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Is the Business Card Dead?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the want-the-mitnick-one-for-sure dept.

Businesses 370

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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370 comments

No (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522792)

They may not carry much importance, but yes they still get passed around in meetings.

Re:No (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523036)

This times a thousand. They are useful little things to have and pass around. Just this week I was asked for my card.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

isopropanol (1936936) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523324)

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

Re:No (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523436)

By sending electronic business cards. I haven't used paper business cards since the late 90s, when I could just beam my e-card via my Palm PDA (back then almost every single techie owned a Palm or compatible PDA). These days I can do the same by sending my e-card with my phone via SMS, email or even by displaying a QR code on my phone's screen and letting whoever wants my contact info to snap a shot of it with their own phone.

Re:No (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523422)

I haven't given anyone a business card since 1992. I have a box of them, printed by my employer at the time. I use them to floss my teeth, clean scunge out of my watch-band, and write down network config parameters that I need to sneakernet elsewhere (though I never have to do that any more either).

Everything I need to know about someone I can get from the network, and the network is always with me.

Sadly, they do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523334)

I'm a software developer in my early twenties and lately I've had to meet some clients to provide some support for the sales people (who don't appear to understand what they're selling). In some of those meetings I've received a business card (or several!) for... what? I've already seen the e-mail exchange that the salesperson has had with the client so I - at the very minimum - know the e-mail of the contact person. In most cases, I also know names, titles and perhaps e-mails of anyone else who participated. What am I supposed to do with a business card? I guess it's useful if I suddenly get an urgent need to call someone else than the contact person and I have the business card with me... Which isn't likely to happen.

I understand that business cards still have their uses: When you meet people at conferences, etc. it's easiest to hand out your contact details on a piece of paper so business cards are great. But they're certainly used in situations in which there is no need for them. It's a rather silly etiquette that dictates how the two parties give each other pieces of paper that they're going to throw to the trash as soon as the meeting ends.

Re:No (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523336)

They may not carry much importance, but yes they still get passed around in meetings.

I sure wish I had some. My employer doesn't foot the bill for them much, I suppose because they suspect many just drop them in fishbowls for draws for coffee, dinner, iPads, etc.

your business card is crap. (5, Funny)

pgag45 (1541755) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522800)

Re:your business card is crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35522978)

If "[cards] speak to their holders' personalities", then that guy is a giant prick.

Re:your business card is crap. (3, Insightful)

MaXintosh (159753) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:your business card is crap. (5, Funny)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523222)

That card's as big as a cd. He should just pass out DVDs, containing an hour of him explaining why he's so great.

Convenience (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522808)

I'd say it's more of a easy and free note to yourself.

Re:Convenience (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522828)

They are nice to have around as backup bookmarks, place to scribble a note and I love that my doctor still hands them out with appointment date.

Re:Convenience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35522838)

You have to pay for the printing if you're doing them in bulk so they're not exactly "free".

Re:Convenience (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522880)

Duh. It's free for the client. Did you think I was talking about the cost to me if I was making and handing out business cards? Really?

Nope (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522812)

Nope [buzzfed.com]

Please. (3, Interesting)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522842)

No way. I even had my own personal 'business' card made ($9 for 500 is good, right?) and they get me free lunches from places like Perkins and Dennys all the time.

That $9 has saved me at least $50 so far, and I get to carry card that says "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."

How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (4, Insightful)

adonoman (624929) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (2, Insightful)

SalsaDoom (14830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522990)

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.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523018)

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

Try the Bump application for smartphones. Does exactly what you are describing. Only downside is that is has to be installed on both phones. DISCLAIMER: I'm not affiliated with Bump, except that I use it and like it.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (4, Insightful)

adonoman (624929) | more than 3 years ago | (#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:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523308)

I can't believe I'm taking the side of low-tech, but I'm inclined to agree. If only to use the email address from the card to later sort out the rest of the contact info electronically and do so on my own schedule.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (2)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523338)

Fully agreed. I don't have Bump, even though I have an iPhone. It's a critical mass issue--I'm not going to install something that only a fraction of a fraction of other individuals use. The only convenient thing about it is that I don't have to manually enter the information at some point, which is what I would need to do with a physical card.

