5 reasons why your business card is like a paper clip

cards

Product Development was one of my favorite courses in business school. And one class I remember particularly well was when Prof. Robertson challenged us to a seemingly impossible task: improve on the design of a paper clip.

One would think that, having the paper clip design not changed in almost 150 years, it would be ripe for innovation, yet improving upon it proved incredibly challenging. We are, in fact, surrounded by objects and tools that, like the paper clip, resist unchanged in the face of phenomenal advances in technology, materials and computing. The business card is one of them.

There have been countless attempts at replacing the quaint paper rectangle with NFC-enabled devices, mobile apps, social applications, QR codes and more. Yet, even among technology professionals, the business card remains an essential business accessory.

Why?

  1. Universal interface. To transfer a business card to someone, you use your hands. Since (most) everyone has hands, there are no “interface interoperability” issues, so to speak.
  2. One gesture. It takes about 1.5 seconds and one gesture to hand out a business card to someone at a tradeshow. That ergonomic efficiency is hard to beat.
  3. Power-less. They work perfectly well in the absence of electrical power, when Wi-fi is down, Bluetooth is off, etc…
  4. Personality. Unlike standard app UIs, business cards convey the attributes of your personal and corporate brand. Choices of size, cut, weight, typography and content create, and communicate, personality with an immediacy otherwise impossible to achieve.
  5. Expectations. Business professionals the world over have been conditioned to expect to exchange business cards when they meet. The cognitive barriers in switching to a different behavior are phenomenal.

Next time you think about disrupting an established product category through new technology, it may be worth thinking long and hard why it has resisted change for so long in the first place.

Image by CieraHolzenthal/Flickr

Me in 2005: the resume infographic that wasn’t

Infographics are all the rage these days. They are produced by companies large and small, agencies, market research firms… Everybody. They are also being used as personal branding and job-search tools. There are even applications that create infographics out of resume data!

Well, while doing some housekeeping on my files I came across a couple of documents that I created back in 2005, when I still was on the job market. I did not know that then, but they were in fact job search infographics: a Personal Blueprint and a Resume Timeline. :)

I never actually sent them to employers. I remember showing them to a good friend from business school, someone whose opinion I trusted, and he advised me not to use them. He thought they were too “cute” and “gimmicky” and were going to hurt my chances. So I shelved them.

Maybe I was just too early to market.

10 Tips for a healthier you

Tips for a healthier youIt is that time of the year. Days are getting longer, the sun is getting shinier and that layer of winter fat around the hips is harder to conceal without a raincoat. Friends start getting on a diet, joining a gym, hitting the trail.

Diets do not work, or rather, they never worked for me. The gym is boring and the chances to stick with it, slim. Here’s what has worked for me, simple ideas for a healthier, fitter, less stressed life:

1. Rekindle your college passions

Remember how much you enjoyed participating in sports in college? As much as watching them, right? No need to reinvent the wheel. Whether it was soccer, synchronized swimming, karate or tennis, there is no better, easier way to get moving again than picking up where you left. No learning curve, no need for beginner lessons and plenty of old buddies to share your passion with. Plus the added psychological bonus of feeling free to pretend you are still 21, living in a dorm and without a worry in a world.  Continue reading “10 Tips for a healthier you”

Are you an A-Player?

Out of 10 people that can do a job, 1 is an A-player, 3 are B-players and the rest are C-players, or so the story goes… Simple enough, right? So, I ran a couple of public polls on Linkedin. Just for fun. They probably have no statistical relevance, but the results are interesting  :).

First, I asked respondents to self select in the A, B or C player category. 78% put themselves in the A-Player list…

A player linkedin poll

Continue reading “Are you an A-Player?”

A Weekend of Pride

Maltese Falcon yacht

An interesting coincidence this weekend in San Francisco. Two big events, two celebrations of the fruit of human ingenuity, creativity and technology. Both are the result of the vision of Italian minds.

After 8 years or renovation the new California Academy of Sciences, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, opened its door to awe thousands of visitors with its innovative architecture and its spectacular exhibits.

At 2 pm on Saturday, the 289-foot Maltese Falcon, the largest private sail-propelled yacht in the world, designed by Italian shipyard Perini Navi, made its entrance into the San Francisco Bay through the Golden Gate, sporting its beautiful computer-controlled sail system.

Things to be proud of.