If we’re connected on Facebook you’ve likely noticed that I have been enjoying Empire Avenue. Empire Avenue is a fantasy stock market for social media. It offers me an opportunity to turn work into a game. Since I’ve added Empire Avenue activities to my feed quite a few of you have asked me for more details about it.
I went ahead and bought some stock in their COO and CFO Robert Kallir and asked him if he’d grant me an interview. Taking into account the explosive growth of Empire Avenue I sent over ten questions, hoping he’d answer three. Being a mensch Kallir went ahead and answered them all.
ME: I discovered Empire Avenue about three weeks ago. When did it launch?
ROBERT KALLIR: Empire Avenue launched in February 2010 as a friends and family beta and was opened to the public at the end of July 2010
ME: Empire Avenue is modeled after the stock markets, do you envision a time where there are margins and short sales?
ROBERT KALLIR: Not at this time, we used a Stock Market system that is no longer in use called the Market Maker system. We think the real stock market is fairly complex and hard to understand. In our system, every night we give you a share price based on your social media activity, engagement and interaction as well as your share sales. Further buys the next day increases, sells conversely decrease. Pretty simple, mass market system!
ME: Have you seen some of the emails that social media thought leaders are sending to their shareholders? What do you think of them?
ROBERT KALLIR: We love seeing the system being used. We know that there is a game quality to it and that people will use it in all sorts of different ways. We have seen some incredibly high quality messages and communications. This kind of use makes us feel pretty good when the quality is high and makes people consider the online networks they create and the deep value inside of them!
ME: Is there an EA user that’s particularly entertaining?
ROBERT KALLIR: What? I’m not enough? Seriously we try not to promote any one individual as a company.
ME: What does the average person gain from participating at EA?
ROBERT KALLIR: We think the platform is actually ideally suited to the average person. Let’s look at it in three ways:
a. It’s a game: Have a bit of fun in doing what you already do online everywhere just now we give you achievements, luxury items, virtual currency…
b. If you play the game and try to raise your share price, you will become better at Social Networks. Play with the advisors, get engagement, get interaction on your networks and try to “game” the system because if you do it you will create a valuable network and learn about social media networking.
c. If you play the game to increase wealth you will actually invest and connect with some new and wonderful people across 150 countries. That’s kind of cool!