In 2005, a blogger by the name of Kyle MacDonald set out to turn a red paperclip he owned into a new house through a series of trades. Not only did the Canadian Blogger reach his goal, he got a lot of publicity in the process.
I was still in college when this happened and my economics and marketing professors referenced it constantly… and continued to reference it for two years after. I envied the guy; I think everyone kind of did. It’s been a while since I thought about this story so I thought I would revisit and share. For those unfamiliar with the story, you can check out the entire firsthand account at MacDonald’s blog here; for everyone else, here’s a refresher of the trades that started with a fish shaped pen and ended with a house:
- On July 14, 2005, he went to Vancouverand traded the paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.
- He then traded the pen the same day for a hand-sculpted doorknob from Seattle, Washington, which he nicknamed “Knob-T”.
- On July 25, 2005, he traveled to Amherst, Massachusetts, with a friend to trade the Knob-T for a Coleman camp stove (with fuel).
- On September 24, 2005, he went to San Clemente, California, and traded the camp stove for a Honda generator.
- On November 16, 2005, he made a second (and successful) attempt (after having the generator confiscated by the New York City Fire Department) in Maspeth, Queens, to trade the generator for an “instant party”: an empty keg, an IOU for filling the keg with the beerof the holder’s choice, and a neon Budweiser sign.
- On December 8, 2005, he traded the “instant party” to Quebec comedian and radio personality Michel Barrette for one Ski-doo snowmobile.
- Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia, in February 2006.
- On or about January 7, 2006, he traded the second spot on the Yahk trip for a cube van.
- On or about February 22, 2006, he traded the cube van for a recording contract with Metalworks in Mississauga, Ontario.
- On or about April 11, 2006, he traded the recording contract to Jody Gnant for a year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
- On or about April 26, 2006, he traded the one year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona, for one afternoon with Alice Cooper.
- On or about May 26, 2006, he traded the one afternoon with Alice Cooper for a KISS motorized snow globe.
- On or about June 2, 2006, he traded the KISS motorized snow globe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.
- On or about July 5, 2006, he traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.