Innovative Thinking – One Red Paper Clip – Blog 128

One Red Paperclip

I think this is one of the most innovative individuals and stories ever.


A Canadian blogger named Kyle MacDonald, bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of fourteen online trades over the course of a year beginning on July 14, 2005.  Here are those 14 trades.


  1. On July 14, 2005, he went to Vancouver and traded the paperclip for a fish-shaped pen.
  2. He then traded the pen the same day for a hand-sculpted doorknob from Seattle, Washington.
  3. July 25, 2005, he traveled to Amherst, Massachusetts to trade doorknob for a Coleman camp stove.
  4. September 24, 2005, he went to California and traded the camp stove for a Honda generator.
  5. November 16, 2005, he traded the generator for an empty keg, IOU to fill the keg, & neon Budweiser sign.
  6. December 8, 2005, he traded the “instant party” to Michel Barrette for a Ski-doo snowmobile.
  7. February 2006, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia.
  8. January 7, 2006, he traded the second spot on the Yahk trip for a refrigerated cube van truck.
  9. February 22, 2006, he traded the truck for a recording contract with Metalworks in Mississauga, Ontario.
  10. April 11, 2006, he traded the recording contract to Jody Gnant for a year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
  11. April 26, 2006, he traded the one year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona, for one afternoon with Alice Cooper.
  12. May 26, 2006, he traded the one afternoon with Alice Cooper for a KISS motorized snow globe.
  13. June 2, 2006, he traded the snow globe to Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.
  14. July 5, 2006, he traded the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan.

He traded up from a paperclip to a house!  Go Kyle!



“Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.”

-Will Rogers


Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking


Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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