The beauty of a physical card is that it *always* works. As long as you keep it up-to-date, it will never fail on you. It's also an expression of the personality of the individual or the company he/she represents. By deferring the work of transcribing that information onto a communication device, you facilitate the transfer of that information at the moment of interaction, which is far more important.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523190)

It also requires an active data connection, so exchanging contacts where one or both of you have no signal isn't possible.

I imagine this requirement will be removed once more phones start adding NFC capabilities.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (2)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523310)

Or you could keep a 2D barcode on your phone, as a picture. Just open the pic and let them scan it.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523410)

That's not a bad idea actually? how much data can be shoved into a QR code anyways? could you do a whole Vcard?

hmm now i have to look

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (1)

geek (5680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523056)

http://bu.mp/ [bu.mp]

There is your answer

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (1)

sltd (1182933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523100)

There used to be something like that for Palm devices. You could pass your card to another Palm via infra red signal. It was pretty convenient.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523200)

Just send a contact via bluetooth, or if you have an iPhone via e-mail or bump. I notice a lot of Japanese use infrared.

Hoccer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523382)

Or if you'd prefer not to hocc, you can bump instead, or share a QR code, or use near field communication or bluetooth-- these methods do exist, they just haven't been standardized.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523412)

When I was young, and visiting outside the US, I noticed nearly all the adults has calling cards for personal use. When I grew up I occasionally used them, but they were not the fad in he US. I occasionally used hem, but not often. Since information was not as consolidated as it is now, these were important tools for social ineracion.

I also remember when cards were about legitimacy, not just information. Cards costs non-trivial amounts of money to acquire. Unless one was Jim Rockford with a printing press in the back of the care, business cards was an indication one was a serious presence. Now even professionally run cards less than a meal at a bad restaurant.

I would prefer an email address. There are one button solution. Email a vcard.

Re:How do you exchange stuff in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523420)

If I wanted your contact, I'd hand you my phone w/ an email client open and have you email yourself from me. I'd have your email addr in my sent box and you'd have mine in your inbox.

This is just silly (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:This is just silly (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523096)

barcode?

Re:This is just silly (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523230)

I said NORMAL person. :p

Re:This is just silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523262)

barcode?

So what would you call the little bit of card you'd have the barcode pre-printed on?

Re:This is just silly (2)

bradt (682447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523270)

Exactly! I still use business cards, but I print a QR code [google.com] on the back that can be scanned by a smartphone. The Droid will read it and add it to contacts, including name, address, email, phone, etc. I think a QR code can contain up to 4K of text?

Re:This is just silly (2)

metlin (258108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523228)

Exactly. I do not know who the hell this person interacts with, but as a consultant, I exchange business cards with people on a very regular basis.

In fact, I even have personal business cards [metlin.org] -- as someone who believes in the value of a personal brand and who is very interested in entrepreneurship, this has come in immensely handy.

Of course, I get mine printed at Vista Print for a measly $10; but if you're interested in creating a good impression, there's always letterpress.

What about Steve Wozniak's card? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35522884)

I can't believe Steve Wozniak's card wasn't mentioned:
http://isource.com/2009/08/14/steve-wozniak-has-awesome-business-cards/

Re:What about Steve Wozniak's card? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523216)

If you want your own, you can get them for about a $5 card (~$1.50 if you buy them in lots of 5,000) with a minimum 100 card order.

Nonsense (1)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522888)

Business Cards are still alive and well. They still contain exactly what they always did - who you are and how to get in touch with you. That second part just happens to include e-mail, twitter, web-site, etc.

Anecdotes aside, until we can shake our cell phones at one another and exchange contact cards then cardboard will continue to be the best way.

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35522988)

Anecdotes aside, until we can shake our cell phones at one another and exchange contact cards then cardboard will continue to be the best way.

There is an app for that grandpa and it's called Bump. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bump/id305479724?mt=8

Re:Nonsense (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523000)

http://bu.mp/ [bu.mp]

We're getting there
The future is now
android (iphone)

Also, I dig cards and what not with QR codes.

They are embarrassed because they dont have one. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35522900)

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

Re:They are embarrassed because they dont have one (1)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523326)

Exactly. Whichever two people she thought were "young and hip", were instead just young and new to the business world. Wait a second... she was at a music festival. If I was hanging out at Ozzfest I might be confused too if someone was trying to setup business contacts and give me their card.

Essential business tool! (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522910)

Business cards are the best thing for doing business. You want that number to a person who you know can get you what you need. Simply get the business card and there you have it.

