Can a business card save humanity?
FUSE 2011 is fast approaching and we’re all going to be looking to meet, exchange handshakes, business cards and stories. So, it seemed a good time to share a story about the importance of your business card.
Here’s my short story, and an extraordinary experience. My partner, Brian Adducci, is a designer with a respect for business. My background is business with a comparable respect for design. We balance each other out on many occasions. When it comes to making business and design decisions, sometimes we debate the details. Our business cards have provided a great example.
Our cards, for your reference, cost about $1.00 each.
Once upon a time, Brian and I were debating this cost and whether it was worth the investment. It was civil, no hair pulling or name calling, but we both had strong points to stand on. Mine: this was $5,000 and we really hadn’t been able to attribute a specific bit of business back to our business cards. Okay, I have an analytical side that sometimes gets ahead of itself. Brian: it was memorable, people commented and they kept our cards. Hence they were valuable at a dollar a piece to make a lasting impression.
While both were good points, neither of us was willing to push harder for our point or give up to the other’s point.
Then, someone called. He asked for me, so sitting at a standstill, I took the call.
“This is Barry, someone just gave me your business card the other day, and we need to meet. I need to know the people behind this card.”
My first reaction was not a smile, thank you and a “when would you like to meet.” My first reaction was nearly a few swear words, audible to Barry. I held back, we exchanged information and I went back to my debate with Brian and we are still using metal business cards today, eight years later. And, we’ve reordered two times since, without a debate.
How could such a small piece of our social ritual mean so much? I ask how could it not. Why would we do away with something so personal, how could we. It contains the basic information to start a conversation, begin a relationship and get to know another human being.
There’s a social theory out there, and as I understand it the theory goes like this. The more people we know from other cultures and the more we build in social interdependencies the better odds we won’t want to fight and kill each other. So, essentially, the more connected we are, across all cultures, continents and societies, means a better odds on the human race will surviving.
If business cards are one of the oldest and as I see it, essential elements to start a professional relationship, shouldn’t we do our best to keep them around?
As I see it, we could be saving humanity here.