Translator: Queenie Lee
Reviewer: Cristina Bufi-Pöcksteiner My name is Kyle,
I’m the red paperclip guy. But before I get started on that story, I want to draw attention
to this slide behind me. On the beginning
of every TED video out there, the whatever it’s called,
the screenshot that precedes the video, [where] everyone’s standing like this … all of them. So, demand more from TED,
post comments online poking fun at this, we need better screenshots
for these videos. We can make a better world of TED
with better screenshots. Onto the paperclip though. This is this kind of crazy idea
I had when I was – Y’know, about 10 years ago,
I was looking down at my desk, and I saw a red paperclip sitting there. And I said, “Y’know what, I remember
this game called ‘Bigger and Better’ where you start with something small,
trade it for something bigger, and then you repeat. I wonder what would happen if I took
this red paperclip and tried to trade it?” I posted a picture of that red paperclip
on a website called “craigslist.” Two girls named Ronnie and Karina
responded and said, “Hey, that’s pretty cool! We’d like to trade with you.
We got a pen shaped like a fish.” (Laughter) I was really excited, this was a cool pen. This was bigger and better
than a red paperclip. “How far can I go with this idea? Anybody want a pen shaped like a fish?” “Absolutely, my name is Annie, and I’ve got a doorknob
with a crazy face on it.” (Laughter) Two trades in, I’ve already
gone way up from a paperclip, and I was thinking, “How far can I go with this? Maybe I can keep going until one day
I owned a house or something from this.” Shawn says, “Come down to my place, I’ll cook your burgers, and I’ll trade you my camping stove
for that doorknob, because I need it to fix the knob
on my stovetop espresso maker. (Laughter) We’re moving liabilities into assets;
we’re creating value. We’re improving each other’s lives,
albeit on a small scale. But the Sergeant, David J,
of the US Marine Corps, he said, “I’ve been looking for
that exact model of camping stove. I’ve got extra generators,
would you like an electric generator?” To me this was a dream come true:
an electric generator. Finally, my teenage dreams of being able
to create power were realizing. (Laughter) Unfortunately, most people on the internet
didn’t suffer from a blackout, they didn’t need power. So, my trading in
for bigger and better things that I thought had value turned into a liability. It took me several weeks
to be able to trade this. But I actually found another person
just recently out of his teenage years who did want to create power
with this generator. His name was Martin,
and he was in New York City. He says, “Look, I’ve got
an empty beer keg, I’ll trade you an IOU
to fill the keg with beer and a neon with “Budweiser” sign. What do you say?” So I met up with him. We made the trade, and here’s us
showing all parts of the trade work. (Laughter) I rebranded the mishmash
of IOU beer keg and neon “Budweiser” sign, and called it an instant party. Does anybody out there want to party? “My name is Michel Brett, I’m a famous radio and TV personality
in the province of Quebec, and I want to make a trade with you.” “Absolutely Michel,
what do you have to trade?” “I’ll trade you my worst snowmobile.” I was intrigued just by the idea
of somebody’s worst snowmobile. It implied that he not only
had more than one snowmobile, but he was kind of cheeky
and willing to prove to me that, you know, I’ve got better ones,
but I’ll trade you my worst. I was really happy to trade with him. He was a great guy,
and it was a pretty nice snowmobile. Seeing how it was
the middle of winter in Canada, and it was very cold, and a snowmobile at that time of year
had more value than in the summer, a snowmobile magazine
called “SnoRiders West” called me up and said, “Hey, we would like to offer you
two trips for two to the Canadian Rockies in exchange for that snowmobile. It’ll probably give our magazine
some publicity, and who doesn’t want to go
to the Rockies at this time of year?” I said, “Yes, alright, what’s the catch?” They said, “The catch is
you can come to the Rockies; you can’t come to the town of Yahk
in British Columbia.” I said, “Alright, I got to find
a loophole around this.” So we decided to kind of blackmail
a national news organization. It’s a really long story,
but what ended up happening was I got on TV wearing the logo
for the shirt I was wearing. It was called Cintas, the uniform company. It was just sort of an inside joke: my cousin’s husband
