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Business Cards

posted Mar 3, 2012, 1:20 PM by Peter Burke
  For some reason, I look at the business card as a surviving veteran of the technology revolution.  For starters, it's printed on paper.  I remember a teacher explaining the origin of the business card, and how it (if my memory serves me) has roots stemming from the calling card of yore.  No, not the jester-printed playing card from comic villain "Joker" or the plugged and flooded sinks of the "Wet Bandits" in Home Alone.  A calling card would be presented to either a butler or secretary type person when you "called" on another individual.  The card was then brought back to you and depending on the reply - in the form of a folded corner, I think- you knew the response.  I'm sure there are variations in history, go wikipedia that and see what you get.  
  Either way, I dish out and receive enough business cards on these road trips to build a small fortress.  I actually reference them more often than I thought I would.  I always mean to enter all the data as contacts into my phone, but honestly most of the information I can find quicker by just looking up a company website.  I had an app that would snap a photo of the card and import it to my contacts, but it didn't really work too well.  The real tricky ones are the secret contacts people put on business cards.  If you have it, it means you met in person or got the information from somebody that knows something about something.  Usually it's the cell phone number.  Everybody posts the office phone number online, and prints the cell number on a card.  
  Now, there are various structures of business cards, and it amazes me how innovative some people get.  Using the classic, standard issue square edged rectangular card stock style as "normal" the branches outs go far and wide.  There is some theory to making a slightly bigger card, so it literally "stands out" in a stack.  Then there are the abnormally small ones, that resemble half-sized cards.  I have found these to be popular among the environmentally conscious card holder, claiming it uses less paper.  True enough, but it also allows for less information, and I can barely read the cards as it is.  Texture plays a big role as well.  The really glossy type are nice for wet conditions, such as a bars and marinas.  (They also stand up best in the laundry).  The uber-thick and unbendable cards are sturdy yet bulky, but allow for fancy embossing and layering.  I have seen shiny gold medallions on cards of certain government employees, either in crest or shield icons.  
  Picking a title for a business card can be tough too.  In the craft beer industry, I come across many varieties of titles.  As another way to distance from the big domestics, business cards have become canvas' for creativity.  Instead of sales rep I have seen "beer ninja" and "beer nerd" as well as more traditional "purveyor of fine libations" at the bars.  Our Florida distributor's squad has a lot of great alternatives, "director of hoperations" included.  For awhile mine displayed "Global Beverage Dominator" because my first sales trip was conducted driving the '78 VW red minibus featuring "Global Beverage Domination" on the back window.  Now I have "New Market Development" which doesn't really touch on the creative possibilities, but gets the point across.  I have also seen business cards for people without a business, nearly all in jest.
  If you see any funny business cards let me know, I'm always up for a chuckle.