Seventeen-year-old Steven Ortiz made 14 trades over the last two years to seal the deal. He exchanged it for a better model, then an iPod, and then a series of bikes, the best of which he swapped for a MacBook Pro.
The laptop got swapped for a couple of motorbikes and then Ortiz moved into cars, ending up with a classic 1975 Ford Bronco that is now worth around $15,000. Moving to the Porsche was actually a downgrade, since it was valued at around $9,000.
Ortiz estimates that he spent around five or six hours a day scouring the site for good deals over the two year period, making it likely in Sleuth's view that one of the things Craigslist hasn't been able to find him is a girlfriend. But the case does highlight the enormous groweth in the availability of goods online.
For example, London Underground found that its stocks of some of the components in its older electronic signage had run out, and were not manufactured any more. A very costly plan was worked out to either upgrade the signage or manufacture custom parts to fill the shortfall. Then one of the engineers pointed out that he'd found the parts online for a few pounds and not to worry.
It's also had a knock-on effect on business plans. In the years of the dotcom boom the first thing most start-ups did was get cool office supplies, which explains why so many investors lost money. Sleuth spoke to a venture capitalist a few weeks ago who said she had been most impressed with a recent business plan were the founders had sourced all hardware (excluding hard drives for security reasons) and office equipment from cheap online sites. Such simple economy was a sign that business had its eye on the fundamentals she said.
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