Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Business Card Will Not Die

Joanna Stern, now at the Wall Street Journal:

When the tech-savviest people on the planet meet, how do they exchange contact info? The same people who hail taxis by app and pay back friends via email have a wild way of sharing details: They hand over paper business cards.

Stern looks at a bunch of apps which aim to bring the venerable business card into this century. A few of these apps are outright replacements, allowing for the transferring of contact information without a physical card; a couple of these are ways to make business card information easier to covert to a digital form.

Not one of these apps or hardware products has really caught on, though. I think there are loads of reasons why, which Stern addresses. But there’s a less tangible reason why business cards live on: a sort of subtle custom and ritual in the exchange of cards. A bump or tap feels less ritualistic, and somehow carries less importance despite accomplishing the same objective. Once the technical challenges get sorted, I think there will still be a place for business cards for this reason.