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Paper Clip Man

Posted by TestOut Staff on

We've all heard the story about Kyle MacDonald, the Canadian blogger who started out with a single red paper clip and made a lot of trades, some wacky and others less so, right on up to the point at which he became the proud owner of a ... house! Imagine that. Actually, you don't even have to imagine it. Kyle's story is so famous that there are accounts of it everywhere. You can read about it (naturally) in Kyle's book, One Red Paperclip, or watch his TEDx Talk. Behold:

Now, before you quit your day job to get in on the lucrative trading market for red paperclips, let's reflect that, well, nothing really. Lots of things have far more transactional value to one person than to another. All you need to do is find someone who wants what you have and has something they're willing to part with that you think you could use to keep moving up the food chain. Stop trading whenever you feel like what you've got is totally awesome.

The red paperclip lore can be spun a lot of different ways, but one impressive aspect of it is that of discovering hidden value in something that you didn't suspect was really worth anything. For a lot of people, that thing they didn't suspect was really worth anything is often their own native intellect. For whatever reason, a lot of us get down on ourselves, particularly when it come to contemplating science and technology. "Oh," we say, "my mind doesn't work like that."

That, my friends, is just not cool. Some people may have an aptitude for computer science, but nobody walks into their first close encounter of the IT kind knowing all of the facts already. Not even close. The only real difference between you and the person in your life who you think of as being "smart about computers" (for example) is time, study, and practice. If you're willing to trade enough of those three things, then we can pretty much promise you'll end up with something extraordinary.

Anyone can learn about IT, and anyone who learns about IT and starts to build up an array of IT skills and knowledge can get locked into a successful and lucrative career. It's not quite as simple as starting with a red paperclip, and most of the steps up along the journey will require a little bit more than the luck of proverbial draw (Corbin Bernsen wanting a KISS motorized snow globe? Pure luck), but you'll end up with something even more exciting and valuable than a house.


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