Bet on It!

Can a stock market of ideas help companies predict the future?

15 min read
Bet on It!
Illustration: Viktor Koen

In August 2004, Todd Proebsting, a researcher in Microsoft’s platform and services division, was approached by a manager in the company’s testing organization who had spent months helping to create a piece of software to be used by other Microsoft programmers. Although it was an internal product, the software still had a rigid development schedule and an official launch date: November 2004, just a few months away.

The manager had heard a talk by Proebsting about something called a prediction market, a sort of stock market for ideas, in which Microsoft employees would in effect place bets on predictions, instead of on racehorses or football teams. A lot was riding on the timely completion of the testing software. “You said that a market could be used to predict schedules,” the manager said. ”I want to know when my team will finish writing the software.”

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5 min read
portrait of older woman in light blue jacket against dark gray background Info for editor if needed:
Sue Brown

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2 min read

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