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For some years now we’ve been able to set up tiny companies, give them a fancy web page and make them look just like a huge corporation. As long as your customers are happy they don’t care how big you are.

We see a similar thing with eBooks. Indie self-publishers have books in the big on-line stores like Amazon, iTunes, B&N and their readers don’t seem to care that the books didn’t come out of one of the big 6 publishing houses.

Part of this is that we can simply do so much more for ourselves. We can take photos (and videos) and edit them without a complicated darkroom, and we can even design and ‘print’ 3D objects if we want.

So why would we get our business cards printed by someone else?

I’m not knocking the people that do it, and I used to do this when I was in the corporate world. I never seemed to use more than a few of the minimum 200 cards they would print for me. These days I sometimes need a card with my contact details on it to give to, say, the person I’m dropping off something I want him to fix for me. He wants to know how to get back to me and it is tedious to do this verbally. So I hand him a card.

The information doesn’t change very often but I know I only need a few of them and I wanted to play around with the design. Maybe I want a different design next time. Organising this on a page in OpenOffice (or MS Word, if you must) is trivial and printing them on a laser printer is just a button press.

But the story is a little more interesting.

I decided to add a Q Code to the back of the card, just because I could. Perhaps some of the print shops that do cards would do this, but I’m sure it would be tricky and expensive etc. For me it was quite simple, even if I expected it to be no actual use.

While I’m not corporate these days I did find myself in a business meeting earlier this week and when cards were being passed around I handed out mine. I had just a little concern that it wouldn’t look quite professional because it doesn’t have ‘ltd’ or ‘inc’ anywhere, just my name, phone and email.

“Oh, you’ve got a Q-code on the back!”

“We should have this on ours.”

“Damn right.”

And everyone was pulling out their smart phones and scanning the code. The way this works is the scanner software grabs the Q-code information and allows them to push it straight into their contacts. They instantly have my email, phone etc without having to type it in.

So my home grown business card was, in fact, quite a hit.

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