Those conservative business cards…

Business cards have been around for a long time – very long, if you count visiting cards – so we should not be surprised if they tend to have an innate inertia to them. Still, business has changed so much in recent years – isn’t it time that the cards paid attention?

I was scanning a batch of business cards I got in a conference recently when I noticed an interesting fact: they may come in many designs and colors, but 90% of cards will have the contact information in the following order:

Physical address
Phone number
Fax number
Mobile number
Email address
Web site URL (if any)

Now this is interesting, because it has two attributes:

  1. It follows the approximate historical order the various technologies appeared in (first we had office buildings, then telephones, then faxes, etc.)
  2. It gives the items in reverse order in terms of usefulness, the least useful at the top: in today’s virtual, mobile, global world, we would most often use email to reach people, or a cellphone if they have one; faxes are not yet gone but may soon be, and physical addresses are only of marginal use in a “work anywhere” culture.

I had a friend, a master blogger and geek, who once said if he had his way he’d simply put on his card his name and “Google me!” – now that’s modern thinking for you! The closest you get to this are Moo minicards, those miniature cards that barely have room for a name, job role and email address.

Now that I noticed this I checked my own new card that I made after leaving Intel – and guess what, I had it almost right in terms of descending importance:

Web site URL
Email address
Physical address
Mobile number (the only phone I use)
Fax number

Only the physical address stayed higher than it should be…

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