Business cards: Another casualty of the digital age
Ubiquitous as pinstripes, the 2-by-3.5-inch pieces of card stock have long been a staple in executive briefcases. Exchanging cards helps to break the ice and provides a quick reference for forgotten names.
But to many young and Web-savvy people who are accustomed to connecting digitally, the cards are irrelevant, wasteful – and just plain lame.
Diego Berdakin, the founder of BeachMint Inc., a fast-growing Santa Monica, Calif., e-commerce site, has raised $75 million from investors without ever bothering to print up a set. He doesn’t see the point.
"If someone comes in to meet me, we’ve already been connected through email, so it really doesn’t feel like a necessity in my life," he said. "When I go into a meeting and there are five bankers across the table, they all hand me business cards and they all end up in a pile, in a shoe box somewhere."
U.S. sales of business cards have been falling since the late 1990s, according to IBISWorld Inc., an Australian business data company whose data go back to 1997. The slide appears to be accelerating. Last year, printers posted revenue of $211.1 million from the segment. That’s down 13 percent from 2006.
I can still recall the first office job where I got business cards. All of the professionals had them. At meetings with new people, we would all exchange cards and dutifully put them in our wallets. After awhile, my wallet would get so fat I’d have to cull the cards and wound up putting a lot of them in my desk drawer. I must confess that I still have a lot of them there.
I’m retired now but honestly, in this day and age, who needs them? They’re just going to get tossed. There are so many better ways to store the info that used to be on business cards. - Waterman12053