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Crowds: Not As Smart When It Comes to Hollyweird

So I think commenter Richard E. Smallman summed it up in the comments to my last post, when he wrote, “Well Dumbass, u got 1 right.Better luck next year if u still have a job.” (Of course, my corporate overlords have seen fit to cut that comment, not me. We’re all adults here.) I’m not worried about my job, because I did better than the Wisdom of Crowds angle presented by MIVA’s analysis of more than two billion search queries.

So I think commenter Richard E. Smallman summed it up in the comments to my last post, when he wrote, “Well Dumbass, u got 1 right.Better luck next year if u still have a job.” (Of course, my corporate overlords have seen fit to cut that comment, not me. We’re all adults here.) I’m not worried about my job, because I did better than the Wisdom of Crowds angle presented by MIVA’s analysis of more than two billion search queries. I got three correct (best supporting actress, best director, and best actress). MIVA did get just one correct: Rachel Weisz, for best supporting actress.

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So what can we learn from this exercise (besides not to use the phrase dumbass in FC Now posts and that you shouldn’t rely on MIVA in future Oscar pools)? The Wisdom of Crowds is a provocative idea and a potentially powerful tool for business in expanding its pool of ideas and finding solutions that a small set of people wouldn’t make. But it’s not a particularly good predictor of the outcome of a Byzantine process that involves an insular community. What a Wisdom of Crowds approach would be good at is finding performances and creative achievements that resonated within the moviegoing community but that may have been overshadowed in Hollywood for whatever reason (poor box office, distribution, etc).

Perhaps MIVA should test this theory and leverage its search technology during the hype before the nominations come out or against American Idol, or some other event where it is, in fact, a popularity contest that determines who wins. Good ideas need to be applied in the correct forum, and perhaps this wasn’t the right forum for the Wisdom of Crowds theory.

And MIVA, although it got some publicity with this stunt, may not have done itself any favors by trying to predict the Oscars this way. As I said, good ideas need to be applied in the correct forum.