the askmarkets magazine
May 15, 2009

               Pulling the pieces
               apart is risky.
THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009
                                                        One Stop Shop
THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009
                                                        Use Case I
THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009
                                     Use Case II
THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009
                                     The people
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the askmarkets magazine


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The first volume of the askmarkets magazine, including:
- Let the Market Decide, With Information Inside (overview of the problem addressed by the solution at hand)
- One Stop Shop to Your Information Marketplace (what and how)
- Use Case I (retailer) & Use Case II (marketing)
- The people (behind the askmarkets curtains)

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the askmarkets magazine

  1. 1. the askmarkets magazine May 15, 2009 Pulling the pieces apart is risky. Why don’t you just put them together? Aggregate distributed information with the power of markets. Let the Market Decide, with information inside. the source, namely those who contribute insights of value on Overflow, of possess the scattered bits of the topics of your interest. information. Then filter, and information, not any middlemen Now, you are able to turn digest. You do this, every around. And push approaches your questions into markets, single day. Your coworkers, (call it surveys, or meetings) tend their possible answers into stocks too. Each one of us gets not to work. What missing is an and finally let anyone put their exposed to a unique blend of engaging, yet less biased way to (play) money where his mouth is. information, from both pull this information out, then You may also call it a friendly people and data sources. filtering and balancing it, in real bet, or just a game; in any case, Then we enhance it, with our time, to finally give shape to an it’s equally fun, and useful, yet own experiences and aggregated insight. more engaging and less biased knowledge, to finally shape a Guess what. There is a than every other tool you have unique personal insight. Yes, solution, and it’s simpler than ever tried. there lies a lot of value, but what you may imagine. Actually, Most importantly, our how do we come up with you use it, in various different marketplaces works as probably collective insights? If this settings, on a daily basis. Enter the most efficient tool for stands as an unsolved askmarkets services. And set up information aggregation out problem for your your own, private or public there. So, you’d better stop organization, we think we marketplace, within a minute. wasting resources, and potential. came up with a decent Then, invite your fellow workers, Collective insights and your solution. You need to aggregate partners, and clients to join. Or information marketplace are information and insights, not just anyone who you think may now just a few clicks away, at collect raw data. Directly from askmarkets. 1
  2. 2. THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009 One Stop Shop to your information marketplace What is it about? How does it work? Where do you go to find out the best answer It’s simple, really. to the question “What is the value of Walmart?” 1. You enter askmarkets services and create You probably go check it’s current stock price, your very own information marketplace, in the right? What about the next football match winner? subdomain, say, or You typically turn to the current betting odds. else. The whole process takes up to a minute, while Expected price of, let’s say, oil in the next quarter? you gain full admin rights and customization It’s the futures market. Or even the value of an old options (change all colors, add your own logo etc). gadget of yours? You just enter the local flea 2. You invite your employees and partners, market, it goes on. your clients or whoever may provide valuable When it comes to aggregating all of the information, to join. Marketplaces can be private information out there, or finding the most accurate (invite-only), or public (open to everyone). Each of estimations, the answer always includes the user who signs up receives 10,000 of our play- term “market” as its second element. And this fact money currency to start trading. is anything but random. Over time, markets have 3. You turn your critical questions into proven to be the most efficient mechanism for markets, tight to a future event. Potential answers aggregation and transmission of information. are the stocks traded within this market, while Dynamic and evolutionary by nature, markets their current price indicates their probability of typically tap on self-selection and proper incentives turning correct. to leverage on collective intelligence, or what we 4. So, if anyone considers an answer as are lately referring to as the wisdom of crowds. underpriced, he is able to buy some shares of the However, when it comes to topics different corresponding stock, under the prospect of future than the ones described above, no similar solution profit. By this, the stock price goes up, and the exists. Let’s say that you are very much interested market communicates the relevant information. in your sales figures for the next month, or the Both trading into a market, or creating a brand probability of meeting a critical deadline, or any new market are two-step straightforward process. other critical question tight to a future event, not 5.This is it. Your very own information covered by existing and well-positioned market marketplace is up and running, consisting of the institutions. Where are such markets? We think we traders you picked, and the market questions you have come up with a proper solution, within and your traders shaped. Collective insights are askmarkets. now at your fingertips, you may leave all the rest to askmarkets. Markets bring people together, transmitting information through prices. And askmarkets is the simplest way to put market power at your fingertips. 2
  3. 3. THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009 Use Case I Retailer Retailex Corp. is a very healthy and profitable The company is using a couple of methods to organization that imports, stores, distributes and forecast its sales and manage its logistics in a more finally sells a wide range of products. With capable efficient way. The tools in use track the weekly or and experienced employees, next to an extended even daily sales using an advanced ERP (which network of salesmen and distributors, costed a really significant amount of money) and Retailex is a well-structured and efficiently attempt to extrapolate the given data to come up functioning enterprise, optimized to deliver great with proper estimations, while surveys of the products to its customers and value to its managers’ perceptions are performed quarterly to shareholders. Digging into its main cost drivers, get a feeling about what’s coming. However, it one comes up with inventory and transportation seems that these approaches do not meet the costs throughout the supply chain, the company’s needs. Shortage of various products is a management of which finally ends up to the usual case in many