Re:Essential business tool! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523206)

You want that number to a person who you know can get you what you need.

Wait... do prostitutes give out business cards now? I've been out of the loop for a while...

I still pass mine around... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522926)


I still pass mine around but probably use ~50% of them for picking my teeth after a meal nowadays.

Business cards are more than just contact info (5, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522952)

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.

Re:Business cards are more than just contact info (1)

bosef1 (208943) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523072)

But if you aren't wearing pants, where do you keep your wallet with your business cards?

Although this does explain some of the odd looks I've received at recent meetings.

Re:Business cards are more than just contact info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523124)

I agree that business cards are on the way out. I just hope that with global warming, that business will become pants optional.

Re:Business cards are more than just contact info (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523172)

But if you aren't wearing pants, where do you keep your wallet with your business cards?

In your purse. Or your sporran.

Re:Business cards are more than just contact info (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523176)

You can wear a fanny-pack without wearing pants.

Re:Business cards are more than just contact info (2)

atomicbutterfly (1979388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523090)

Showing up to a meeting in Korea without business cards is like showing up without pants.

Great. Now I have to learn another two things about business I've been doing wrong all this time!

Re:Business cards are more than just contact info (5, Funny)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523094)

I wish someone would have told me ahead of time about the no pants thing. Fortunately, the meeting wasn't a total disaster, as my business card impressed everyone.

Re:Business cards are more than just contact info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523284)

A few years ago, for family reasons, I found myself at a Rotary Club dinner in India. At key moments in conversations people produced cards to exchange. I felt bad about not having one.

NYC Subway == No Pants (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523400)

Showing up to a meeting in Korea without business cards is like showing up without pants.

Well, I hope all those Korean folks show some mutual cultural respect, and ride the subway in New York City without pants: http://improveverywhere.com/missions/the-no-pants-subway-ride/ [improveverywhere.com]

I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35522954)

I just did a post on this actually because I too feel like business cards are important. I am young, but I realize the value in exchanging cards with someone and the importance of having them find it later to jog their memory. Technology is so advanced nowadays that you are right, its nice to get to know the person's personality a little bit more through the card. Shame on those "kids" for not making business cards when they are trying to network!!

Here is my post: http://thefinancialite.com/?p=473

Thanks!

Unbelievable! (1)

ryanov (193048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522968)

I can't believe Bryce prefers Van Patten's business card to mine. :(

Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (5, Interesting)

srwellman (2009052) | more than 3 years ago | (#35522970)

I remember the first time business cards were supposed to die. I was in a meeting at a trade show when someone offered to "beam" their virtual business card to me from their Palm Pilot PDA (remember those?). This must have been like 10, maybe 11, years ago. Has anyone beamed a business card to you recently in a meeting? I suspect not, unless you spend time with people who like using classic PDAs.

Re:Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerate (2)

Dayze!Confused (717774) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523192)

I remember beaming my contact info at church about eight years ago. It was always awkward and sort of a hit or miss if it would transfer correctly. We had to point them head to head at each other and ask if the other person was ready, then send it and hope that it sent successfully.
The great thing about business cards is the speed at which you can transfer the information to many people and the ability to have them in places where you aren't. Plus it's not a hassle, you can easily get someones information when they have to rush somewhere else after having chatted with them for 20 minutes. It's probably happened to everyone where you chat with someone for a while and then they get a phone call and have to get running.
Maybe NFC will bring back "beaming" your contact info again, but I doubt even that will replace th classing business card.

Re:Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerate (2)

srwellman (2009052) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523242)

NFC might revive this trend, but I suspect the business card will endure for at least a little while longer because of its ease of use and relative economy (business cards just don't cost that much to produce and they're easy to carry around).

3d Datamatrix Barcode (1)

idji (984038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523356)

And all you have to do is put all your contact information into a discrete 3d barcode in the corner of the business card, and then read the barcode with your mobile phone camera as you are leaving the meeting. Hightech meets lowtech - best of both worlds.

Beaming? (1)

microcars (708223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523450)

I thought kids just squirted [businessweek.com] their info these days.

Business cards are not just information (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35522986)

Has anyone not dealt with a big-wig who gives you their card? That card is access, not because of the information on it, but because it's proof that person wants to be contacted by you. A personal assistant will generally give you more credibility and access to their boss if you have the business card.

Anyone can give you a number, email address etc.

