Inkling: The Invisible Hand Says Cubs May Win It

Inkling is a fantasy stock market that predicts outcomes based on the free market. It works like this: users create questions and potential outcomes (“Will it rain tomorrow?”, “At which major technology conference will Bill Gates shed his human skin and reveal his angelic beauty high above Mount Rainier?”) and other users buy and sell shares based on their belief that a particular outcome is true.

We go into a bit more detail about Inkling and gadgets over at CrunchGear, but thus far Inkling has predicted two Apple announcements and made a fairly good showing before Jobs’ September 12th announcement, as we see below.

Inkling’s real strategy, however, is to aid in decision-making. Say, for example, you’re making a widget. The widget should be under budget and on deadline, so you pose a question to a market of your co-workers “Will we complete our widget on time and under budget?” You offer four outcomes and have them anonymously by shares in each of these outcomes. The resulting graphs will plot the most likely outcome because everyone – from marketing to the tech guys – will have a say. The tech guys will say everything will be over and the marketing guys will say everything will be under and the programmers will say it will take quite a while but it will come in under budget. The mix will give you a fairly strong indicator of what you’re up against.

This general concept – creating unique markets out of various outcomes – is already in place over at Cantor Fitzgerald with their Hollywood Stock Exchange although Inkling’s mission to create white label markets for small and medium businesses is quite nice. It’s a great way to get everyone’s opinion by filtering out language, emotion, and human interaction which, we all know, poison the brain.