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Well, not exactly, but if I’d wanted to win the DARPA Network Challenge, here’s what *I* would have done to win.

First of all, I’d settle for splitting the $40,000 prize. I’d enlist 2 other people, one on the other coast and one somewhere in the middle, and offer them $5000 apiece to play along. Each of us would have gotten up this morning and lofted 3 or 4 big red weather balloons of our own around San Francisco, Austin, and the DC area.

Then we’d have enlisted a couple of our high-flow Twitter buddies for another $2500 apiece to toss out the following offer:

The first person who sends me legit coordinates for a particular red DARPA balloon will be guaranteed $2500 of our winnings.

That means we’re out another $25000 for all 10 coordinates (obviously we aren’t paying for our decoys — they aren’t DARPA’s), for a total of $35,000. A few more posts around the net in our spare time, and bam! all 10 coordinates show up and everyone’s a winner.

I’d be surprised if anyone tries all the elements of this strategy, but it’s sure what I’d do. Fake out the competition and incentivize people who might not otherwise stand a chance at the $40,000 (and pocket $5000 for myself).

So, anyone seen any red balloons today? $2500 of my winnings if you have!

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