Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Double or Nothing

This is the year you are going to really study. No more Super Mario Brothers or in class. Goodbye Facebook, Twitter and fantasy football. The weekend shrinks back down to two days, maybe one. It's all going to be different this year, and your grade point average is finally going to show your true potential.

Wanna bet?

Ultrinsic will take that action. This new company, in its beta phase, invites college students to bet that they will beat their statistically predicted grade in a particular course. A student who wants to bet provides information about how he's done in college so far, available data regarding applicable grading curves for various departments, professors, and courses. Ultrinsic runs the data through a formula that predicts how he'll do in a particular course and offers a wager that the student can't beat it. If the student beats the predicted grade, Ultrinsic pays off according to the predicted handicap. If the student doesn't, he pays. The house makes money the old fashioned way, the predictive formula stacks the odds for the house. It wins more than it loses.

During the pilot last year, 600 or so students at NYU and Penn took the bet. This year, Ultrinsic plans to expand to 34 campuses.

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