had given me this shirt … an even longer story
to explain the whole thing. However, the head honcho of that company saw me on TV
with his corporate uniform on, and said, “Wait a second,
this is a huge liability to me, but it’s also an opportunity.” And we met up one night. He says, “I’d like to make
you a trade. What d’you say?” And I’m like: “I think that’s
the perfect way we can work together without selling our souls
to the corporate ownership devil.” He said, “Great, let’s meet up.” So we met up. He offered this van
for the trip for two to the Rockies, I drove the van to the Rockies;
he flew because the trip included that. And I wound up
with this giant, huge machine, much bigger than a paperclip, arguably better, worst fuel mileage, but to transport a lot better
things than just that. So, I said, “Does anybody
out there want to trade?” And I realized bigger and better
was just really getting bigger, but how could it get better,
what was the opportunity here? And I realized that I’ve been offered
a recording contract, a piece of paper, a promise, an opportunity to someone
who is good at music. “Does anybody want
to be a recording artist?” So I traded the van for the recording
contract with Brandon. He used it to drive around in his band, which was currently traveling around
in a 1988 Volkswagen Jetta. Moving up to the van
really helped him out. I took the recording contract. “Does anybody want
to be a recording artist?” It turns out pretty much
everyone in the world wants to record music. (Laughter) I was offered my soul from a soul singer, a pinkie finger. Someone actually offered me
their virginity, which is – (Laughter) I don’t know what the legalities, or – Needless to say, I said no, because Jody said to me, “Look, I’ve got a half a duplex
in Phoenix, Arizona. Half of it’s unrented. I’ll trade a year free rent
in my duplex for that. What do you say?” I said yes. I went down there. We made the trade
in front of the white picket fence. Very Americana. Now I had a year free rent. Her next door –
one of her tenants actually – Her next-door neighbor, Lesley,
found out about this. She says, “I want that free rent.” She offered me up
an afternoon with her boss. At first I was like this sort of sucks,
like oo-er-hoo … (Laughter) because I didn’t know who her boss was. She stood up – “I’ll bring him out.” I’m, “This is weird.” She brings out her boss’s head. Her boss was Alice Cooper because she worked
at Alice Cooper’s town in Phoenix as the manager of the restaurant. I was like, “An afternoon
with Alice Cooper, that’s pretty amazing,
what’s it’s going to be worth?” His tour manager called me up and says, “We’re on tour in Fargo, North Dakota. Come up, experience an afternoon
with Alice Cooper, see what it’s like.” And then after our afternoon
this happened live on stage. (Video starts) (Cheering) (Applause) (Video ends) Alice is a really nice guy –
this picture displays how nice he is. (Laughter) “Look, it’s great you’re doing this. You’ll find an Italian billionaire
who’s a big Alice Cooper fan. He’ll probably have several mansions.
He’d easily trade you one of them. Promise me one thing?” “What’s that?” Promise you won’t trade
an afternoon with me for a weekend with the Rolling Stones
or a night with KISS. (Laughter) I said, “Alright, I’ll try.” The phone rang, and it was Mark. Mark says, “I’m an amateur photographer
with a lot of KISS memorabilia. Are you be interested in any of that?” This is hard. I really wanted
to trade with him. “What do you have?” He says, “Well, I’ve got this,
I’ve got that, KISS posters, KISS guitars,
a KISS snow globe.” When he said KISS snow globe,
I immediately said, “Yes, and only the snow globe.” So, met up with Mark,
traded the afternoon with Alice Cooper, a priceless opportunity
for a KISS snow globe. And the whole world
kind of sort of like oo-oo-oo – and I was like this is great,
it lights up, changes colors. (Laughter) Here’s some of the various
online responses from the video. This is the worst trade
that I’ve ever heard of, bar none. (Laughter) This is possibly the dumbest decision
I’ve ever seen anyone make … ever. (Laughter) Except for the people on Jerry Springer. (Applause) Other people were much
more eloquent in their delivery. (Laughter) And this was the only time
during the entire project where I had another trade lined up. Every other trade
had come along serendipitously, and it’d just been this
amazing experience. However, two months previous to all this,
