February 24, 2004
Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews
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Without Barter Mother Earth News Would Not Have Survived!
Founder Traded On His Belief, Enthusiasm and Dreams
In the summer of 1970 John Shuttlesworth pasted-up the first issue of his dream—Mother Earth News—on the kitchen table in his cramped one bedroom apartment in Southern Ohio.
Lacking funds (for a second issue) he numbered the first edition, to give it a "longer life." And then proceeded to print as many copies as he could afford, approximately 3,000.
With his first issue in hand he energetically contacted other publishers, wanting to trade subscription ads, so he could generate sufficient revenue to print issue #2 and ultimately fulfill his dream.
Propitiously, Rolling Stone magazine's teenage publishing phenom, Jann Wenner, okayed an ad exchange...no doubt because he had empathy for a novice in a situation he was in not so long ago.
This trade of space made the impossible, possible, because Shuttlesworth received enough revenue from his ad in Rolling Stone to get out the second issue. A decade later, Mother Earth News was subsequently sold by Shuttlesworth for $10 million!
And typically, when Shuttlesworth's success story is reported this historic trade rarely merits a mention, much less the attention it truly deserves. Because without the trade there likely wouldn't have been a second issue, nor of course, the $10 million payoff down the line.
Undoubtedly many others have been inspired and motivated to action because of Shuttlesworth's barter experience. It's a simple illustration of leverage possibilities, as well as the creation of wealth realities, that are obtainable when one's mind-set is expanded beyond the mentality of thinking "only cash."
Although Shuttlesworth was unable to purchase the Rolling Stone ad space with cash, he used other assets (enthusiasm, coupled with a page in his fledgling publication) to achieve his objectives.
That's why seeing how others have used barter to further their advancement is interesting, and potentially so rewarding. Regularly in BarterNews we report on such improbable events as the Shuttlesworth trade.
Why have such events repeatedly taken place? Because we live in a complex world, a place where "values" are in the eye of the beholder, and wealth is considerably more than just one's (be it a company or individual) physical assets or dollars in the bank.
Editor's Note: This story about a direct, one-to-one trade, is indicative of the vast majority of trading now taking place worldwide. When looked at in terms of total valuation, the ubiquitousness of direct trading (over $1 trillion annually) dwarfs the trading activity that occurs through barter companies.
One example of such direct trading occurred last November when Richard Rainwater's Crescent Real Estate Equities Co., traded its giant 42-square-mile planned community outside of Houston, known as The Woodlands, to Rouse Co. in return for the Hughes Center office complex in Las Vegas.
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Cruise Inventory Grows As Net Yields Fall
Cruise operators are counting on a surge of retirees starting in 2006 to help fill their ships. Until then there's an enormous amount of unsold inventory, considerably enhancing the possibilities of barter. Last year, for example, around 900,000 cruise vacations went unpurchased!
Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which hold a combined 70% market share, saw their net yields (net revenues per available passenger berth days) fall 9% and 11% respectively, since 2000.
Overall demand for cruises has increased only 6.4% annually since 2000. Despite that number, North American cruise operators will add eight ships this year, increasing passenger capacity 12.3% to 10.4 million.
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Accenture's Connection To EBay Helps Move Excess Inventory
Technology consultant Accenture Ltd. (formerly Anderson Consulting) hopes to profit from the explosive growth of online shopping by helping big manufacturers such as Sony and Hewlett-Packard offload excess inventory on internet auction site eBay. The demand is huge: U.S. businesses process about $60 billion a year in excess inventory, according to Accenture.
Accenture has signed up 60 customers in the last year, including such names as Texas Instruments and Fujitsu—they charge an average 10% in transaction fees for helping companies move their excess inventory. Thanks to its connections to Fortune 500 companies, Accenture's business took off quickly...rolling right over smaller rivals such as ChannelAdvisor and Auctionworks.
The eBay service has helped Accenture nearly double sales of what it categorizes as "business process operations" in the last fiscal year. The company's success already has attracted new competitors such as Europe's largest software shop, SAP, which is urging its customers to sell close-out items on eBay with its help.
Merchants using the service are getting returns 22% higher than they would from liquidators, and some companies report they are acquiring new customers by selling on eBay. For more information: www.connectiontoebay.com.
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Networking Events Provide Important Value
Small business owners join more than 14,000 national, trade, and professional organizations each year and a vastly greater number of regional, state, community and neighborhood associations, according to a poll by the National Federation of Independent Business.
The poll found that almost 60% of business owners belong to at least one business organization, and 40% hold membership in two or more. Forty-three percent of those who belong to business groups attend annual conferences and other events, with nearly half going for continuing education and 29% going for the networking opportunities.
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