When I was in Silicon Valley in May 2013, I met some incredible entrepreneurs and made excellent business connections with people from some of the leading tech companies in the world such as Facebook, Linkedin, Cisco, Eventbrite and more.
Naturally, I was keen to obtain the details of the people that I met, and would request their business card when appropriate with the intention of remaining in contact to explore both immediate and potential business synergies.
I was amazed however at the number of people who seemed genuinely happy to connect, but who did not have any business cards on them and confessed to not really carrying them any longer.
It appears you see that business cards are a thing of the past in the US, most certainly in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which was where I spent the majority of my time.
The reaction to a request for a business card was often met with, “just look me up on Linkedin”.
This made it extra important to take a good mental note of their name, and where possible the spelling of it, and even their roles at the companies so I could go ahead and look them up on Linkedin, particularly, if their name was a common one.
This phenomena really made me sit up and take notice of how powerful Linkedin has become to have even taken over the world of business cards.
In my Linkedin presentations that I regularly take, for the visual people in the room, I often use the image of a rolodex and explain how Linkedin is effectively a global rolodex. Now it is even more so.
Even though my company offers graphic design services, and has access to excellent trade printers, I must admit that I find my cards date quickly too and moving in this direction actually makes a lot of sense. Whether it would be another social network I wish to include, or a new award we’ve won, or even job title changes as staff progress in the company, it doesn’t always seem worthwhile to chop down a few more trees in the quest of getting another business card run.
Another technology I must point you towards on this topic, if you do ever get handed a business card (though unlikely in Silicon Valley!) is a fantastic app you can download from any smart phone called Card Munch.
When you get handed a business card, open up the Card Munch app on your phone and using the scan feature, allow your phone to scan the details of the business card. The app will conveniently give you the option to save their details direct to your phone, and will also connect to the internet and retrieve information on whether the person is on Linkedin or not. If they are, a little blue “in” icon will display indicating they are on Linkedin, and it will give you the option to connect with them on the network.
Using Card Munch you can therefore request a connection on Linkedin and then throw away their business card. You have them on Linkedin now – so why do you still need their business card which will simply date and take up valuable office or drawer space?
It appears business cards are yet another victim of the digital age.
- Are you prepared to give up business cards and connect on Linkedin, or not just yet?
- Are you on Linked In?
- Do you look up people you’ve met at events on Linkedin and request to be connected to them soon after meeting them?
- Do you use Card Munch or other business card-scanning apps on your mobile phone? If so, which ones do you use?
- Do you think things will move this way in Australia i.e. not using business cards and just relying on Linkedin to connect with people?
- I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.