I give out hand-written business cards. I’m told that when people first look at them their first reaction is something along the lines of “That’s an interesting font”, followed by “Oh wow, this was written by hand. That’s weird and different.” Then eventually, “This is actually really cool.”
The first time I made my business cards was for attending Devopsdays Austin in 2014. Prior to the conference, it occurred to me that I should be prepared for a lot of networking with people in my industry. I’m not supplied business cards at my current full time job, so I would need to make some on my own to identify myself to others. This got me thinking about how I would present myself and make it easy for people to remember me. I tend to take a do-it-yourself approach to most things, so making my own business card is fitting. I could have easily used a boilerplate design and printed them out on high-quality cards. I would have designed them myself, so why not just go the extra step of creating them myself literally by hand?
Making the Cards
Because deciding to make business cards was a last minute decision, I didn’t have time to buy pre-cut blank business cards. Instead, I used some 3x5 index cards I had lying around. I used my trusty art knife to cut them down to standard business card size. Using an index card meant that the back side would have lines on it which would come in handy eventually.
The information I chose to put on the cards answers standard questions:
- Who am I?
- Where am I?
- How can you contact me?
Additionally, I included my PGP public key ID as a unique touch, letting people know that I’m conscious of encryption and privacy. If they don’t know what it is, it offers an additional opportunity to talk about something I’m interested in.
On each card, to make sure the words are consistently lined up, I lightly pencil guide lines which I erase after finishing. I’ll then pick one section of the card to complete at a time, and finish it on each of the cards before moving on to the next section. This helps speed things up a little bit.
A Personal Touch
The most important part of my business card is that I carefully write and draw every part of each card, making each one unique. This year, I added something to the cards that I’ve never seen before, but something I thought would be useful and memorable. Whenever I meet someone at a conference or even talk to someone at any sort of length, I try (but often forget) to write down in my bullet journal who they are, where we met, and what we talked about. So, on the back side of my business cards this year, I included a semi-personal message to the recipient of the card.
In addition to adding a personal touch to the card, it provides them a convenient place, right alongside my information and where we met, to write down what we talked about. Assuming they hang onto business cards like I do, the information will follow the card for as long as they have it. I have a ton of business cards that I’ve received over the years whose owners I can’t remember aside from their name. But years down the road, holders of my card will know exactly who I am, where we met, and what we talked about.
I took it an extra step at this year’s Devopsdays, and offered my cards as this year’s “numbered limited edition” (I actually did number each one). This adds a little bit of a marketing feel to it and encourages me to be more outgoing.
I do plan on making a unique batch of my business cards for each conference I go to, and I want them to be part of who I am. I carry around a couple non-specific ones in my wallet, so feel free to ask for one the next time you see me!
The next edition will be for DEF CON 23, although I don’t expect to make or hand out quite as many as I did at Devopsdays.