09 May 2008

That's What Friends Are For

For a long time we've talked about this concept of friend's "stocks." Something happens and we make a head nod and say, "Yup, her stock is definitely at an all time high." Or "he's such a loser, I can't believe he did that. Stock way down." I know you do the same thing with your friends. Just admit it. It's similar to the concept of Whuffie from Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom I was talking about a few weeks ago.

The other day, fueled by my recent foray into the real stock market, I was messenging Ameer and trying to figure out the best three letter stock ticker symbols for people we know. Some are obvious: AMR, JON, JMZ, LLY, RYN, DES. Just take out the vowels. Then there's a tough one, like Georgette, what do you do with that? GRG looks like Greg. GGT looks stupid. After some deliberation, George settled on GTE. Try this with your friends, it's super fun! No, I promise.

Anyway, the next night I decide to look around for a custom stock market application. Lo and behold, I found Friend O'Nomics. It's "a completely superficial, multiplayer, stock market based game, which allows players to trade shares of their friends, just as they would trade shares of a publicly traded corporation. The main goals of the game would be to have your personal stock achieve the highest value, as well as building a portfolio of friends with the highest value."

Um, yeah, that's exactly what I was looking for! Somebody had already created the perfect application for us and it was just launched last month. How incredible is that? The site is awesome because it's clean and easy to use and it's absolutely free. You create an account, make up your stock ticker symbol, and then you're free to create or join markets. Currently me and a few others are beta-testing the site but I'm going to figure out the best way to use this thing for sustainable fun and then launch a full scale assault on everyone I know.

For example, what if we used Friend O'Nomics to buy or sell someone's "romance" stock? "BET is looking awesome because she just went on a hot date. Buy buy buy!" See the many applications available here? I emailed the creators of the site and they have new features in the works so I'm excited to see what they are. Maybe an integration with Twitter feeds? They already have a RSS feed for the updates.

Seriously, check it out. Here's a screenshot of my JON stock.

For aesthetics, I think it's way cooler when the stock ticker names are in caps and three to four letters. I don't want nicknames, I want real names! The other thing is that I think there shouldn't be insider trading; you shouldn't be able to buy and sell your own stock. Anyway, to be discussed.

A key feature right now is creating a dividend for a particular stock. Basically, you can nominate somebody to be exposed to a market wide vote for something they did that week. For example, if AMR bought a new car this week, you could create a dividend that says "AMR just bought a grey car, now he owns two. Awesome?" People can vote Yes/No and each vote counts at +/-$1 to his stock at the end of the week. It's similar to the "Who had the best week ever" emails I used to send out.

If you wanna play, sign up!