After navigating for 3 whole days the innards and outards of CES this year, I ended up with a nice stack of business cards from people who I talked to who built interesting technologies and services who I wanted to follow up with. Even though the show was huge and I made sure to hit every building, I noticed that my stack this year was much smaller than previous years.
I don’t think it was because I’m more discerning now (I think I must have visited at least 20 drone booths) but that people are no longer carrying cards (or as many cards – since a lot of folks had run out) anymore. There were plenty of cases where I was talking to someone in their booth and I asked for a card, only to be told that they’d run out, or that they would take my card and get back to me or something. Sure, I understand maybe not wanting to give your information to someone who might bother you, but in my case, everyone I talked to I was interested in partnering with, as in helping them to bring their product to possible new customers. Yet, business cards seemed to be in short supply.
I got to talking to someone in a booth about this and they told me that they had some people not even walk into the booth – they’d just take a picture of the booth and walk on, guessing they’d just look them up later.
Prior to this, I went to a networking event, and less than half of the people I talked to had business cards. Some of them were even looking for work – you’d think at least those guys would make sure that they had enough. But no.
Whats going on here? Is the business card really dead – or dying? Maybe its a Silicon Valley thing, but I’ve just seen the use of them go way down around here – people seem to prefer to connect immediately on LinkedIn (not a fast and easy process) or text each other phone numbers (like you’re dating or something) instead of simply handing over a very small piece of card.
If you ask me, there is something elegant and simple about a business card. Its small, its handy, and if its a good card, it will jog the memory of the person you gave it to. It’s something that may never go away, even once we have all sorts of seamless networking available to us. (I’m working on it.)
Until then, please, if you don’t have cards, get some. Vistaprint has them free or very cheap. They could be the difference between that investor calling you up later to talk about funding your business and them going – who was that guy again? Or the recruiter who has the perfect job for you, but can’t find your contact information on her phone. Or that prospect who thought your services sounded interesting, but alas no business came of it since you didn’t have a card on you.
So get some cards! Or if you are out – please make sure that you have enough. I came back from CES with hundreds, but at least I knew that everyone I’d given my card to had my information, if they needed it.
photo credit – popupology / flickr