Joi Ito: A lot of people ask me about Japanese customs.
They learn the formal way to hand business cards, they bow deeply
when they meet Japanese and they call me "Ito-san." Stop that. It's
I've gotten away for nearly twenty-three years without the need
for business cards. The backstory is this: early in my
career, I attended a meeting which concluded with the ritual
exchanging of business cards. Prior to the second such
meeting (different customer), I inquired as to how I could acquire
business cards of my own. My manager at the time checked into
it and told me that the expense was denied.
Simply put, I didn't rank.
At that moment, I decided that I never again would put myself in
a situation where I would ask for business cards knowing that it
involved someone assessing my worthiness.
Sharing this has turned out to be an icebreaker at
However, I have found that when I encounter a different ritual,
one where business cards are exchanged at the first encounter,
i.e., at the beginning of the meeting, that the result is a
uncomfortable social situation.
The first meeting I attended as an IBMer was the W3C Web services workshop. I didn't have any business cards. There was one individual in particular who I greeted, exchanged the customary pleasantries, shook hands, etc. He then asked me for my business card. I didn't have one to give. I said so of course. He looked blankly at me for a moment and turned around and walked away without another word. So now I carry around a single business card that has the words "My Business Card" imprinted on it which I proudly display whenever anybody asks.
Sam Ruby explains why has made a point of not carrying business cards: Prior to the second such meeting (different customer), I inquired as to how I could acquire business cards of my own. My manager at the time checked into it and told me that the expense was denied.There is only one possible answer: Any company where employees need......
Sam Ruby wrote about Business Cards and I remembered that when I needed my first business cards at Idoox (which later turned to Systinet), I needed to go to town to get them myself. I guess that's what you get......
You know, I get sick and tired of large corporations only giving a fraction of their employees business cards.
Like you say, it's almost like you have to be "worthy" enough to get them! That's crazy! Not like they are that expensive. Searching Yahoo!, I came across GreatFX Business Cards who sells cards starting at $69.00. VistaPrint.com even offers free business cards (although they aren't of the highest quality). There is NO EXCUSE for companies not to buy business cards for their employees.
I think that every person in the business world should have cards that identify who they are and what they do. Business cards not only help identify the person, but also spreads the word about the company!