Business cards are so yesterday. Stop. Let’s make a correction there. Business cards are so last-century. Did you know that the US prints around 10,000,000,000 (yes, ten billion!) cards a year, and that 88% of these are thrown away within a week of being handed out? They’re a waste of time, paper and money. There is nothing worse than running out of cards when you need them the most. Just met an angel investor? Oh, too bad, none left in your pocket. There is also the problem of carrying too many cards – coming back home from an industrial exhibition with two hundred in each pocket is no joke. What do you do with all of those?!
Motorola came up with a solution for this in late 2005 called Business Card Recognition (BCR), which came loaded in their A1200 “Moto Ming” phones. The software would ‘read’ a card via the camera, and rather intelligently store contact details in the appropriate field. Motorola had high hopes. They wanted people to stop printing hundreds of cards – just carry one, and let interested parties scan it. Sadly, phone cameras back then were so poor that the software failed miserably, and the idea of scanning people’s cards never caught on.
Fast forward to today and creative people are coming up with dozens of ‘alternative’ business networking tokens: balloons, bottle openers, keychains printed with email addresses, you name it. Sadly these are far too expensive for most of us – would you spend Rs. 100 or more per card? You’d probably have to hand out hundreds of these things at events. Also, how many people are willing to go to an event with a sack full of printed rubber wristbands to tie around strangers’ hands?
There are apps that let you scan/type a business card and share it with other people – by ‘reading’ printed cards through your phone’s camera, or sending digital cards via email. Nonetheless, they still require some degree of effort, and are prone to errors like OCR (optical character recognition) failure – which can deal a fatal blow to your networking capabilities if they occur. Imagine saving an angel investor’s details with one of these apps, and calling them up a week later only to realize that the number doesn’t work. Of course, all these apps also make you pay to unlock their more important features.
So, do you keep printing endless cartons of visiting cards?
No. There is a better way.
2017’s card of the year is no card at all.
The next time you are at an event, use Ohai. The app finds people in your immediate vicinity – beginning in your room, and then moving on to those who are a few hundred feet away. People are auto-sorted by mutual interests, so you see the most relevant ones first. When you meet someone, there’s no need to type details or scan anything. Just find them on Ohai, save their profile and you’re done!
There’s no need to even take your phone out every time you meet someone. Ohai’s ‘Seen Around Me’ feature shows you who was seen in your vicinity, at what time, and at what place. You can meet a dozen people, take your phone out just once and save all their details in a single go! It’s really that easy.
Ohai makes networking faster than ever before. It works pretty much anywhere! You can just find people in your area from your own field, rather than foraging around on the internet. Need an Android developer for your company? Search Ohai, there could be one strolling around in your lane.
Download the Ohai app now, and find professionals from your own field, in your immediate area. Get your business networking skills roaring!
Do you know what Rubber Band Syndrome and Workspheres are? Learn more about business networking from these awesome TED and TEDx talks.
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