this guy had called me up and said, “Hey, my name is Corbin Bernsen,
I’m a huge Hollywood actor. I’m making a movie and I’d like to offer a paid, speaking,
credited role in a Hollywood film. Are you interested in trading for that?” I had just done
the recording contract trade, and was like, “Yes, absolutely,
this sounds perfect.” He hung up the phone, and I’m, “Corbin Bernsen,
who is this guy?” It turns out he is very well known,
he’s been in many major movies, and he also, according to Wikipedia, has the world’s largest
snow globe collection, over 6,500 snow globes. (Laughter) Since it was Wikipedia I knew it was true, (Laughter) and I just sort of kept it
in the back of my head. When Mark said he had a KISS snow globe,
I was like,”This is perfect.” Called Corbin: “Do you want
the KISS snow globe?” “Send a picture.” Sent one. Corbin called back,
“Not only do I want it, I need it.” (Laughter) While these comments
were coming in like dumbasses, etc, I had no backup plan, and luckily for the project
and for Corbin, he didn’t get hit by a bus
and he was still alive, and we made a trade. He showed us into his snow-globe lair
of over 6,000 snow globes, which looks kind of like this. (Laughter) Following this, the Economic Development Officer
of the town of Kipling, Saskatchewan, a fellow named Bert Roth,
called me up and said, “We see that you’ve been
doing this project. Our town has a couple
extra houses that we own. Would there be a potential that maybe we could trade
one of these houses for something you have?” I say, “I have a role in the movie.” He’s like, “That’d be perfect: What we were thinking is having
a huge house warming party, a huge celebration, inviting everyone
in the world to come to Kipling. We could offer an opportunity: we’ll call it ‘Kipling Idol.’ We’ll have live auditions
for the movie role, here, right in town.” I said, “That’s absolutely perfect, Bert.
What you need to do to make this happen?” He’s,”Well, we need
town council approval.” I say, “Alright, if you can get it,
that’d be great.” He called me back two weeks later: “I did it, I got town council approval,
we can make the trade.” Turns out town council approval was getting two people
to put their hand in the air. But, full credit to Bert,
he made it happen. And we traveled to Kipling,
and there we are. That’s how you trade
a paperclip for a house. And that’s the house. (Applause) The best part about
this whole project is fun, making the trades for things. Easier to tell the story with the objects,
but it was the people behind it. In Kipling, apparently, Mounties
sign the deeds to traded houses. We had a huge house warming party, over 3,500 people
came to the town of Kipling, a town of under 1,000 people, for an entire weekend. There were live auditions on stage, 500 to 600 people in the crowd
including the volunteer fire department, in a capacity 300-person building. So, yeah, they let it slide,
but it was an amazing experience. Corbin Bernsen went out on stage,
the next day in town, and said, “Here’s the winner
of the movie role. Written on his back
was the name Nolan Hubbard. Nolan Hubbard had just graduated
from high school, was making minimum wage
at The Bottle Depot. Two months after this picture was taken, he was down in Los Angeles
working on a film with Corbin. An amazingly talented person who, without this opportunity
to make a film, might have not had that chance. And it was all about the people saying, “Yes, let’s build something,
let’s do something together, let’s collaborate,
let’s see what happens.” That was what one red paperclip
was all about. There, at this house warming party
in Kipling, Saskatchewan, Karina had the original red paperclip
around her neck in a picture frame. And people were saying to me like, “Wow, you traded with a paperclip,
but don’t you wish you had it back now?” (Laughter) That’s got to be worth a lot of money.
That’s got to be – It’s really famous. And I said to them that day
what I still say today: “It wasn’t about the paperclip, it’s not about having it,
or selling it for what it’s worth. If I hadn’t traded away
that red paperclip, I’d just be a guy sitting there at a desk
holding a paperclip in his hand, wondering what would happen
if I did something with the paperclip.” So … if you have a paperclip,
trade it away. You might only get a fish pen, but it might be the single step
that leads to an amazing journey. And, for me, that journey
will be off this red circle. So, I wish you the best. (Applause) (Cheering)

