Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

CardCloud Spells the End of Physical Business Cards

In a world in which we expect everything to be digital, and all digital objects to be archived and searchable forever, what is the role of a paper card?

  • April 20, 2011

CardCloud, a slick, more-functional re-launch of an existing service, aims to do away with business cards altogether. If the number of business card scanners available is any indication, this solution couldn’t have come soon enough.

CardCloud’s solution is to simply eliminate the physical card. At base, CardCloud is an extension of the informal replacement for the business card ritual – an exchange of email addresses – but in a few key ways, it goes beyond both traditional business cards and their ad-hoc replacements.

The main thing CardCloud provides is context. Mobile phones can record where and when you exchanged information with a contact, which is an aid to memory sorely lacking from most records of a meatspace introduction.

The most important feature of CardCloud is that only the party giving a ‘card’ needs the app: Cards can be sent via email.

The downside of an app like CardCloud is that it remains more cumbersome than simply handing out physical cards. While it’s possible to simply bump CardCloud apps with someone else, that’s still a multi step operation: unlock iPhone, open app, hit send. And that’s the best case scenario: 99 times out of 100, you’re going to be asking your new friend to spell out their email address – a cumbersome operation even under the best circumstances.

Ironically, CardCloud used to be an outfit called MyNameIsE, and they were working on exchanges of data via near field communication. That proved to be too complicated, however. It’s a shame – it still feels like the ultimate solution to the problem of physical business cards is something as simple and elegant as bumping devices.

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