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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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The relationship stock market and the social drunk dialing network
bird poops on plum branch
Every time you enter a relationship with someone, you "go public" and add yourself to the relationship stock market.  You set an IPO price and people can buy/sell/trade as many of the 1000 shares you go public with and desire to sell.  Maybe you only want to sell one share, maybe all 1000 shares.  Either way, first they buy from you, then they buy and sell to each other.  You buy and sell based on whether or not you think the relationship will last.  An easy way for new couples to finance the crushy part of their relationship, and get a pulse of the public perception of their relationship.

What side effects?  Would couples hide information that they should make public, and instead try to make money of their shares before the relationship goes bankrupt?  Or would the support of friends and the ability to know the pulse of your public relationship spurn on relationships that might otherwise fizzle?  Would great relationships turn the early supporters into millionaires?

How can we make this happen without going to jail?  I think it would be a fun social network indeed.

The other fun social network would be one that's all about drunk dialing and texting.  Basically, instead of friending people you give them hours that they're allowed to call you while drunk.  Best friends get that coveted 3am-6am slot.  Lesser friends might be relegated to 10-11pm.  Finally, social networks with a purpose!

That's all.

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Where's the underlying (economic) value? What do I get for being a shareholder of a successful relationship? It's not paying dividends.

Most stocks don't pay dividends. The economic value is in buying low and selling high! If you are an early supporter of a successful relationship, you'll have lots of shares that you can then sell at a higher price once things become more obviously awesome. I suppose really generous relationships could incorporate their shareholders in their Christmas card lists...

The more I think about this, the more awesome it is. Screw dating sites. We need relationship sites. This is the next big thing. Where are they?

Another interesting feature would be reports about close friends who buy or sell shares. There would certainly be a lot of insider trading going on. Scandal. Intrigue. Drama. Fall out. Broke downedness. Love.

Everything wonderful about life.

I like this. I think you need to take the analogy further, however. Companies can be public or private. COmpanies "go public" to obtain things they couldn't get by staying private. In doing so, they are willing to abide by regulation (the SEC) and increased public scrutiny (annual reports).

SO: we need to offer incentives to couples who go public, and their cost is being honor bound to keep us honestly informed about the status of the relationship.

So then, what do we use as our "currency?" Real money? Couples incent to "go public" so that well-run ones can get, say, money for a down payment? And what is our verification system? Would the possibility of a down payment be enough to let a couple allow random strangers to, say, go with them on a date or install a camera in their house?

Interesting! Yeah, I like the idea of trade-offs for going public. Quarterly reports would be AWESOME. Would anyone do that? I probably would. But that probably means nobody else would.

Verification system... hm... that might be a harder sell. What would we need to verify? That they are actually in a relationship? That they are actually happy? Haha. It would be fun to get couples to measure certain things like amount of money in the bank... days since last romantic date... number of fights per month... etc etc.

This could totally get crazy and creepy. The key would be to make it simple and not creepy and to see if it was actually potentially interesting in its least crazy incarnation. Volunteers?

Instead of an investment model, you could use a decision market model like IEM (http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/iem/). You'd have to turn "will last" into a testable event (like "will still be together on ").

But for that to work, someone needs to be willing to buy the "won't last" shares. Are trades public? Who would be willing to bet against a friend's relationship? If you're confident in yourself this might be a good way to make money from your enemies. Or should you bet against yourself as a hedge? Would you go for long shot relationships for a chance at a bigger return?

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