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business cards Archive
To help get more business cards out into the world (so that our team at CloudContacts can process them!), I found a deal from Staples that is worth checking out. Staples is offering 100 free black and white business cards from today through June 18th. Just print out this coupon, take it into your local Staples store and the copy center employees will help get your order placed and printed.
There are two great parts of this deal:
- If you normally use Vista Print for free cards that include the Vista Print url on the back, this deal will get you cards that look a bit more professional.
- The coupon value ($20) can be applied to any business card order so if you decide to print color or with other options, you can just use the coupon towards the total purchase.
If you already have business cards, you might use this deal to run a test with another business card concept for yourself or your company.
Earlier this year, an ad salesperson for a tech magazine left his job. He sent out an email to his contacts which I received noting that he was leaving effective at the end of the month. The following week I received another email from him — this time from his new job at another magazine. All of his emails were always sales oriented — and the new one was no different.
His series of emails got me thinking…who owns the contacts that a person gathers when they work for a company? Let’s assume that you begin employment at a company today as a salesperson. You are provided a laptop and a cell phone. You work at the company for 2 years and during that time you collect 750 business cards. In addition, through networking at company events and conferences paid for by the company, you gather an additional 1,250 contacts. At the time you leave the firm, you have 2,000 total contacts. When you leave the company, the laptop and cell phone must be returned. But what about the contacts?
Do you have the right to take the contacts with you to your next employer? Are the contacts you gathered the same type of “property” as the cell phone and laptop?
How many salespeople are hired simply because of their book of contacts from their previous employment history? It’s a practice that appears to have been going on for ages. But with the increased value of contacts as we move into a more digital and social space, should contacts be the property of the company you work for? Or is it ok that an employee can take their address book and business cards with them when they leave? Does the nature of the separation play a role in your answer to the previous question?
If your answer is that the employee should be able to take his or her contacts when they leave, should the company also have access to those contacts? I’ve never seen a company scrape a former employee’s contact list or ask for their business cards before they exit the building.
We can also extend this conversation to network services including LinkedIn and Facebook.
Many of you know that I run a startup that deals with contacts so I find this topic particularly interesting. I am very interested in your feedback – please leave your thoughts in the comments.
I will be in San Francisco this weekend and Monday and would love to get a meetup (known forthwith as CNup) scheduled. We could either do a brunch on Saturday morning or a more traditional meetup on Monday evening. I am working on getting valley superstar startup blogger Louis Gray to attend in his new sweet ride (1 mile rides will be available for $20).
I am staying in downtown San Francisco but am willing to travel for best results. So if you are interested in meeting, shooting some startup videos and rapping about other tech blogs, leave your thoughts on local and preferred time in the comments.
Also – should you decide to place an order with my startup, bring your business cards with you to the CNup and grab a cool bonus 20% extra cards for your order.
DropCard is a new startup that’s part of the DreamIT Ventures program in Philly. The basic pitch is that DropCard replaces the need to exchange business cards because cards go lost and aren’t interactive.
Here’s how the service works. You setup an account on DropCard that includes all of your social networking account information. Then I head out to a conference or event. I meet someone new and have a good discussion with her or him. At the end of the conversation, the point where you would normally exchange cards, you now ask the person for their email address. You send their email address via SMS to DropCard. DropCard then immediately sends the person your contact information including social network profiles, name, email, etc. Now the other person can friend you up on the other networks and never has to worry about trying to locate your business card.
The DropCard system can handle multiple profiles so that you can have a work and pleasure profile or multiple profiles for work and a side business, etc. When you create an account on DropCard, it automatically pulls back your profiles on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. You can add other services including: BlackPlanet, Bebo, Friendster, Flickr, Multiply and an “other” category. You can also include links to your Web sites, blogs and IM networks. This is a good option because now when the contact returns to their office or home, they will be more inclined to actually visit my site or blog versus trying to get them to enter the information from a business card. A vCard is also sent to your contact which can be exported to email and mobile devices.
The service is free and the team tells me that enterprise services is where they intend to generate revenue.
Here are some things I’d like to see added to DropCard:
- a way to associate the email address with the initial location for the entry. This way I can create contact lists from events, and be able to find contacts by event type.
- ability to edit the look of the contact page – my logo, my design, etc.
The DropCard team is three friends from the University of Pennsylvania, one of whom graduated Wharton School of Business and the other two are pursuing Engineering. They created a video about how you can use the business cards you already have – since you won’t need them now.
Related ad: CloudContacts scans and transcribes your business cards and connects them on CRM systems, email services and social networks.