Re:Business cards are not just information (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523120)

Exactly, if you show up at an office and walk to talk to X, saying "he gave me his card" and then show the card, you get more access.

Still valid, if you know what you're doing (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523024)

I'm starting up a computer servicing business here in California (no, not Silicon Valley), & I find business cards are convenient as a means of advertising, as well as an easy &/or classy way to give your number (or email or twitter or whatever) to all the nerd girls out there (all three of them!)

Alive and well at PyCon (1)

osvenskan (1446645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523040)

One would expect that the attendees of a software developer conference would be rife with early adopters of all things digital. Well, at PyCon this year, old school, dead tree business cards were alive and well. I don't think anyone there would have had the reaction described in the summary -- "A business card. How precious." If they're on the way out, it was not evident there.

Paul Allen's card (3, Funny)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523046)

Look at that subtle off white coloringâ¦the tasteful thickness of itâ¦oh my godâ¦it even has a watermark.

Re:Paul Allen's card (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523156)

Well, it may be thick, but it sure is short!

So what do these people do, then? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523054)

So...how do you give your contact information to strangers? People who may want to contact you? You just give them your twitter handle, spelling it out verbally, and watch over their shoulder as they add it? Isn't that annoying? I guess not. Don't tell me people do business on facebook, where no communications are secure. Wait, don't tell me...

Re:So what do these people do, then? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523138)

I purchase card stock from Office Depot and print my own cards which say:

Hello, my name is Locke
and I would like to fuck you!

!Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523076)

This is the sort of story I expect from kdawson, the answer is no. I know of a printing press company that pretty much solely does business cards and they're fine. They're about as dead as customised stationary places, which is to say, they aren't dead

The grand tragedy of Bluetooth (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523116)

What's really sad is that 15 years ago, I could point my Palm at someone and trade contact info by pressing and holding a button. To this day, most Android phones STILL can't properly do bluetooth OBEX... and even if they could, I doubt whether they could exchange contact info with an iPhone.

I was at SXSWi (1)

byjove (567441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523130)

I exchanged business cards with a dozen people. And I'm anti-social!

Not Dead at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523132)

I worked for a stationery store that handled business card orders in house and through third party vendors. We got at least one order for them every day. We kept them on file for our customers so they could always order more or make changes in the future. This was 2 years ago. Trust me. They are far from dead.

beaming was the way to go (0)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523140)

when everyone had a Palm PDA. web solutions won't last IMO and NFC apps will be the next business card exchange mechanism.

LoB

useful but more creative solutions are better (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523160)

I have business cards but rarely use them, I tend to receive copious amounts of them but usually they get shoved in my front pocket and thrown away with other bits of trash at the end of the day. Normally if I want or need contact info I will just ask them for an email address and put it in my phone but for more formal meetings they are still useful. Lately I have been giving out usb thumb drives with my contact info printed on them, I've had more clients from those than any business cards I have ever handed out, apparently potential client are more likely to keep them.

Is Journalism Dead? (1)

crevistontj (1032976) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523168)

Slashdot editors are really, really wearing out the tired, sensationalistic "Such and Such is Dead" headline.

Is the Business Card Dead?
The Death of BCC
Comics Code Dead

It's supposed to be dramatic and sensational but it's lazy and annoying; cut it out.

keeps going and going and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523204)

Business cards don't find themselves running low on charge.

They aren't for business (1)

TheScreenIsnt (939701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523210)

If you're proud of your work, a business card is a great way to give your contact info to someone whom you might want to date. I do it and it... ....has... never worked. Must be the business card is dead. Can't be my game.

You can't be serious. (1)

Transkaren (1925482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523226)

I still have business cards. I'm probably getting some more next year - and I just got this box of 250 in October. And no, I don't do random mailings of business cards, or anything like that. I had out one to each client, and sometimes give a client a small stack to give to their clients.

No. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523238)

No, the business card is not dead. How else do people transfer information? Scratch email addresses, phone numbers, etc. on napkins? Sure, there may be more info on business cards these days, but business cards are still absolutely necessary. And yes, once I email or get an email from a person once, I generally have their contact info forever (outsourced, backed up Exchange email living on a server), but I still need a business card to make that initial email contact.

In the article, the author implied that one of the people she was talking to put her email address in some gadget he was holding ("The other craned his neck to copy my email address into his Hashable account and instantly sent me his virtual business card instead."). But guess what... not everybody carries gadgets! On top of that, but you still have to deal with spelling everything correctly verbally, which often doesn't go well.

