Since I returned to the technology sales and marketing world with CircleBack/ScanBizCards, this question has been posed to me (with varying levels of sensitivity) by many people.  After I give them a look like they just told me that my baby is ugly, I smile and say “you do- you just don’t realize it.”

 It’s not like I’m playing the role Grandpa Simpson (“in my day we didn’t have iPhones; we had toilet paper roles and string”) and don’t understand the question. Business cards are literally paper in a digital world. There are tons of ways to acquire a person’s contact details that don’t involve a face-to-face passing of the business card.  Every sales pundit is extolling the virtues of “social selling,” although nobody seems to really agree on what that is beyond barraging strangers with Linked In and Twitter posts. Bump, the mobile app that allows you to transfer your contact information directly to another mobile device by touching the phones together, just had a “successful” exit. (I used the dick air quotes for a company that raised $20MM and took 4 years to sell for $30MM.) In our Pulse’d, Wired, TechCrunched world business cards seem like an anachronism.

 However, the majority of business people are still using business cards. If you disagree, attend a trade show. Even at the most whizbang technology Meetup, attendees are dropping their digits on conference tables, bars, and into bowls in booths.  Sales people still collect them at meetings – in fact I would argue that when a decision maker hands you his/her card, it signifies a validation of your meeting and “opt-in” for future contact. That’s much more promising than accepting a mass Linked In request. Asian cultures are still all about the ceremony of trading business cards. (I will never forget the looks I received from several Japanese prospects as my former CEO used their General Manager’s card to pick his teeth.) Four of the top 10 most downloaded business apps on the Appstore are business cards scanners. When someone hands you a business card, what other record of that information is more accurate or up-to-date? 

 The main value, however, is not the medium of transfer of business card information. It is the power of the data. Business contact information is the foundation of all social apps, not to mention CRM and Marketing. ScanBizCards allows you to digitize the information on a business card and upload it into whatever business application you desire. We just upgraded our Managed App on the Salesforce.com AppExchange, which means that salespeople can update Leads, Contacts, and Opportunities with the click of their smartphone camera. How many hours of late night desktop data entry will that save?

 Who cares about business cards? I do. You do. Voodoo.