CommerceNet has been very generous in funding my work on Zocalo for more than a year. From the beginning, it was proposed as an appointment that would last for a year or two, as part of CommerceNet’s program to bring a variety of people and projects into the labs, both to expose the particular projects to CommerceNet and its partners and to attract other entrepreneurs to visit and raise their new ideas and ventures to CommerceNet’s view. While I’ve been here, I think both sides have benefited: I’ve been able to get more exposure for Zocalo than I would have otherwise, and in getting visibility for Prediction Markets, I’ve also raised CommerceNet’s profile in some interesting arenas.

The next version of Zocalo that I release (sometime in June, I expect) will add the main features that were missing for usable long-term prediction markets. (Secure accounts, transaction history, and access controls for claim creation are checked in to sourceforge‘s subversion repository, paying off claims is coming soon.) I expect to run a couple of private trials (more beta sites would be welcome) and hope to install the software on a public website so people will be able to try it out. I’m also happy that there’s another developer interested in adding some features who is talking issues over with me via email and on sourceforge.

I will continue to work at CommerceNet over the next few months, while I transition back to working on Zocalo on my own. (I was working on the code on my own nickel before CommerceNet offered to hire me and allow the code to remain open source.) I expect to work on Zocalo full-time for the rest of the year, and then spend up to half-time consulting to support continued development. The more consulting I can find that’s related to Zocalo, the less time I’ll have to spend on other work.

It’s been great fun interacting with all the people and companies that have been through here. We had some great interns last summer, and are expecting more this summer. I can’t talk about all the companies that have incubated here, but the folks that Renkoo and NewRoo were certainly cool to work with.

Zocalo’s future? I’m going to continue betting on it for a while.