Joe Marcus was given a pen and asked to trade it.
Eight weeks later, he’s standing in front of a 50-person audience, holding a photo of his new Ford F-250 pick up truck.
Last night at the 026 Hostler Building, Ultimate Trader Challenge at Penn State- sponsored by Ebay and Engineering Entrepreneurship awarded their top five winners. Successful entrepreneur Dan Kariv was the chief guest of the event and spoke to the audience about entrepreneurship.
Inspired by Kyle MacDonald’s quest to trade from a red paper clip to a house, Penn State student John Oliver created the Penn State Ultimate Trader Challenge. He gave the challengers a recycled bottle pen and asked them to make a goal to trade to an object of more value. From Jan. 25 to March 17, 118 students traded locally to internationally and posted their finds every week on the challenge forum.
“[The experience] was mind blowing,” Oliver (senior-energy, business and finance) said.
Traders used various resources including Facebook and Craigslist. Some even haggled at shops. The goals of the challengers ranged from plane tickets to a hookah.
Marcus (junior-energy engineering) was the top winner of the challenge. His goal was to get a more reliable four-wheel drive car for his father to drive in the winter. After swapping a Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym to an out of shape elderly man for a truck, Marcus achieved his goal, he said.
The runner-ups were Tyler Mcdonough, Ben Szoch, Dan Givigliano and Ramy Labna. The most consistent trader winner was Michelle Mathason who bartered up to a 40-inch flat screen TV.
The winners were picked based off of consistency of the trades were made, the passion of the challenger and the final outcome, Oliver said.
The five top winners are given the opportunity to attend a private network dinner with companies including Dropbox, Oliver said. Marcus received a brand new Amazon Kindle and the runners-ups were given $100 gift cards.
The weekly winners were given either a T-shirt that say, “I am a Penn State Enteprenurer” or gift cards to various places.
Kariv, who created his first company at the age of 19, told the audience to stop asking for permission to act and to stop waiting for things to just happen.
“Number one… stop worrying that you are 19. Who cares?” Kariv said.
He asked the audience to stop limiting themselves and to think of something of value that they can deliver to others.
Oliver expects the challenge to become an annual event, he said. Ebay has become a sponsor of the event and Best Buy is interested in sponsoring, he said.