Friday, January 28, 2011

Kyle MacDonald had a paperclip...

Ever heard of him? Kyle MacDonald? No, he does not live on a farm and there is no catchy chorus of vowels sung about him. Kyle MacDonald is a young guy with a creative mind. I like creative, out of the box thinkers, so I was intrigued by him. Let me tell you more.

I walked out of English class today with a deeper understanding of paperclip uses (the Prof -who might be THE MOST eccentric woman I've ever met-made us write for ten minutes about uses for the paperclips she "gifted" us at the beginning of the class, to expand our boxed in minds) and an assignment to google "ONE RED PAPERCLIP."

I went home (or to the house I am babysitting actually) and jumped on that assignment. She hadn't explained what this red paperclip was at all about (all she said was to google that, and not just "red paperclip" or we'd end up on a porn site. Great...) It was an ambiguous sounding name and I was curious to know more. I was thinking it was an art project or something...

Wrong. It was a project, but not of art.

Now, I am not sure how I had never heard of this. It all went on in 2005 (yes, I'm a little behind).  Regardless of all that I still want to blog about it so I will. Freedom of press...

Kyle MacDonald had one red paperclip. And over craigslist he proposed a bartering game (e-i-e-i-oooo?). He wanted to trade that paperclip for something and he planned on continuing the trading until he got "a house. Or an island. Or a house on an island."

And he did! That crazy boy, he did it! First he traded his paperclip for a fish pen, then a doorknob, and on he went for a year, making a series of 14 trades, until he traded for a HOUSE!

He blogged his whole journey, complete with a huge sense of humor (the guy is funny, let me tell you) and pictures. I like blogs. I like humor. I like creative thinkers. So this guy's project was a win for me. And he got famous for his silly idea. Not only did he get to meet some incredible (and famous) people, but he now tours speaking, he has been on commercials, he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for both "Most Successful Internet Trade" and "World's Largest Red Paperclip"(a giant one was made in his honor), and he wrote a book which can be bought in 14 different languages! Wow. Just with a paperclip? I guess that is a good place to get started.

If you, like me, hadn't heard of this guy I would encourage you to go check him out. You'll at least get a couple legitimate "LOL's" out of it, and you might get inspired to think a little more creatively. Maybe not about office supplies but...something.

What could you do? "Small is the new big," I have been told. Start imagining. In the words of Kyle himself "I [you] need to think outside the paperclip."

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