Mobs and Markets and WSX06

If the Washington Stock Exchange advisory board is any indication, WSX could displace IEM and as the source for quotable market odds for the 2006 US elections. The AB may mean nothing, but assembling the names it has demonstrates some foresight on the part of WSX, as does reducing its risk through use of proven open source prediction market software.

is the latest edition to the WSX AB. The WSX blog post announcing the addition notes that Sunstein is working on a book entitled Mobs and Markets: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge.

Though Sunstein’s interest in prediction markets, wikis, the blogosphere and such was obvious in his July guest postings on the Lessig blog, only one page currently indexed by Google is aware of the title of his book: the Cass Sunstein page at Wikipedia. How apropos. It currently (since October 6) says this:

His forthcoming book, Mobs and Markets (Oxford University Press 2006, now in final stages) explores methods for aggregating information; it contains discussions of prediction markets, open source software, and wikis (with substantial attention to Wikipedia).

9 Responses

  1. Hello Mike Linksvayer,

    Thank you very much for this post —you’re proving wrong my long-time belief that not everyone can do comedy.

    I have the highest respect for David Perry and his in-beta Washington Stock Exchange, and also for the ‘brochette’ of scholars that David has lined up, like at the parade.

    As for Cass Sunstein, he is a law professor, not an economist —just a detail missing in your upbeat piece. And in his blog entries that you so eagerly point to, he didn’t seem to show any real mastering of the topic. (Cass Sunstein being a friend of your friend Lawrence Lessig, I guess that’s what explains you lack of critical reasoning here —you spare it for your blog entries on Bush #43 and the U.S. military.)

    What makes you think that the play-money WSX is going to surpass the long-established TradeSports/InTrade U.S. political prediction markets!????

    (You said “could”, OK. Your mother didn’t raise any risk-taking fool.)

    Let’s play a thought experiment, together. Let’s say that I come to you saying that I’m going to start up a brand-new eBay competitor using open-source software, and boasting a ‘brochette’ of top-notch economists in the advisory board. What is my chance of making eBay a thing of the past, really?

    See, an event-driven futures exchange can be seen as the eBay of bets. New traders would join the more liquid exchange. So if you’re the market leader in the betting exchange field, you’re theorically likely to INCREASE your market share with time.

    Another point missing in your entry is this: How did the play-money prediction exchanges (Foresight Exchange and NewsFutures) fared in November 2004? Will you tell the truth to the readers of your blog?

    I’m all for David Perry. He’s a great (conservative) guy. I wish him the very best. But he is the challenger here. Number one, he needs to get up early. Number two, he needs to surround himself with smart marketers like Seth Godin ( ). Scholars are good at researching, but they chose to hide behind the Academia’s ivory tower because they dislike dealing and managing people. Scholars are the wrong type of persons to ask for advice if you want to start up the big thing.

    OK, I’m now going to give two bits of advice to David Perry —so he does not think of me as another wet French blanket. Number one, restrict the usage of your play-money exchange to American residents only. The reason NewsFutures did not predict Bush #43’s reelection is because of the French traders in the system —see, the French = Bush haters. Number two, find big sponsors that would monetize the traders’ play-money winnings. (Can Cass Sunstein help?)

    I repeat: I wish the WSX all the best. But I will not give it the benefit of the doubt. The burden is on David Perry’s shoulders —John Delaney can sleep well for now.

    Best regards,

    Chris. F. Masse

  2. David Perry says:

    Hello again Chris – thanks for the vote of confidence.

    I realize it’s hard to divine what the WSX is up to based on the limited amount of information that’s been made public. As to the WSX business strategy, marketing plan, etc., those are items that will be revealed in due time.

    In regards to the Advisory Board, don’t think of it as a Board of Directors. The entity has been organized for a specific purpose, which is to advise on the mechanical development of the WSX market. We’ve selected individual AB members because they each bring a unique skill set to the table. On the other hand, the BOD is the body that has managerial authority over the company.

    Talk to you soon.


    (PS – Just to clarify, I don’t subscribe to ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ or ‘???’ labels. I’m apolitical for a variety of professional and personal reasons. Does this mean we’re still friends?)

  3. […] Mike Linksvayer My opinions only. I do not represent any organization in this publication. « Mobs and Markets and WSX06 […]

  4. Hello David Perry,

    How are you doing? Happy to see that Mike Linksvayer and I managed to smoke you out of your coding cave.

    I’m not the only one to be curious about your business plan for the Washington Stock Exchange. (As for my conspiration theory, I believe that Mike Linksvayer is part of your secret business plan. Otherwise, why would he give you that amount of free publicity today?)

    It’s good that you are going to extend the reach of the Foresight Exchange —because that’s what you’re doing with the WSX, aren’t you?

    I am a skeptic about play-money prediction exchange. But I’m bullish if there is a compensation system that allows, in the end, to transform the play-money winnings into real dollars. Which means big sponsors —and a smart marketing plan.

    Or is it that Tom Bell talked you in about getting a CFTC approval? (And you did believe him!??)

    What are you planning with the WSX? I wanna know today. Don’t play the mysterious. Confess right now.

    Best regards,

    Chris. F. Masse

  5. Postscript:

    99.99% of the bloggers that you list in your blogroll here

    are conservative, and then you come to me like an innocent lamb swearing your mother that you are not conservative!???

    Nothing wrong with being a conservative —or a conservative that pretends to be a swing voter in order to pass muster on a left-libertarian’s blog.

    Best regards,

    Chris. F. Masse

  6. Chris,

    Where do I send nominations for rumor monger and yellow journalist of the year for your 2005 Year-End Awards? I have someone in mind. :-)

  7. OK, I retract the adjective “conservative”.

  8. David Perry says:

    Hey Chris,

    I’m also very skeptical about the business model for some of the play-money exchanges out there. :) On the other hand, I think you’ll be fascinated by what we have in store for both the near-term and long-term. Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to publicize too much yet. Rest assured, CFM will be among the first to know!

    One thing is certain, more will be known once the WSX beta is released to the public. You guessed right on the FX code, it’s currently undergoing a *significant* revamp.


  9. Wow, sounds exciting. The mystery deepens…

    That comforts my original belief that Mike Linksvayer’s blog entry about the Washington Stock Exchange was part of a big plot tending to attract attention to David Perry’s mysterious project.

    I can’t wait.


    Chris. F. Masse

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