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The Businesscardless Office

Seems like we’ve heard about the promise of the paperless office for about 10 years now, but in some circles of business, we’re not much closer to the reality of this than we were back then.

dubmenowI think a couple things have slowed the crawl to this 1) people just don’t do a good enough job using the vast array of file saving, file sharing, and digital collaboration tools out there with ready access on mobile and portable devices. If you think about it, we don’t need much paper. 2) there’s still a desire for something tangible that only a physical document or magazine can bring. You can’t touch or smell digital documents so that makes them less real. I think this human need will make the creation of physical products, marketing kits and magazines a necessary part of the marketing world for some time.

Now, the businesscardless office on the other hand is, in fact, growing nearer and nearer. The roladex you need is on your phone, a device that allows you to call, email, or text your contacts with the push of a button. Services like Plaxo, GMail, Salesforce.com, ACT and Outlook have all made desktop and online address books very robust and fairly easy to update. (Need to add your twitter ID to your digital business, poof, it’s added)

But, I’ve always felt like the missing ingredient was the ability to take a business card, awkwardly exchanged at a networking function, (for those that still possess them) and presto, zippo, bang, it’s on your phone or CRM. Cardscan has performed this function for years, but it feels a little like a fax machine these days. I come back from most conferences with a stack of dreaded business cards waiting to be keystroked.

I think that’s about to change with the release of a new service dubbed, um, DubMeNow. DubMeNow offers users the ability to text or email their contact info directly into your mobile device. Of course, you have to accept the message for it to actually move into your phone database. Depending upon your particular set-up this info syncs with your desktop CRM or contact management software when you perform the next sync.

And here’s the ultra cool thing – anytime someone that’s given you their contact info via dub makes a change, it’s automatically updated on your phone.

You can also create DUBIDs for products and services and allow anyone to request to have more information sent to their phone just by sending a text to the DUBID you create.

There are any number of ways to use this tool, and like other innovative technologies, its usefulness will grow with adoption, but DUB already syncs contacts and updates with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Siebel On-Demand and SugarCRM and says it has Facebook and LinkedIn integration in the works.

My DUBID is ducttape if you want to send me an invite.

One final thought – I still want your business card, I love the snap of it, the smell of it, the feel of it, but I no longer care about the factual details, I’ll get those digitally. Your business card is now free to become a visual expression of what you stand for. Make it a piece of art I might want to hang on to, let it give me a glimpse into what you care about, what your brand promises – let it be your first remarkable impression.

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  • http://http//575488trillion.com Walter Paul Bebirian

    Great idea – I have already given out over 2.5 million of my business cards with my “Self Portrait” on it – I always say – if Van Gogh gave you his “Self Portriat” and you had held onto it – well- —-

    :-)

  • http://575488trillion.com Walter Paul Bebirian

    that was “Self Portrait” for Van Gogh also and I messed up on the website url –

    sorry!

    Walter :-)

  • http://bellinghamproperty.com/ Michael Eisenberg

    I don’t see business cards going away anytime soon, lots of folks you might want to give one to don’t have smartphones.
    And like you say they can be a bit of creativity

  • http://www.dubmenow.com Chris Hopkinson
  • http://www.TornadoMktg.com/Blog Adrianne Machina

    That is sooooo cool. The technofile in me is jumping for joy. And that it works with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Saleforce is just that much cooler. Off to go sign up…..

  • John Jantsch

    @Michael – this might be an industry by industry thing, but actually majority do have phones that can text and store contacts and you can do it on the web too, but I’ve already seen entire industries that have already gone to, “Dude, I don’t really have a business.”

  • http://www.mindfrenzy.com Jared O’Toole

    very cool idea. I still love getting business cards but often I forget to do anything with the info. I think its a great idea for taken care of that on the spot before I have time to lose the card or forget about it.

  • http://www.bbmstudios.com/blog Jillian Anderson

    Excellent post. I love your closing thought, “Make it a piece of art I might want to hang on to, let it give me a glimpse into what you care about…”

  • Ben Lobensteinen

    I signed up….looks similar to mydropcard.com which I’ve been using for ages, each has something different.

  • http://marketingeye.com.au/ WMJ

    Most of people still like the traditional way to introduce or be introduced to others, such as using business cards, someone such like me

  • http://www.WEBlogMV.com veronika

    Peter Shankman was been talking about the Pokens… http://www.doyoupoken.com – granted, you have to touch the little poken hands together to transfer the data but it might be nice to have a face to face with someone you’re sharing your contact info with! At least it sound more fun to Poken then to Dub…
    V-

  • http://crystalsquest.com CrystalsQuest

    I’ve been using the nokia business card function to transfer my virtual card to other Nokia phones for ages – I watched it morph from txt to IR to bluetooth. As I was reading your article I was thinking “Why use a service when you can just transfer it direct into a palm or mobile anyway” – but then you hit us with the auto update feature and I realised why.

    Still, there’s two things about business cards that this can’t replace:

    First, I always write on the back of them where I’ve met a person. Plus when I get home I have a single stack of cards I can go through and send out letters to after a few weeks to establish that contact. If your card ends up just another one in a database, how would you find all the people you met at, for example, the last IM conference you attended?

    Second, if your contact details automatically update whenever you change them with Dub, where’s the excuse to get back in touch and re-establish your connection with someone?

    Finally, I have to admit that I like the idea of a degree of natural attrition. If there’s someone you haven’t heard from or spoken to in 20 years, that you met only once, briefly, and who never got back to you when you tried to deepen the relationship, do you really want them to be able to follow you wherever you may go for the rest of your life?

  • NYK007

    Hi guys,

    Most of people still like the traditional way to introduce or be introduced to others, such as using business cards, someone such like me. Thanks

    NYK
    Home Based Business

  • John Jantsch

    @CrystalsQuest – The notetaking just moves to your device instead of the physical card – just a matter of habit change.

    I don’t disagree about the getting back in touch, but I would rather that be a note, gift or offer and not a request to update my profile.

  • Andy

    I’ve found the best way to have a successful paperless office is to employ the services of a company that offers document management software.

  • http://www.seoresults.co.za/pages/seo-tips/ SEO Tips South Africa

    The demise of the business card! Whilst I agree on the need for the paperless office, I feel that there (and my oriental business associate will really agree on this one) is a certain amount of ritual involved in the physical exchange, which needs to be looked at.

    What I really like is the instant updates offered by DubMeNow, which means that your information will be relevant and up to date forever (as long as DubMeNow is around, that is!).