a short rant about business cards

An old friend of mine was the Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest banks in the world. He helped Bill Gates design the techno part of his uber techno home. He wore navy pinstripes. He taught me a lot. The least meaningful but fun lesson: business cards are overrated. “If you want to find me, you will,” he told people. “The older I get the more I lighten my load.”

Adorable CTO, he was.

I’ve worked with a number of entrepreneurs who actually held off launching their websites or going to networking events because their business cards weren’t back from the printer. That left me gravely concerned for their future. Business cards might have their place for on-the-road salespeople and a few retailers, but before you send your logo to Kinko’s, check your reasoning. Business cards are not an imperative to a rocking business or being reachable.

WHY I’LL NEVER HAVE A BUSINESS CARD

  1. I’ve never, in twenty professional years, actually finished a box of business cards. Change is the only constant in my career.
  2. If you really want to get in touch with me, I’m very, very easy to find. (Most of us are.) Google me. Twitter me. Facebook me. LinkedIn me. Friend Feed me. Buzz me. Email me.
  3. If, after hearing me rock the mic for an hour, sharing a drink at a party, or 5 minutes in an elevator, you can’t actually remember my name or my website – then I’m doing a really lame job of showing up, or you just didn’t like me enough. If you don’t remember my name, it’s not meant to be. I’m okay with that. And for the record, I never forget a face, but I suck with names – except when someone has really caught my attention.

If I really want you to get in touch with me, I’ll make sure that happens. I’ll email you to say, “great to meet, let’s save the world together.”

  1. I can’t remember the last time I looked at someone else’s business card to get their info. 2001? Maybe.
  2. I save about $100 bucks that I’d much rather spend on shoes or music.
  3. Ink, paper, toxins and trees – the world is a little better offer without another box of cards going into the landfill.

NOT HAVING A BUSINESS CARD WILL NUDGE YOU TO:

Shine. Handing out cards can make us feel like we’re actually doing something productive. Sometimes we are. But sometimes, we’re just filling space and copping out of saying a clear “goodbye” or “I’d like to know more.”
Get your own on-line presence if you don’t have one. You don’t need a “blog,” but in this day and age, every working professional should have a one page site/profile of their own, or one parked on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Depending on your business, when someone asks you for your business card, it may be better to smile your twinkliest smile and repeat your Twitter name, your super easy (or clever) Gmail address, and very kindly say, I’m so easy to find. And memorable I might add.

 

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