A phone for a Porsche. To anyone else, it would have been an unthinkable trade – especially for someone so young.
However, he wasn’t going to let that stop him! It would take patience, plenty of research, and a little luck, but he wouldn’t stop until that sweet set of wheels sat in the driveway.
While some teens scramble to balance part time jobs with school, Steven Ortiz had an entirely different strategy.
He wanted a car and was prepared to get really creative with how he would get his hands on one. The plan? He was going to use a well-known, but little-used, Reddit hack.
The idea didn’t come from the Californian teen.
A few others had blazed past trails to financial success, however, he was ready and eager to prove he could play with the big Reddit barter boys. All he needed some something to get the ball rolling. So, one friend tossed him a second-hand cell phone.
It was the very thing Steven needed to get his foot into the barter section of Reddit.
Within those digital walls, countless people chatted, traded, and even scammed each other to get their hands on coveted items or up-trade to sell for cash in other threads. What was the first trade that set the amazing sequence of events in motion?
Someone out there was willing to swap the phone for an iPod touch.
It might seem like small beans nowadays, but back in 2008, this was a clear and winning upgrade. Through careful and methodical research, Steven found the next trade – which no one would have ever seen coming.
He got a dirt bike!
This opened an entirely new world of trading options, because there is a lot of turn-over in the world of dirt bikes. So, all he had to do was research what he had versus what he could get and make certain he was always getting the better deal. But this could only continue for so long until he would need another big-ticket item to breakthrough to the next level.
It fell into his lap in the form of a MacBook Pro.
While dirt bikes had a dedicated fandom, the brand-spanking-new computer would open a whole new kind of trading potential. He could have ended there and had plenty of bragging rights, but Steven wanted a car and wouldn’t stop until he got one! The next bit was just as impressive.
At the time, a MacBook Pro was a coveted item, and it wasn’t long until someone out there was more than willing to trade in their silver Toyota 4Runner.
Anyone at this point would think, “Great! You have something ready for when you get your licence!” But nope! Steven quickly found someone to swap it with a fancy golf cart.
It was getting closer to the endgame and the teen had to be extra carful about his deals.
It was like each barter was a long-thinking chess move towards his final prize. The climb became a little slower and more tedious – with several more exchanges within the bike and automobile world. What were his final moves?
It had been fourteen trades over two years.
A vintage 1975 Ford Bronco sat in his driveway, and he now had the licence to drive it. However, he had started with a specific goal in mind, and he wasn’t going to give up until he took the last step – which would also be the first time he would be on the “losing” side of the deal.
It was a sleek, silver 2000 Porsche Boxster.
To anyone else, it would have been crazy. However, he was more than willing to take the $9000 hit in value to get his dream car. After all, he could just jump on Reddit again if he changed his mind! But what did his parents think about their son’s journey.
Even though the barter-capades started when he was 15, Steven’s parents were more than supportive about the entire thing.
They would make sure any trades were done safely, other than that (and glancing at his computer once in a while), they let him do his thing. And what did Reddit think?
Steven became a digital bartering king.
He sat right up there with Kyle MacDonald – who became online-famous after he started with a paperclip … and eventually up-traded to a house. MacDonald got the idea from a show called “Bigger, Better”, where you go door to door asking people to swap objects. Both swappers, however, had the same advice.
It’s definitely not something anyone should do if they only have the goal of making money or lucking-out to an early retirement.
It should be more for the fun and exactment of the trade – sort of a hobby that might yield financial benefits on the side. Steven also had another interesting challenge for others.
He was more than ready to defend his new title and challenged anyone in the world to a barter-off event.
He also found it became a promising path to a career that, in the beginning, he had no idea he was gifted at. And it all started with an old cell phone.