Thursday, July 02, 2015

I, Benthinkin

When I joined Inkling Markets in Sep 2014, I started forecasting on our public-facing forecasting site.  I already had some experience using prediction markets, having been actively involved with SciCast and its predecessor DAGGRE, and was determined to show my new employer that in addition to being a pretty decent software developer, I could forecast with the best of them. 

The challenge was daunting—Inkling users start with five thousand Inkles (our nominal currency) while the top forecasters have accrued hundreds of millions (in one case billions).  To reach the top ten, I would need to double my score more than thirteen times.  It was time to get to work.

One big difference between Inkling and my previous experiences is that I had some relevant domain experience.  Whereas SciCast focused on science and technology—areas where I have only limited knowledge—Inkling includes questions about sports and politics, where I’m much more comfortable.  Rather than relying entirely on technical forecasting tricks I’d developed and original research and analysis, I could often confidently place bets about future events by drawing insights from my understanding of how sports and politics work.

In future posts I’ll provide a detailed look at how I designed, implemented and refined my strategy.  I’ll share tips and tricks, and more importantly how I think about prediction market questions.  I’ll talk about why I love prediction markets, what I get from them, and why you should get involved.  I’ll explore industries / businesses that benefit from greater use of prediction markets (spoiler alert: all of them).  And I’ll discuss the administration of prediction markets: how to pose questions to yield the best possible results, how to keep users happy, etc.

As for my progress forecasting on Inkling, I haven’t reached the top ten (yet), but I am in the top twenty.  In ten months, I've doubled my score only eleven times, for a score of roughly 11 million Inkles.  This is, I believe, a record for Inkling; I can’t find another user who reached 10 million Inkles within a year of joining the site, and only two cracked 5 million.  As I continue to forecast on Inkling Markets, and work with prediction markets, I look forward to writing about my adventures.

Ben Golden is a software developer, economist, and evangelist for Inkling Markets.  You can find him on Inkling Markets as benthinkin, and on Twitter, @BenGoldN.

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