#btconf Berlin, Germany 05 - 08 Nov 2018

Kyle MacDonald

Kyle MacDonald bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of online trades over the course of a year. Running with the idea of taking one small item and attempting to trade it for something bigger and more substantial, MacDonald has become renowned for his off-beat and inspirational ideas and goals.

Kyle is the author of “One Red Paperclip” which is available worldwide in 14 different languages, from Estonian to Korean. His story has inspired millions of people around the world to imagine how they can achieve amazing results using creative and fun solutions to everyday problems.

How to Trade a Red Paperclip For a House

On July 12, 2005, Kyle posted a picture of a red paperclip on his blog and in the barter section of craigslist, and asked if anyone wanted to make a trade for something bigger or better. A few days later, he traded the paperclip for a pen shaped like a fish. He then traded the pen for a doorknob.

His yearlong adventure in bartering includes trading for a Coleman stove, a ski-doo, a moving van, a music recording contract, an afternoon spent hanging out with Alice Cooper, a movie role, and finally, a house.

“A lot of people have been asking how I’ve stirred up so much publicity around the project, and my simple answer is: ‘I have no idea’”, he told the BBC.

The stories that have come from these adventures are impressive, but MacDonalds generosity, free-spirit and willingness to look for the positive in things is what makes his story significant.

He has now set two Guinness World Records: one for Most Successful Internet Trade, the other for erecting the World’s Largest Red Paperclip.

“Everything has to start somewhere” says Kyle. “The most important trade was the first, when I traded away the red paperclip. If I hadn’t tried the idea out, I’d just be a guy with a red paperclip on his desk and the adventure would’ve never happened.”