What if you could trade a paperclip for a house? | Kyle MacDonald | TEDxVienna
Tagged on:                                         

100 thoughts on “What if you could trade a paperclip for a house? | Kyle MacDonald | TEDxVienna

  • October 4, 2019 at 2:25 am
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    I have a red clip, does anyone want to trade with me?

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 3:52 am
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    It’s Shawn’s dad… like if u know what I mean

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 2:16 pm
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    WOW

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 3:14 pm
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    Then I’d have 100 houses…

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 6:45 pm
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    Yeah, This is big brain time.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 9:22 pm
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    And then he traded the house for magic beans
    Office fans where u at

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 12:53 am
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    The man lowkey reminds me of Leonard from TBBT

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 4:12 am
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    This guy is a genius.

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 7:10 am
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    Here's a paper clip and thanks for the kiss snow globe instead of the guitar and thanks to the Hollywood actor and the house

    Like bruh I can only trade a paper clip for a different one

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 7:57 am
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    I guess Dwight never forgot his “Art of the Swap”

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 9:25 am
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    Gaten mattarzo

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 9:36 am
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    I have a booger, who wants to trade?

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 10:21 am
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    This is absolutely amazing!! I have to do this someday!!!

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 1:45 pm
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    Just imagine what he could trade the house for? I want to see this grow into millions !

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 3:59 pm
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    The truth is he started with a paperclip but did not actually trade the paperclip for a house lol

    Reply
  • October 5, 2019 at 10:45 pm
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    that trade when he got the stove was a steal

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:47 pm
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    Who else is getting Alexei vibes?

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm
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    How come ted does not come to his talks?

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 8:50 pm
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    He looks like Alexei in the Alice cooper photo

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 11:01 pm
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    Imagine having a paper clip business

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 11:49 pm
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    Title:
    Millennials: nervous sweating

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 11:40 am
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    Girl who traded the paper clip is regretting it

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 5:58 pm
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    We played this game once as well en would Just knock on Doors to trade.. Two groups started off with a pen and 1 of the groups ended with an inflateable castle with rubber swords.. In a few hours.. You can make serious money out of this game xD

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 3:37 am
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    "THEY CALLED ME A MADMAN"

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 1:51 pm
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    He should have traded for a farm

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 3:48 pm
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    Damn thats one long trade sidequest

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 5:48 pm
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    Now cash in the transport cost plus travels and its not free anymore. Really, really, really cheap, but it aint free

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 12:10 am
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    I would do anything to get kiss items

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 12:54 am
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    7:09 “OH gOd WHaT hAPpeNEd tO YoU tOm CRuiSe!!!”

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 2:30 am
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    But can you trade a house for a paperclip🤔

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 5:33 am
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    need to start with 5 or 6 paperclips. 5 or 6 HOUSES

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 3:13 pm
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    he learnt all of this from villagers in minecraft

    Reply
  • October 9, 2019 at 10:45 pm
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    most people have a house, but someones virginity can only be taken 3 times.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 2:14 pm
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    Stonks

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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    what if you could trade a paperclip for a farm

    old macdonald had a farm iyaiyayou

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 9:31 pm
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    So this ted talk is a about how he induced several people to do terrible businesses

    Reply
  • October 10, 2019 at 10:23 pm
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    His parents must be so proud

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 1:24 am
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    But imagine if you could trade your house for a paper clip

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 3:44 am
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    Let’s be honest a red paper clip is better than a cool looking pen.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 9:32 am
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    that would be cool

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 12:54 pm
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    Nothing to something in rocket league

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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    So this is the barter system?
    Crazy

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 2:05 pm
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    The only thing you can learn from this is the value of things that together are worth more than the sum of all parts.
    The paperclip wasn't traded. It was publicity, it was comedy, it was irony.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 8:58 pm
    Permalink

    YouTube Recommended:
    2015 – nah
    2016 – nah
    2017 – maybe
    2018 – possibly
    2019 – okay now!

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 9:18 pm
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    Omg at 1:04 that guy looks like alexei omg!!!

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 12:14 am
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    Any nobody stood up at the end because a hero was not made this day.

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 12:53 am
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    I would’ve kept the role bc I probably would get bank and be able to buy a few houses

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 1:12 am
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    The ending trade to it all was a TED talk.

