I had a briefing with Michael Moppert and Santi Pierini of Day Software this week -- and besides it being a good briefing -- I received a business card from their PR rep that has two Web sites built right into it. Pretty amazing stuff.
But before I get into that, a rumination on the changing nature of business cards. Today, business cards are a short-term information transmittal mechanism: they contain the contact information that you type into Microsoft Outlook.
However, in the past, they meant more: you stuffed them in your Rolodex. Ah, those were the days. You zinged your Rolodex around with a satisfying flick of the wrist, put the brakes on at the appropriate time, and looked up the card that you needed. You kept the cards because they made up your contact database -- and heaven help you if someone walked off with your Rolodex.
Today, business cards are ephemeral. In my case, a business card is lucky if it lasts a day before I enter its data into Outlook and toss it into the recycle bin. That is, assuming I can read the small type (my eyes are going as I get older) and decipher what the legends T, F, M, E, and W mean (telephone, fax, mobile, e-mail, and Web site, respectively).
But when Katie Eakins of Lewis PR handed me her business card, I suddenly realized I couldn't do the normal card heave ho. Besides the usual contact info, it has a picture of her on the front. Secondly, it has a map and directions on the back, telling me how to get to the Lewis PR office in San Diego. Now those two out-of-the-ordinary additions are useful. My memory won't fade as to what Katie looks like, and if I'm in the San Diego area and need to get to the Lewis offices -- for a briefing, perhaps -- now I'm set.
Geez, a picture and a map -- wait a minute, that's like putting the (1) Contact Us page (including photographs) from the Lewis Web site and (2) Google Maps onto the business card. Four pounds lighter than my laptop, fits in my shirt pocket, I don't have to go to either www.lewispr.com or maps.google.com, and I don't have to navigate to Katie's picture or a San Diego map. Now that's time-saving, space-saving high tech. (Or maybe it's just an intelligent person's rethinking of what should be on a business card.)
Before you know it, someone will come up with the idea of putting a mini-bio on the back of the business card, and save me Web site reading time as well....