Business cards have a richer history than you might think. It turns out they’re descendents of a centuries-old ‘visiting card’ tradition, which originated in 17th-century France.
Back then, people left their visiting cards in silver trays kept in the entry-area hallways of homes they stopped into. These small, paper cards — each adorned with the owner’s name — allowed homeowners to keep track of who visited and to whom reciprocal visits were owed.
Then during the Industrial Revolution, emerging entrepreneurs — faced with a constant need to exchange contact information for business — came up with a new iteration. Printed on plain, heavy paper with utilitarian lettering, these more proprietary cards were the first version of the modern business card as we know it.
But enough with the history lesson. What I want to know is why are we still stuck on this largely unchanged, archaic business tool? I personally don’t have a business card — and haven’t for years. I discovered early on that in the tech industry it’s rare you’ll ever need one. But looking beyond Silicon Valley, I think it’s time we all ditched business cards for good.
it’s only a matter of time before someone takes a page out of the Steve Jobs’ book: creating a business card alternative we won’t know we desperately need, until we see it.
Ryan has a few points here, business cards have been around for a long time. A very, very long time, and it’s time someone figured out exactly what needs to happen to turn that industry upside down.