Business cards are still alive and well with anyone who actually does business.

In the 60s we knew they were dead like fission was (3, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523258)

Back in the 60's they correctly predicted we'd all be using fusion reactors to power our future, we'd be eating our meals in pills, and we'd fly around on jetpacks or use hovercars.

That was when I knew the business card was dead, just like the fission reactor.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a crabfeed to attend to on the Moon.

Not so fast... (1)

Philodoxx (867034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523288)

I went to a networking event recently and, judging by the amount of business cards I took home, they aren't going anywhere in the near future. Maybe the people on the bleeding edge are doing away with the business card, but it's still a staple of businessmen (and women) everywhere.

Why don't all smartphones do this? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523292)

Why don't the smartphone manufacturers build this into every phone, then there's no need to hand someone a card? I know there's the Bump app, but why should I have to count on someone having installed the same app as me just to transfer contact information?

I hate when I'm going out with a group of friends and we want to exchange cell phone numbers, we have to do the old "Call m number so I can get your number" routine and add contacts for everyone. It'd be much better if there was a standard protocol across all friends to allow this data sharing. You can make it reasonably secure by requiring confirmation on both phones. I hit the "Send personal contact" button, and everyone close to me sees "Incoming contact from Joe Blow, do you accept?", and when Jane accepts, I see "Jane Plane wants to accept your contact, ok to send it?" then my contact goes to Jane and only to Jane, not her creepy roomate standing nearby. It's not airtight security since someone could have their phone impersonate Jane Plane's phone, but it's only my phone number (and whatever else I choose to share) - it's not much less secure than saying out loud "Jane, call 510-555-1212 so I can get your phone number".

Re:Why don't all smartphones do this? (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523322)

I had an idea for a business card with the data stored in RFID. If somebody could create a cheap printer that embeds the RFID chips in them (programmed), and then creates some set of standards that all cell-phone manufacturers start to adopt, you will be rich. Think about it. Give em a card, they wave it by their phone, phone grabs the info and BOOM..."Contact Added!". I think I could work, take it you entrepreneurs! If anything, it would be a cool hack-a-day project. I just don't have the time to make it happen, and don't have the funds to cover the risk of such an endeavor. Maybe if it was open sourced...

The Koreans will keep it alive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35523342)

If you've ever done business Koreans you'll know what I mean. Business cards are like a religion for them, there's an entire ritual exchange process.
In summery it is as follows: the people you're meeting with line up to exchange business cards - you bow slightly and take it from them with both hands while looking them in the face, you then have to be seen to read the card and make a comment about the card (such as oh what a nice part of Seoul you work in!) you must then hand yours to them using both hands (which must be translated in Korean on the back)...
This ritual process will never die as it is seen to be highly respectful and carries a certain status with it - ergo business cards will always be around.

"...two young entrepreneurs from New York..." (4, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523374)

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.

ACS (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523380)

I was at an American Chemical Society career symposium a year ago in Pittsburgh and the two biggest things that they encouraged us to use where: (a) Linkedin.com and (b) business cards. And the two go together because Linkedin.com gives you a personal URL with essentially an electronic version of your resume on it. That URL can be put on your business card. While electronic resources are great, there's often times when it just takes too much time to exchange information that way. You can easily swap phone numbers, but a business card has address, phone, email, website, and more. I suppose one day, we'll be able to easily swap this info using our smart phones (iPhone, Droid, etc), but right now, it seems that there are too many compatibility issues (either that, or folks have the capability in their phones but haven't seen the need to set it up).

Business cards are still relevant (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523394)

I am not about to leave my iPhone hanging on the local general store bulletin board but you bet I'm going to stick up a thumb tack with five of my business cards. I get a lot of business from those. Business cards are cheap. I can leave them in a jar, on a bulletin board, hand them out to people. Over they years I've gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales that traces back to my business cards.

Two .com Bozos (4, Interesting)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523398)

'I had a lovely conversation with two young entrepreneurs from New York

Sounds more like two dot com bozos to me.

Business cards are boot sectors (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Not Your Grandpa's Calling Cards (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35523428)

They'll probably wind up like 'calling cards' that were left in a small silver tray in the entrance hall of the person to whom you had paid a social visit, where you picked up their card so you could have the correct information to send your 'Thank You" note.

Quaint is quaint.

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