Kyle MacDonald had a paperclip. One red paperclip, a dream, and a resume to write. And bills to pay. Oh, and a very patient girlfriend who was paying the rent. Remember the Red Paperclip Guy from a few years ago? In , an out-of-work Kyle MacDonald started with a single red paperclip and. So you know Kyle MacDonald, the enterprising young Canadian who set up a blog with the goal of bartering his way from a red paper clip all.


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On or about January 7,the second person on the trip to Yahk traded Kyle a cube van for the privilege. On or about February 22, one red paperclip, he traded the cube van for a recording contract with Metal Works in Toronto.

One Red Paperclip

I came into the internship with a cocky attitude typical of college freshmen? I left extremely humbled, having learned I was far from being the best salesperson, the best manager, or even the best painter.

The Light Bulb Moment In that way, the truck led to probably the most important realization of my life: I one red paperclip say I wish I was half as smart now as I was when I was 16, and painting played a big role in putting my ego in check, and turning me into a life-long learner; striving to improve every day.

But in the end, thankfully the one red paperclip customers outnumbered the unhappy ones, and over the course of two summers I sold enough paint jobs to cover the cost of my truck several times over.

It was my first taste of working for profits, not wages, and may have scarred me for life. And not just because I fell off a ladder! Joining a Business Fraternity For one red paperclip of freshman year, college at one red paperclip University of Washington was like an extension of high school.

In fact, it seemed like half our graduating class ended up enrolling there. In part to force my introverted self to meet new people, and in part because I was still concerned with building a resume, I pledged the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi in the fall of my second year.


For me, AKPsi was an amazing community of one red paperclip individuals. It gave everyone the opportunity to practice real-life leadership skills in a safe environment, as well as to develop lasting friendships.

Trading Up: From $ an hour to “Retired” at 25, Plus the Next 10 Years

Now if college is a distant memory for you, how can you apply this one? One red paperclip could do the same in your local community with meetups or events, or starting your own, or finding your people online.

He got a response almost immediately from a pair of young women in Vancouver who offered to trade him a pen that looks like a fish. MacDonald then bartered the fish pen for a handmade doorknob from a potter in Seattle.

His next trade would be different from all one red paperclip others, and would stun and baffle his fans.

From paper-clip to house in 14 trades

He traded the hang time with Alice Cooper to a concert photographer from Cincinnati, for a motorized Kiss snow globe.

The move turned out to be the right one as actor Corbin Bernsen, best known for his role on one red paperclip hit TV show "L.


Law," was waiting in the wings to snatch it up. The town made MacDonald's dream a reality when it offered him a house for the part.

299: Trading Up: From $8.65 an hour to “Retired” at 25, Plus the Next 10 Years

What happened to one red paperclip objects you traded? I traded each thing, so the person I traded with either used it or sold one red paperclip or broke it or re-traded it. Within a week of that, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbiascheduled for February On or about January 7,he traded the second spot on the Yahk trip for a box truck.