Cultivate Labs Blog

Discussing how prediction markets, internal crowdfunding, and other new workplace trends can be used to improve the #futureofwork

By Ben Golden on Dec 04, 2015

Getting Started With Prediction Markets

Joining a prediction market can be confusing and anxiety-inducing. It's easy to be overwhelmed by all the questions, to not understand the forecasting interface, or to have trouble forming opinions to base forecasts on. All of this is pretty natural--as a now-experienced forecaster, I can remember these feelings the first time I joined a prediction market. In this post I'll address a few specific emotional barriers that make it difficult to start forecasting.

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By Ben Golden on Nov 23, 2015

Demystifying Unicorns Through Prediction Markets

On a recent podcast, Jack Schultz and I discussed two razor companies that are poised to become unicorn companies. Unicorns--startups that grow to billion-dollar valuations while remaining private--are somewhat mysterious and the subject of continuous speculation.

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By Ben Golden on Nov 16, 2015

Predict Daily Fantasy Football Leaders on SportsCast

One use of prediction markets I've been really excited about is forecasting individual players' performances in major sports. These predictions are incredibly useful when playing fantasy sports--both daily fantasy and season-long leagues--and the forecasts that currently exist tend to be, in my experience, pretty mediocre. Prediction markets present an opportunity for the wisdom of the crowds to intervene, and will likely lead to more accurate forecasts.

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By Ben Golden on Oct 27, 2015

What Is A Prediction? What Is Crazy? Markets Can Help

Over at Grantland, Zach Lowe has published an article featuring 35 crazy prediction for the upcoming NBA season. Writes Lowe: For this to be fun, we have to find the sweet spot between bat-crap crazy and probable. Let’s all be wrong together!

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By Ben Golden on Oct 13, 2015

Prediction Markets In A World Hostile To Gambling

Two key take-aways from the emerging scandal surrounding Daily Fantasy sites: one, gambling data can be extremely valuable, and two: the only thing Americans love more than gambling is hating on gambling. Taken together, these findings illustrate why large-scale prediction markets present a path towards improving human knowledge in a wide range of topics.

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By Jess Price on Oct 06, 2015

VC's should be doing this

Amongst the leadership teams of the portfolio companies at any medium to large investment firm, there is an incredible amount of experience, wisdom, and perspective that is not collectively being taken advantage of.

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By Ben Golden on Oct 05, 2015

Your Competitors Are Predictable

We recently started working with a Houston-based client in the Energy sector, who wanted to use a prediction market to help with internal operations, and to create greater transparency and communication within their company. We spent a couple months meeting with our client to learn about their business and objectives, and using test questions (e.g. asking about Houston sports teams) to help participants understand how prediction markets work. Our initial questions focused on specific operations

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By Vanessa Pineda on Oct 05, 2015

There's No Driving With a Dead Engine:  The Importance of Project Sponsorship

Have you ever been tasked with driving a project you’ve felt was going nowhere? Maybe you were a project manager or project owner, coordinating a team that was working on something you felt wasn’t gaining traction within the organization.

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By Ben Golden on Oct 02, 2015

Prediction Market Failure

Effective prediction markets require a certain amount of liquidity--meaning that after users invest points in making a forecast, and while the question is still running, they need a way to exit their investment.

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By Cultivate Labs on Oct 01, 2015

Superforecasting -- Everything has a base rate

Basically, we want to find the base rate of similar events occurring, and then adjusting that percentage by taking into account the differences between this event and the similar ones.

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By Ben Golden on Sep 28, 2015

Does TruthCoin Solve A Problem?

I've been following the development of TruthCoin, a platform for decentralized prediction markets, for a while now. Prediction markets at their core are about crowdsourcing forecasts. At Cultivate Labs, we've also built a platform to crowdsource question authorship. TruthCoin goes one step further and crowdsources question resolution.

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By Ben Golden on Sep 21, 2015

Forecasting Atrocities

Holly Ramer has a piece up at the Washington Post about our work with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to identify risks of mass violence in different countries:

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By Ben Golden on Sep 14, 2015

Evaluating Accuracy Effect By Percentile

In my last post analyzing my own forecasting history on Inkling Markets, I showed that I was consistently identifying long-shot bets that were more likely to pay off than their existing probability would suggest. In this post, I'll look at how my forecasts improve the accuracy of these markets, calculating how many the change in component Brier score within different percentiles.

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By Ben Golden on Sep 11, 2015

Evaluating User Forecasts By Percentile

To analyze forecasts' accuracy, I looked specifically at forecasts that crossed percentile thresholds, and then examined how often the result being forecast actually occurred.

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By Ben Golden on Sep 09, 2015

Usually Wrong Can Be Right

We're developing some new tools to analyze forecasters' performance, biases, and ways to help them improve, and I've been digging into my own forecasting history on Inkling. I've focused on a set of 3,343 forecasts I've made in questions that use an LMSR algorithm and have already resolved. The first interesting finding is that most of my forecasts have been wrong.

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By Ben Golden on Aug 31, 2015

What Ashley Madison Can Teach About Prediction Markets

(You know, besides how to cheat...)The recent hack of Ashley Madison--a dating service marketed towards married people--revealed that almost no women were actively using the site. Rather, the site's almost entirely male userbase was paying to interact with non-existent, fake, or inactive female accounts.

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By Ben Golden on Aug 20, 2015

Gaming Prediction Markets

Prediction markets are generally very good at generating accurate forecasts, but a key secondary challenge is to determine which forecasters are contributing most to forecast accuracy. User scores are closely linked to their accuracy because the underlying market mechanism rewards users when they move a forecast closer to its actual result and penalizes them when they move the forecast away from the result.

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By Ben Roesch on Aug 16, 2015

Crowdsourced Forecasting & Why it's the Best Forecasting Tool Around

What is Crowdsourced Forecasting and Why is it the Best Forecasting Tool Around? Francis Galton was an English scientist who believed in the stupidity of the average human. Galton believed that, to have a healthy society, you needed to concentrate power in the select few who didn't fit that bill.

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By Ben Golden on Aug 06, 2015

Someone Has To Win

On December 7 of last year, the Carolina Panthers were 3-8-1 and I spent about 1100 Inkles forecasting that they would make the playoffs. Even at long odds, this may seem like wasted Inkles--I'm pretty sure that a 3-8-1 had never gone on to make the playoffs. But there were a couple other important factors.

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By Ben Golden on Jul 23, 2015

Pundits and Prediction Markets

As I've become more involved with prediction markets, I've grown increasingly frustrated with journalists who make predictions (aka pundits) without linking to prediction market questions. This is, in my opinion, lousy journalism, and insulting to readers.

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By Ben Golden on Jul 23, 2015

When Intuition 'Trumps' Analysis

In growing my Inkling score from five thousand to ten million Inkles, one of the most important questions was related to the number of points each team would score in the most recent NBA season. The question asked about the difference between each team's points and the average of all teams.

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By Ben Golden on Jul 16, 2015

The Best Is Not Enough

Barry Ritholtz has written a curious column titled The 'Wisdom of Crowds' Is Not That Wise for Bloomberg View, which criticizes prediction markets. This is not a new view for Ritholtz, as he reminds us by linking to six blog posts critical of prediction markets each written by...Barry Ritholtz. Indeed Ritholtz has made it his mission to find instances of prediction markets 'failing', and has found six of them.

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By Ben Golden on Jul 02, 2015

I, Benthinkin

The challenge was daunting—Inkling users start with five thousand Inkles--while the top forecasters have accrued hundreds of millions (in one case billions).

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