Home Business Cards Suck: Try These Tools Instead

Business Cards Suck: Try These Tools Instead

Business cards are a horror show. When it gets to the point that you have to either resort to a die-cut, motion-sensitive, titanium-plated laser show of a card or get your contact info embossed on beef jerky to avoid being forgotten in the trash heap of useless swag and Clif Bar crumbs at the bottom of some biz dev guy’s carry-on, we think it’s safe to admit that the whole business card milieu needs an attitude adjustment.

Here are a few cool, tech-forward tools to ensure neither you, nor your contact details, are lost in the shuffle.

Now, there are a handful of iPhone apps for accomplishing the simultaneous, mutual relay of contact information between two parties; however, the tools we’ll cover today are for the wider audience of people who are not rabid Mac fanboys and girls.

First, let’s turn our attention to the MyNameIsE Connector, a nifty device that first came to our attention in this promotional video:

The Connectors work out of the box. Users touch the devices together to exchange information and download contacts later through a USB port. It’s ridiculously simple. The Connector will be available for conferences and festivals, and the MyNameIsE tech is also available via a mobile site and several native apps.

A disturbingly similar device is the MingleStick.

Forgoing any juvenile remarks about the product name, we observe the point-click-download process is, indeed, the perfect solution for conferences and shows; you can check out the ‘Sticks in action at a trade show in this video. Don’t they make a lovely addition to those chic lanyards we all know and love? However, this particular product is likely to remain a conference-bound toy for a while. Although the web-based MingleManager service offers a nice array of address book/calendar/content sharing functions, there is no mobile functionality aside from the MingleSticks themselves.

Moving away from hardware, let’s have a look at Dropcard. At this website, users can create free profiles with contact information, including websites and social networks. Upon meeting someone the user wants to keep in touch with, he texts the other person’s email to 77950. The new contact is then sent the Dropcard user’s profile information in an email and can save the information immediately to their address book. The best feature here is that it involves no effort on the new contact’s part; they don’t even need to have a phone handy. Think of it as ‘good spam’.

Two other SMS-based services are TextID and Contxts. The latter has been particularly in vogue at recent tech conferences. However, both services require the non-user (or new contact, if you will) to take action by texting a word (usually a username or similar identifier selected by the user) to an SMS shortcode. Contxt is a free service for sharing up to 140 characters, while TextID monthly plans range from $19.95 – $79.95 and allow for sending just about any kind of information, including mobile websites, pictures, maps/directions, or brochures and menus.

As with any technological roundup, we’re sure this post omits several wonderful products we didn’t find; feel free to let us know about them in the comments.

And for the love of Mike, stop wasting trees and lining the bottom of that biz dev guy’s carry-on: Just say no to business cards.

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