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Is the Business Card Dead? 370

Posted by timothy
from the want-the-mitnick-one-for-sure dept.
theodp writes "Attending SXSW, HBR's Susy Jackson was dismayed to find her beloved business cards no longer carried the cachet they did back in the day. Writes Jackson: 'I had a lovely conversation with two young entrepreneurs from New York and when it was time to part ways, I used that old line: 'Here, let me give you my card.' They both paused, looking unsure about whether or not I was serious. Then I saw the understanding wash over them. I was speaking a forgotten language. A business card. How precious.' And while Jackson appreciates the convenience of exchanging e-business cards, Twitter handles, and phone numbers (texting), she's still a softie for a good business card: 'Some cards are plain; others speak to their holders' personalities through odd trim sizes, quirky color schemes, or clever word play. Each will tell me something more about the person who gave it to me than I could have known from their contact info alone.' So, how telling are The Business Cards of Tech Giants?"
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Is the Business Card Dead?

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  • by adonoman (624929) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:36PM (#35522854)
    Business cards give you a quick and easy way to exchange all those bits of contact info. It's either that or we both sit and stare at our phones for a while typing in names and numbers etc.. making sure spelling is correct, etc.. With a business card, I hand it over and the actual details can be handled later. Obviously, if there was some standard way to hit a single button on phones and tap them together to exchange information, that would be easier - but at this point even everything like that just takes too much fiddling.
  • This is just silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:37PM (#35522874)

    And while Jackson appreciates the convenience of exchanging e-business cards, Twitter handles, and phone numbers (texting),

    And how exactly does a normal person hand someone new an 'e-business card' without spelling out your email address to them...?

    The whole point of a business card is that I don't have to spell out my name, phone number, and email address to people in person.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:38PM (#35522900)

    They probably paused and look at each other because they dont have a business card and they feel embarrassed.

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:42PM (#35522952) Homepage

    In particular in East Asia, the exchange of business cards is more important. It is not something you just grab and stuff into your pocket. It is part of the formal introduction. You give and receive the card with both hands. You read it over, and comment on it. You store the card carefully. It is a matter of respect. Showing up to a meeting in Korea without business cards is like showing up without pants.

    The exchange of formal credentials, whether letters of recommendation, letters of passage, ambassadorial appointments, charters, etc., has a long and distinguished history, in which business cards are one small part. It is understandable that this might disappear in the US at some time. Of course, in the US it apparently is not necessary for businessmen to wear socks either.

  • by SalsaDoom (14830) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:45PM (#35522990) Journal

    More than this, you can now easily put a 2D barcode on your business card so it can be scanned into a phone quickly and easily. I'm a entrepreneur and I wouldn't be without my business cards. Nerds might think they are outdated, but nerds aren't the usual people that you do business with. A lot of this sounds like the sort of tech-snobbery that losses sales to more pleasant people. They are also perfect for writing short notes on too.

    No, business cards are very important. There are also legal reasons for keeping a business card on you as well.

  • by MaXintosh (159753) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:52PM (#35523106)
    That is, without a doubt, the worst business card I've ever seen. Maybe he does well for himself, but if someone handed me that - be it a vendor or whoever - I would toss it. I'm not carrying around your billboard. And that card makes him look like a giant, pompous jerk with an ego the size of Jupiter.
  • by adonoman (624929) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:56PM (#35523164)
    Again with the fiddling - I have to make sure that the other person has a phone that can run the app, and has the app installed. Then I have to let them know I intend to use the app to transfer my contact info, and we both have to run the app. Various PDAs have had similar functionality for a while, but again with very limited use. Bluetooth is at least standardized, but takes forever to connect and transfer data. I can have my business card in your hand in less time than it takes to wake up your phone, and it requires nearly 0 effort on your part to receive it - just pocket it for now, and decide later what to do with it. It doesn't even require interrupting the flow of conversation.
  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by isopropanol (1936936) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:12PM (#35523324) Journal

    How else are you to swap twitter ID's, email addresses, etc?

  • by Infonaut (96956) <> on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:17PM (#35523374) Homepage Journal
    In other words, naiive hipsters who don't really know much about business yet think business cards are dead. Judging what's going on in the real world by what you encounter at SXSW is a losing game.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:22PM (#35523418)
    They contain the basic information necessary to start communication. In that respect they are (and will always be) invaluable. The basic business problem they solve is how to record contact information about people you meet. They're much more professional than scribbling a note on a scrap of paper - and then losing it.

    If those new entrepreneurs were clueless about them, they won't stay in business long because they won't have any contacts.

  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:26PM (#35523478)

    Those "two young entrepreneurs from New York" were just embarrassed that they had forgotten to bring (or make) any cards.

    I bet their business plan is full of holes. Forget small things, forget big things...

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoberFett (127537) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:27PM (#35523484)

    You need to know the person's name to look them up presumably? How do you remember their name a week after you get home from a tiring conference? Write it down perhaps? What if they could give you a pre-printed card with the name already on it...

    It's so crazy, it just might work.

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis