A ‘boring’ problem still waiting to be solved
“Someone’s trying to solve business cards again,” I tweeted yesterday, much to the amusement of my Twitter followers.
Apps that aim to replace business cards with a better way of exchanging contact information are one of the oldest app ideas around, but no-one’s ever got it right. Even Bump, an app that reduced contact exchange to simply tapping two smartphones together, got acquired by Google and was never heard of again.
The latest attempt is an app called HiHello
, and comes from the founder of CardMunch, another previous go at replacing business cards. It even uses QR codes – now there’s another technology widely mocked for not achieving its potential (at least in the West).
It’s easy to see why people are cynical about the idea of one more attempt to kill the business card. So many attempts, none of them successful; it’s basically a boring problem now. It feels like it belongs to an earlier generation of app developers, and today’s startups should focus on new ideas.
There’s a certain amount of ritual around exchanging cards, but often these days I find people are tired of handing them out and tired of receiving them. When I offer to simply type their email address into my phone and send a followup message right there and then, they’re often relieved.
People keep coming back to the idea of killing business cards because they’re such a hangover from the pre-digital era. Killing them makes so much sense.
So, it might be fun to roll your eyes when someone new tries to tackle this familiar problem. But don’t roll them too hard. One day, somebody’s going to figure it out and business cards will be well and truly dead.