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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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Offering business cards

I’ve already written on my loathing of business cards. But as with my attitude to the word insight, my stance on the issue is modifying.

I still think they’re an inefficient remnant from an analogue age that have little relevance alongside a mobile phone (particularly one that syncs to an email client).

But if someone requests a business card, then that is their preferred means of exchanging information. And that should be respected.

I still have little inclination to order a batch. But I think I’ve found a compromise. Customised cards.

I’ll carry some blank pieces of card around with me in my wallet. If someone requests my contact details and doesn’t want to do it digitally (whether via Bump, Bluetooth or manually entering the information), I’ll create a card. Similar to the example below, which shows both sides of a card.

Simon Kendrick's business cardThis has multiple advantages

  • Efficiency – the only wastage will be the unused pieces of card that could be reused for something else
  • Custom levels of access – I can choose which contact details to provide. My social graph isn’t completely open, and this allows me to choose whether to give my mobile number or my office number, or whether to include my Twitter or Linked In details alongside an email address
  • Personalisation – I can customise the card by including details of our meeting or a private in-joke. This should aid cognitive recall when the recipient is sorting through their cards (and probably deciding which to throw away)
  • Stand-out – it is different and so it should stand out (a little) among a pile of boring corporate cards. As Hugh MacLeod – a pioneer in repurposing business cards – would say, it creates a social object

Of course, there are drawbacks to this approach

  • Legibility – I have terrible handwriting, and so my contact details may not be legible
  • Digital incompatibility – Digital business card scanners won’t pick it up
  • Too informal – It doesn’t fit in with the corporate brand, and so wouldn’t be suitable in more formal circumstances (though I’m not planning on visiting Japan, with its strict business card etiquette, in the near future).

I’ll trial this approach and see how I get on. Ultimately, business cards are transient and disposable – they are a means to an end. But if my means could be a little more memorable, a little more personal and a little more environmentally friendly, then I would be fine distributing my contact details.

Though I would still prefer people to take down my details digitally.

sk

Links – 31st October 2008

Rather than a lop-sided list, here is a numbered (but unordered) overview of blogs, articles and tools I have enjoyed over the past few days:

1. Iqbal Mohammed asks a very interesting question: Could price become a skeuomorph? This segues in with an interesting point Matt Rhodes made regarding incentives – it changes the transaction from market to social. Would people prefer to pay in order to avoid any potential obligations in future – whether signing up to a mailing list or being forced into a timeshare? It also reminds me of the Severn Bridge, with its one way tolling. The Welsh like to point out that they can cross over into England for free, but are forced to pay to leave and go back home.

2. There has been an interesting teté a teté on network effects between Nicholas Carr and Tim O’Reilly. While the argument is largely focused upon semantics, several interesting issues are raised. And not entirely unrelated, Faris links to a video of Clay Shirkey talking about Solidarity Goods – items that increase in value as more people use them.

3. Japan’s census looks great. Rather than a straightforward survey, everyone also has to fill in a time diary showing what they are doing throughout the day. Tokyo Tuesday is a fascinating look at the aggregated lives of the salarymen, cyberpunks, samurai and other assorted Japanese stereotypes that one might want to throw into the mix.

4. Can Hulu’s (No.4 on Time’s inventions of the year) current single-ad-per-break model continue? If they are buying content in and paying for their bandwidth then I’m guessing not. Premium positioning only stretches so far. But product placements and other new formats can mitigate the losses from restricting inventory (New York Times)

5. A study commissioned by the Association of National Advertisers suggests that the brand does not influence business decisions in two thirds of the companies questioned. CMOs with an axe to grind against the beancounters, or a realistic assessment of current corporate thinking? (Marketing Charts)

6. A bit old now but Brian Solis has a very thorough overview of the state of Social Media in 2008, and the outlook for 2009

7. An argument in favour of training over talent (CNN) – sounds good to me. An ability to remember trivia can only take one so far in life

8. A digital planning checklist (Katie Chatfield). Does exactly what it says on the tin. Succinct and insightful.

9. Mashable has a nice collection of social media gurus owning up to their biggest mistakes

10. Seth Godin has put the presentation of his latest book – Tribes – onto Slideshare

11. An epic attempt at integrating all of one’s personal data (Kiwi Tobes)

12. A tool that lets you look at the traffic statistics for Wikipedia pages

Enjoy…

sk