Colorado Entrepreneur Says: "SwapStart My Business!"

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Uses collectible National Geographic magazines to "trade up" for capital

Grammie had a big hand in raising me

Colorado business professional, Randy Kady, is using the gift of a lifetime to "trade up" for capital to own a small business. Kady inherited decades worth of collectible National Geographic magazines in 1999 from his grandmother when she passed away. That gift represented a lifetime of love and commitment to her grandson.

"Grammie had a big hand in raising me," Kady says today. "Here's a lesson she taught me at every opportunity: If you can't get through a door, go through a window. If the windows are all locked, mail yourself and get in through the mail slot. The lesson: if you want something to happen, get creative and make it happen." Now, 10 years after her passing, Grammie's example is Kady's inspiration for pursuing a lifelong dream -- owning his own small business.

This past year, Kady has started taking Grammie's advice. The result? - an endeavor that's part social experiment, part startup strategy and one man's creative pursuit of a dream.

"I'll trade any issue of my National Geographic collection for anything that's 'bigger and better," said Kady. "That item will then be traded with the same condition. We'll keep going until I've raised enough capital to start my business. It's a win-win! Everyone gets what they want."

A quick look at reveals National Geographic collectibles dating as far back as 1941, with complete and near-complete annual runs beginning in 1965--more than 40 years are represented in the collection. The cover of every magazine--over 380 in all--has been carefully scanned and posted for inspection in both thumbnail and high-resolution images on

Although Kady's effort has not been widely promoted, many have already responded to the call for trades, including swaps for a high-quality, Leather Military Map Case (for the May 1983 issue), an original oil painting by R. Telson (for the February 1965 issue) and even a beautiful Dragonfly Lamp that was obtained through a series of trades (the March 1996 issue was traded for the complete set of the Chronicles of Narnia which was then traded for the Dragonfly lamp). A complete list of current trades and available issues can be found at

Traders have a variety of reasons for wanting back-issues of National Geographic:

  • Some want to complete their own collections of the magazine;
  • Some like to collect issues that cover historic moments such as the first moon walk or the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens;
  • Others collect an issue that corresponds with the birth date or anniversary of friends and loved ones--and give it as a gift;
  • Some fell in love with a place profiled in an issue and want to collect the authoritative voice on that place;
  • Some happen to like the cover photo;
  • And some just want to help Randy reach his goal.

"I know it's a little crazy to think that you could finance a business startup just by trading magazines," Kady says. "But I also know that Grammie believed in miracles--and I do too. Now I'm excited to see just how this will all work out!"

For more information, to see current magazines and trades available, and to contact Randy Kady, please visit today. is an independent startup effort by Randy Kady only. Neither nor Randy Kady is associated with, endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with National Geographic magazine or the National Geographic Society.

NOTE: JPEG images of Randy Kady, National Geographic covers, and are available upon request. Email your request to: randy at swapstartmybiz dot com.


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Randy Kady

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