How I used the wisdom of the crowd to win a prize

Remember the book The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki? Well, I used his theory (more people know more than one smart person) in a ‘guess the number of bottle caps’ challenge in my local supermarket.

I thought it would be fun to test this, so I took a picture of the caps and put it on Facebook and Twitter. I got 11 responses, ranging from 164 to 945. The next time I was in the supermarket it was the last day to put in your guess, so I asked on Twitter what the average was of the 11 responses (it was quite a hassle to do this on my iPhone). One friend responded with the answers 442, so I filled in this number. Later, he saw he made a mistake and corrected the answer to 431, but then I already filled in 442.

Today I got a call from my local supermarket that I won!! The correct amount of bottle caps was 441! So I was just 1 off (or actually 10 if you don’t count the wrong calculation).

All in all, I was pretty amazed. There were only 11 responses. Tomorrow I can pick up my prize!