Let the Prediction Market give you that next great business idea

31 Jan 2006

Joel Welsh

Joel Welsh, Chief Community Officer, is also the CEO of a new startup company ... Showcase U. Joel shares behind the scenes key decisions being made in the "Birth of a Startup" and knocks it out of the park to provide his own entrepreneurial wisdom.

Latest posts by Joel Welsh (see all)

Chuck, the StartupNation Online Marketing Director is ahead of me by 120 spots in the standings. Our COO John has joined the game but not yet made his predictions. I think he’s afraid that Chuck and I will blow him away. I’m not pleased with my performance so far but we just started “investing” last Friday and I’m still getting my market sea legs. What am I talking about? The Yahoo! Research Tech Buzz Game.

You get a “virtual” $10,000 to invest and you predict the technologies that people will be searching the web for in the future. It’s a form of prediction market and although the Yahoo! search market is a game, many people take this very seriously as a way to predict future happenings. It’s been around a long time too. Way before political polls became popular people used to actually bet real money on who would win presidential elections in formal markets that existed on Wall Street in the months leading up to elections prior to the 1940s.

If you’re looking for that next great business idea, why not let the trends that the masses are predicting be your guide? After all, entrepreneurs are always trying to catch lightning in a bottle and if you can be the first mover in a particular market space you will gain a competitive advantage that could propel your new startup business idea to success.

I spread my virtual $10K over seven technologies and so far I’m taking a beating on XM Radio in the Satellite Radio market category and IRiver in the portable Media market. My only winner to date is Podcasting in the Internet Radio market, but I did receive a nice dividend for my investment in Yahoo! Music.

Chuck has invested more heavily in Microsoft products and so far it’s paying off for him. (Check out Chuck’s new blog here at StartupNation starting tomorrow. He’s bursting at the seams to share his insights into the world of online marketing.)

John? Well, I’m not convinced he’ll ever let us know what he chooses to invest in – unless of course he finds himself ahead of us in the standings.

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