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Greg Kyte 2A couple months ago I was working on a joke about Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. The punchline needed an extremely devalued, exotic currency. So I googled “devalued currency,” and that’s when I found out that dongs are the currency of Vietnam.

Disclaimer: If you Google “Vietnamese Dong,” you will see questionable websites with banners that say things like, “In a Down Market, the Dong Stays Up” and “Dong Talk.” Search results also include various graphic images like the following:

Dong-500

As soon as I learned about them, I wanted to get my hands on some dongs. So I sent an email to my banker with the subject “Can you help me get a hold of some dongs?”

When I thought about what kind of dongs I wanted, I discovered that I was interested in very specific types of dongs. First off, I wanted physical dongs. I wasn’t interested in logging onto some kind of dong website. I wanted actual dongs that I could touch. Also, I wasn’t interested in large bills. I wanted my dongs as small as possible.

Price sensitivity is an issue. Dongs can go up and down quite a bit in one day. As of the writing of this article, $1 USD can buy you 21,276.60 dongs. Apparently dongs are so sensitive that Zions First National Bank refuses to touch them.

Most people looking to score some dongs online might start with Craigslist. I decided to start with eBay. Unlike my bank, dongs were plentiful on eBay. I started bidding on some random dongs here and there. Then I stumbled across exactly what I was looking for: 50,000 dongs (one hundred 500-dong notes) for $20 (plus $4.49 for shipping). These were uncirculated notes. I was getting 100 crisp, clean, virgin dongs.

I also won an auction for a 20-dong note for $0.80 which included shipping. It was an old wrinkly dong from 1964. It wasn’t my best decision. I basically just jumped on the first dong I saw. I’m a little ashamed of my poor judgment, but I guess we all have regrets.

Altogether, I purchased 50,020 dongs for $25.29. In other words, for $1 USD, I bought 1977.86 dongs. I purchased dongs for over 10 times their value because I’m very picky about my dongs.

My purpose for amassing dongs was to sell them after my stand up shows. One day I came home from work to find my mailbox stuffed with dongs, and then it started. In one weekend, I sold 3520 dongs for $8.00. Thats 440 dongs for $1 USD – almost 50 times their actual value! The margin on my dongs was 350 percent!

And then it got even better. On August 27, I performed stand up for a fundraiser for the Provo LGBTQ Pride Festival. I figured that people attending a LGBTQ pride festival fundraiser would love dongs. That night I sold 2500 dongs for $25.00 – one hundred dongs for $1 USD, over 200 times their value on the foreign exchange market.

One of the unintended benefits of dabbling in dongs is that it became crystal clear that there is no such thing as a commodity. Although everything is commoditizable, nothing is impervious to differentiation.

Currency should be the ultimate commodity. If you’ve seen one dong, you’ve seen them all. But I happily bought dongs for 10 times their value, and people gladly purchased my dongs for 20 times what I paid for them.

I’m not the low cost leader when it comes to my dongs. Rather, I take ordinary dongs, I create customers by giving them a memorable dong-related experience, and they pay big money to get their hands on my dongs.

If your tax or assurance services are getting commoditized, just start thinking about dongs.

Greg was born in Akron, Ohio, in the shadow of the Firestone tire factory. He began to swim competitively when he was eight, swimming for the Mountlake Terrace Lemmings. He graduated in 1995 from the University of Washington with a math degree. He chose math for the ladies. After serving ten-years as an 8th grade math teacher, he decided it was time for a career change, mainly because he “couldn’t stand those little bastards.” He began his accounting career with a local CPA firm in Orem, Utah, where he consistently failed the QuickBooks ProAdvisor advanced certification exam. Greg currently works as the Controller for the Utah Valley Physicians Plaza. He lives in Provo, Utah, with his wife and two kids. He enjoys eating maple bars, drinking Diet Pepsi, and swearing.

Category:
Business, Other Thoughts
Comments:
11
  • Jason Blumer

    On 09-09-2013 at 2:01 am, Jason M Blumer, CPA said:

    This post was hilarious (and made me very uncomfortable)! I guess there are no such things as commodities.

    Reply
  • On 09-09-2013 at 3:01 am, Phillip said:

    Wonderful!! A +100 on the Deadspin-o-Meter.

    Reply
  • On 09-09-2013 at 3:12 am, Joe Manzelli said:

    This is just another example of the humor that masks the genius of Mr. Kyte. That’s right, Mr. because much respect for him. Who would have known that in Utah that dongs go for so much more than their market rate?

    Reply
  • On 09-09-2013 at 12:32 pm, Melinda Guillemette said:

    Well, it’s official. After reading this, I have reverted to my 13-year-old self, giggling inappropriately.

    Reply
  • On 09-09-2013 at 1:33 pm, Ed Kless said:

    Pure genius!

    Reply
  • On 09-09-2013 at 1:41 pm, Justin said:

    I love Greg’s passion for dongs, it shines through in this post. Did you make it rain dongs at any of your shows?

    Reply
  • On 09-09-2013 at 4:00 pm, Greg Kyte said:

    I have considered making it rain dongs. However, I am trying to make a profit with my dongs, so I don’t just want to go blowing a bunch of dongs.

    Reply
    • On 09-09-2013 at 4:23 pm, Jason M. Blumer, CPA.CITP said:

      Uhem… now the comments are making me uncomfortable.

      Reply
    • On 09-09-2013 at 10:23 pm, Justin said:

      Fair enough

      Reply
  • On 09-09-2013 at 7:18 pm, Geni Whitehouse said:

    One of the Top 100 laughs of the year from a Top 100 guy! Go Greg!!

    Reply
  • On 09-11-2013 at 10:27 pm, Josh Zweig said:

    If only my Vietnamese tailor made suits were as valuable as your dongs. While purchased with dongs, they have since weathered away (due to poor tailoring and moth eating) and now make excellent rags for dusting my book shelf and night stand where I keep my remaining dongs. Had I known the suit was actually the commodity in the transaction, I would have kept my dongs.

    Reply

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