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 1:38 am
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    STONKS

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 2:25 am
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    what a pity fuel aint free… 🙄😂

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 2:48 am
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    Excuse me Ted, He’s in the pose with his arms out. You need to find a better screenshot

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 9:53 am
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    Who else just wants to fish pen and nothing else

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 10:33 am
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    In an alternate universe he might be sitting with a red paper clip in his hand …… this is motivation for me!

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 3:15 pm
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    I tried this and got $1000
    With that $1000 I got 100k paperclips
    With those paperclips I built a house
    With that house I got a wife
    With that wife I got a kid
    With that kid I got stress
    With that stress I got a gun
    With that gun I got a deer
    With that deer I got a job
    With that job I got a business
    With that business I got a tv show
    With that tv show I became the prez
    And my name is trump

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 5:21 pm
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    Very cool, but can you trade a house for a paperclip?

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 8:03 pm
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    You can rob a house with 2 paperclips tho

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 9:33 pm
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    You look like alexei from stranger things

    Reply
  • October 12, 2019 at 11:06 pm
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    Paperclip? Think bigger … try a bobby-pin. Whoa, you’re welcome.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 5:40 am
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    Step 1:
    Be famous

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 5:57 am
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    He got a house out of a fcking house think about that people work hard for money and he uses the power of a paper clip GG my guy

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 12:15 pm
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    Well, i started with an apple. Now i have a nice Copper skull and a Sword. Problem is, i like that skull.

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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    Stonks

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 3:49 pm
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    8:14 Donald Trump had a word with Jared

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 7:56 pm
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    Hi. I have a paaperclip. Dont laugh but does anyone want to trade? I will take anything for now

    Reply
  • October 13, 2019 at 11:09 pm
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    Ooooooo i live in fargo!

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 12:27 am
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    Gaycum

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 2:23 am
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    STONKS

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 5:25 am
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    Only in Canada let a mf try n trade a paper clip in America

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 6:19 am
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    1) Get red paperclip
    2) Trade for fish pen
    3) ???
    4) House

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 6:52 am
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    Surely he paid the capital gains taxes on each trade, right? 🤨

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 4:45 pm
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    Stonks

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 5:59 pm
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    Trading air for mars

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 8:11 pm
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    This is the kind of guy to spend all his points on barter, speech and sneak on his fallout characters.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 8:17 pm
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    2 weeks after, he trade moon…

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 10:25 pm
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    I put this on as I was cleaning off my desk and found a single paperclip. I think it’s a sign – will be bringing it into school to see if I can get anything.

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 10:52 pm
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    Honestly so happy for alexei if you know you know

    Reply
  • October 14, 2019 at 11:49 pm
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    Who looks on crags list and says, “hey, I sure need that singular red paper clip”

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 5:18 am
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    STONKS

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 1:21 pm
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    Guess what the thumpnail is? :'D

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 5:33 pm
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    I traded a dirt cell for an island off the coast of America this is how…

    Reply
  • October 15, 2019 at 11:53 pm
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    Stonks

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 2:51 am
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    This is so amazing😂‼️

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 3:12 am
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    Cool story bro

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 4:05 am
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    I mean… If I was given a red paperclip I would trade my house for it.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 1:52 pm
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    He should write a whole book about this

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 3:27 pm
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    Pretty awesome, I love it😊🌻!!!

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 9:53 pm
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    I traded a paper clip for a house. It was holding a check for the price of the house.

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    this is the definition of success

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 10:39 pm
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    I traded my snickers from my Halloween candy for m&ms

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 10:41 pm
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    Stonks 👆

    Reply
  • October 16, 2019 at 10:54 pm
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    I want to see him TRY to trade a paper clip for the Krabby Patty formula

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 12:44 am
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    Anyone have a paper clip they could give me?

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 2:18 am
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    This entire video is just:

    STONKS

    Reply
  • October 17, 2019 at 3:28 am
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    But what could he trade the house for a bussian in the mafia?

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 1:20 am
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    Trading my Spit for a mansion anyone down?

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 1:37 am
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    What was the film?

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 2:54 am
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    better screenshots por favor

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 2:57 am
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    when they don't show the video

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 8:00 am
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    Ted talks titles are misleading allot of the time and its anoying -.-

    Reply

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