Why Empire Avenue tweaks my curiosity muscle

There is something akin to a virtual gold rush going on in my network this week as people discover… and tinker with… Empire Avenue – the first virtual stock exchange where tickers and stocks are bought and sold with virtual currency called Eaves.

What makes this such an interesting model is WHAT you are trading. The value of reputation, and influence on social media.

You can buy and sell stock in your friends, your network, brands you like, people who have interests in things you do, you can join communities filtered by geographic region or interest, you can go with your gut instinct or get some insider trading info from one of the dozens of hot spots that have already popped up.

So partly because I play in the world of social media and new technology, and partly because I believe in exercising my curiosity muscle, I joined, set up an account and tinkered with the platform for the past 48 hours.

This is no Farmville or Angry Birds. This is the closest thing to real life trading as it gets- and because of that these are the things I think make this game worth checking out. If you find this post valuable, feel free to show your support by buying 200 shares of http://var/www/vhosts/christinemcleod.ca/everydayleader.ca.empireavenue.com/chrismcleod


1. It’s strategic:

In Grade 8, I remember our Social Studies teacher giving us $100 in monopoly money and we had a month to invest in the TSX and at the end of the month the winner would be the one who had made the most money. This reminds me a bit of this. Do you buy low sell high? do you get the inside tips? do you hold? buy a few stocks of the big guys or tons of the newbies? Following tickers like DILLONRHODES, RLAVIGNE42, TERRYCROSBY, CHRISRECORD, BABO, D4YBB will get you started by seeing what they are investing in- these are the guys spending way more hours in this world than you or I ever will- creating webinars and facebook groups already about investment strategy.

2. You can’t spam people

Well, I shouldn’t say CAN’T because spammers always find a way; You have to pay (virtual currency) to send emails to your shareholders which makes you think twice about that vs. spending that money investing in new stocks. You can connect in chat rooms or leave shout outs for people but even in two days, I can smell the people who just don’t get it and spam away… and I just ignore them. The way people invest in you and how you grow is via your reputation. If you add value, as an influencer and especially to someone’s portfolio, they will buy you.

3. It grows your QUALITY network

Yesterday alone, I connected with three people I never would have found on otehr networks, who operate in the same world as me, passionate about the same things, and we connected outside of the EA game and already I can see seeds of collaboration on possible ventures I have on the horizon. very cool.

4. It rewards you for activity you already do on social networks

Empire Avenue takes all your activity on ALL your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Blogs, Twitter and Youtube for now) and feeds it all into your profile on EA so at a quick glance people can see all your content which makes them decide if they want to invest in you. You can post Shout Outs for people and message them privately, but really, if you are active on your social networks, you will see your bank account grow.

5. It makes Linkedin look dated, Facebook seem a bit dull and twitter…. jury still out for me there.

6. It is managing to put an actual dollar value to your brand influence and strength.

Just like the real stock market, the MARKET decides what your brand or company or personality is worth. It’s the essence of free market, and it can be a bit humbling for sure, but the numbers don’t lie. When you see MARISMITH and MASHABLE and CHRISPIRILLO on the leader board, they deserve to be there with stocks in the triple digits. Their reputation in their area of expertise has earned them the trust (and now money) of investors.

7. It exercises my curiosity muscle

As a leader, I believe you become more entrepreneurial the more innovative you are. You get more innovative by being around people and experiences and businesses that are innovative. To find those innovations, you need to be curious. We don’t exercise our curiosity muscle enough. We are quick to put something down or dismiss it before we ask questions and ask what IF? what IF this game gave me new ideas I could apply to my social media strategy? what IF I made some valuable connections? what IF I just purely had some fun? what IF there actually was a cool business model here I could emulate? TRYING things is how we move forward. This is a great way for people who are not super social media users to learn in real time how OTHERS act online and can see what works and what doesn’t.

So watch this video (talk about grassroots filming!) about Empire Avenue, go to http://var/www/vhosts/christinemcleod.ca/everydayleader.ca.empireavenue.com create an account and start buying! (your first stock should be CHRISMCLEOD) Be curious, ask questions, HAVE FUN. Here is a small sampling of my top portfolio picks. I picked them because I know most of them personally and can truly say they are top influencers in social media and people I learn from every day.




If you found this post valuable, click on this link and get started with your portfolio! 



  1. Rob Nielsen on May 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    “TRYING things is how we move forward. This is a great way for people who are not super social media users to learn in real time how OTHERS act online and can see what works and what doesn’t.”

    Such a great point, Christine — rather than downplaying a trend as “just the latest thing” — why not try it yourself . . . learn as you go . . . and get hooked like us?

  2. Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 5:01 am

    This is how I have learned on social media platforms… just dip my toe in, TRY some things but mostly (and still) I learned from those around me and the influencers I sought out (not hard to do) . Watching and Listening-two skills we are not always so great at as leaders… but a surefire way to learn tons on social media!  

  3. Anonymous on June 30, 2011 at 4:04 am

    I’m loving Empire Avenue! I joined about two weeks ago and am really enjoying it.