Next time someone tells you that bartering isn’t an effective way to make your business work just tell them about Kyle MacDonald, the Canadian blogger who managed to turn a single red paperclip into a home in just fourteen online trades.
Kyle started in 2005 with a simple red paperclip – the kind that others might simply discard without a second thought – and decided to see what he could make of it. HE then made the following inspired trades.
1. Kyle began on July 14, 2005 when he travelled to Vancouver in order to trade the red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.
2. The very same day, Kyle was able to find someone who wanted to let go of a hand-sculpted doorknob in order to pick up the fish shaped pen.
3. Kyle travelled to Amherst, Massachusetts on July 25, 2005, and passed over the doorknob for a Coleman camp stove.
4. On September 24, 2005, the camp stove was traded for a Honda generator.
5. On November 16, 2005, he made one of his oddest trades: a Honda generator for an ‘instant party’ – a keg, an IOU to fill it with beer of the holder’s choice, and a neon Budweiser sign.
6. Michel Barrette, a Quebec comedian and radio personality, exchanged the instant party for an old Ski-doo snowmobile.
7. Within just one week, Kyle received an offer to swap the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia.
8. On January 7, 2006, the trip was traded for a box truck.
9. Next, Kyle exchanged his new truck for a recording contract.
10. On April 11, 2006, the recording contract was snatched up in exchange for a year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
11. On April 26, 2006, one year’s rent was worth one afternoon with Alice Cooper.
12. On May 26, 2006, that afternoon experience was swapped for a rare KISS motorized snow globe.
13. On June 2, 2006, Kyle gave the KISS motorized snow globe to Corbin Bernsen in exchange for a role in the film Donna on Demand.
14. Finally, on July 5, 2006, Kyle realised his dream and traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse.
Smart trading indeed. Kyle’s story is certainly unique, but it’s also a great example of how far anyone can go when they barter effectively.