points of sale, while other estimation of future demand and the products remain devalued by the big inventory. communication of early indicators that may arise These facts equal to opportunities and money across the various parts of the chain. being not wisely spent, while the uncertainty of the given economic situation is expected to further highlight the problem. This is where askmarkets come into play. The number of employees, salesmen and distributors in If mails & a sense stands as a powerful network, continuously meetings used to be the only way collecting information about the topics of interest to involve your for the enterprise. Asking all these people about partners in such topics, while providing sufficient motivation, decision making, using a simple but efficient platform, can enable now you may rest the collection and filtering of this vast amount of in the shoulders informational resources to support decision of markets. making. For example, managers’ information is limited,while monitoring data have little to do with being proactive. At the same time, each salesman comes in touch with a number of people each day, shaping his mind on the top of the information he collects. Furthermore each salesman gets in contact with different sets of people and has special experiences which help to come up with a unique perspective on the topics of interest. Finally, askmarkets enables Retailex to aggregate the perspectives of all people across the supply chain on the topics that matter for the company, including sales per month, per product or distribution point, next to products’ import and transportation costs, or pricing. In a few words, askmarkets serves the company as a ceaseless and seamless filter and aggregator of the information across the enterprise, providing real-time insights and a significant competitive advantage for both the day-to-day and the strategic decision making. Wouldn’t you bet on it? 3
  4. 4. THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009 Use Case II Marketing Marketex Corp sells some high-end products, putting most of its efforts and budget on marketing. Echoing this fact, the marketing department has an extended list of liabilities, next to a really significant share in the decisions taken across the enterprise. Among all others, the department runs a bunch of campaigns each year, while keeping track of the industry and competitors in various markets, measuring customer behavior and satisfaction, also monitoring selected performance indicators that are considered of crucial value for the enterprise. The department is comprised of highly experienced employees, with a strong intuition and understanding of both the core characteristics and latest developments in the industry. However, it has become evident that, despite the expertise and experience of its members, the marketing department -and the whole company at large- is failing to detect significant turning points in customers’ behavior and preferences, or competitors strategic moves This is not due to lack of focus or devotion; the company is using several methods to get a clear view of what is happening out of its corporate offices. Surveys, focus groups, industry reports, and meetings, meetings, meetings, all have a prominent place in the company’s arsenal, when it comes to supporting its marketing decisions. However, results are not as expected; and there are probably both the tools and their users to blame for. The marketing manager put it like that in a recent board of directors: “It is like either the information we possess is very partial, or the tools we are using to filter it and sum it up are inadequate. In my personal opinion, both of these are true. We need a different approach.” At the same time, Marketex enjoys a considerable number of loyal customers, who could easily be characterized as fans. Their passion and brand loyalty is such that they know every Marketex product in detail, while tracking the competitors’ moves and other evolutions in the industry. In a sense, Marketex’s marketing department extends to these people, too, as they largely perform what the company needs, at a much bigger scale, cost-free, and without any biases that may accompany such intra-enterprise relationships. The idea is clear. Marketex needs to get this group of people together, motivate them to contribute their beliefs and, by appropriately aggregating these beliefs to shape an insightful input for its decision making. Askmarkets come to the rescue. A public marketplace is set up, on the topics of interest for Marketex. Competitive intelligence, efficiency of the latest campaigns, customer satisfaction, evolution of publicly available performance indicators, all these and other crucial topics are turned into market questions and literally outsourced to the Marketex community. A symbolic prize given to the 5 most efficient traders further enhances the engagement and, a few weeks There is passion for your products out there, why after the launch, Marketex includes in its arsenal a valuable don’t you leverage on the devotion and collective tool that monitors in real time the information and intelligence of your customers? perceptions of hundreds of experts, providing the greatest of insights for some really successful decisions. Still looking for the market leader? 4
  5. 5. THEaskmarketsMAGAZINE May 15, 2009 The people behind askmarkets AskMarkets UnLtd was founded in 2007 to host the works, vision and devotion of its founders George Tziralis and Efthimios Mpothos. Our enterprise product was launched in December 2008, gaining global attention and coverage. The company is located in Athens, Greece. George Tziralis, co-founder & CEO A fertile 5-year course on mechanical and industrial engineering from NTUA concluded with a thesis on attempting to forecast stock prices; as algorithms and the challenge of making accurate predictions captured his heart, the decision to undertake PhD research on the field of forecasting was a logical choice. His early quot;affairquot; in data mining and artificial intelligence ended abruptly when he got to know the concept of prediction markets better. That was back in September 2005. Since then, prediction markets had to endure his workaholic attitude, providing a suitable outlet for his creativity and passion (argentine tango and other fitness activities still have to wait). Resulting from this, the creation of askmarkets was predestined to happen: a natural outcome of his research findings, as long as his upbeat attitude. Efthimios Mpothos, co-founder & CTO Efthimios holds a 5-year bachelor in electrical and computer engineering from NTUA and wrote his thesis on mobile and personal communications. The move to engineering at Siemens, which took place immediately after graduation, finally proved not to be compatible with his creativity, passion and open mind for ideas. A refreshing switch back to research was highly needed and happened a couple of years ago. Since then, first an MSc on engineering-economic systems and then a PhD on innovation and ideas evaluation systems using prediction markets have kept him busy enough, before his ideas, entrepreneurial attitude and developing skills found a creative outlet at askmarkets. ASKMARKETS UNLTD Innovation is our passion and askmarkets our pride and joy. We are committed to providing marketplace solutions that 14-16 Meletiou Vasileiou Str work the best for you. GR 11745 Athens, Greece