.

The prediction exchanges that have fully embraced the prediction market approach

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These prediction exchanges present prices as probabilities (expressed in percentages):


– InTrade .NET &#8230- [*] &#8230- would get the full point if they were to switch the label &#8220-price&#8221- for &#8220-probability&#8221- on their charts.

– NewsFutures &#8230- gets half a point. No mention of &#8220-probabilities&#8221- on their charts.

– Inkling Markets &#8230- gets a quarter of a point.

– TradeFair &#8230- gets an honorable mention, but won&#8217-t show its charts to the non-registered public. :(

[*] Which prefigures what InTrade .COM is going to be, soon, if I understood well my Deep Throat&#8217-s tip.

As for the ultra innovative YooPick, is it yet another case of &#8220-do what I say, not what I do&#8220-?&#8230- :-D

APPENDIX: Lance Fortnow is PMA compatible:

UPDATE: See the comments&#8230-

Xpree vs. Inkling Markets

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I am usually very sympathetic to Inkling Markets and Adam Siegel. I think they are the most professional prediction market consultants. However, I am more impressed by the recent Xpree hiring than by the recent Inkling hiring. Leslie Fine is a market design specialist and a fine researcher, who will bring credibility and expertise to Xpree. Very good coup by mister Mat Fogarty. I am very impressed. Wow.

Google PageRank of the main Prediction Market Consultants

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Inking Markets and NewsFutures are graded 6 / 10.

Consensus Point and Xpree are graded 5 / 10.

My great friend David Perry of Consensus Point is making a strategic mistake by insisting on discretion and secrecy.

I told him 10 times.

To no avail.

Pissing in a violin in order to create a symphony would have been more fruitful.

PageRank is important.

One day, we will learn in the Wall Street Journal that a Fortune-500 CEO is fired by the board for a low PageRank.

That will happen one day- you will see.

The Prediction Market Consultants