My card

Today’s idea is a fairly simple one: a business card that remains relevant and current no matter whether you change your job, your address, your phone number or your email address.

People you give your card to simply open up a generic reader application on their computer, hold the card up to their webcam – and not only are your details in the computer, but they’ll automatically update in their system if you change any of your info on your account.

But perhaps even more cleverly, using the various APIs available on different services, users can also very simply elect to friend you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, add you as a contact in LinkedIn, Flickr,, Skype… or any other number of services.

Go to a conference, collect a bunch of these, and it’s a simple matter of holding them up to your webcam or showing them to your iPhone one at a time to be scanned, added to your contacts database, and social networked up.

Table of contents for 30 Days of Ideas

  1. The other way of following first
  2. Now we’re up and dancing
  3. 30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash
  4. 30 days of ideas – 02: Radio Alerts
  5. 30 days of ideas – 03: Only Famous (a romantic comedy)
  6. 30 days of ideas – 04: Modcasts
  7. 30 days of ideas – 05: Numberless Calendar
  8. 30 days of ideas – 06: SpringCleanr
  9. 30 days of ideas – 07: Street Gallery
  10. 30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards
  11. 30 days of ideas – 09: Recordings in Concert
  12. 30 days of ideas – 10: Vinyl scanner
  13. 30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan
  14. 30 days of ideas – 12: A Box of Cool
  15. 30 days of ideas – 13: Karaoke-Tube Celebstar Idol
  16. 30 days of ideas – 14: I Made You A Tape
  17. 30 days of ideas – 15: Newspaper download codes
  18. 30 days of ideas – 16: Pebble Splash
  19. 30 days of ideas – 17: Digital radio, somewhere useful
  20. 30 days of ideas – 18: Public domain music collection
  21. 30 days of ideas – 19: Blog cast-list automator
  22. 30 days of ideas – 20: The Retirement Pile
  23. 30 days of ideas – 21: Nationalise EMI
  24. 30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)
  25. 30 days of ideas – 23: WordPress Bandcampify template
  26. 30 days of ideas – 24: Rollercoasters as public transport
  27. 30 days of ideas – 25: Next-gen personalised music radio
  28. 30 days of ideas – 26: New Music Trust
  29. 30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening
  30. 30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription
  31. 30 days of ideas – 29: ‘Now Playing’ social music app
  32. 30 days of ideas – 30: House of Spare Ideas
  33. Mixtape for You by Ray Kuyvenhoven
  34. What can you do in 30 days?

7 thoughts on “30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards

  1. Indeed, when I was in Japan recently, the webmaster for TOKYO FM handed me a card with his details on (for humans) and a QR code with his details in (for a computer). The Japanese – one step ahead, as always.

  2. Neat – but a more practical solution is for the barcode to decode to the URL of a page which has your contact details in pain text, as an hCalendar microformat, and downloadable as a vCard. You should also include the URL in plain text, for they benefit of people without the necessary scanning application.

  3. I’m not married to the QR code – I just thought it visually represented the idea nicely.

    No objection to throwing a URL in the mix as well… but the key to this idea is not a vCard or microformat piece of text – because in order for that to remain relevant, the user would have to revisit the site, redownload the updated information, and re-import it into their system.

    The trick here is more along the lines of the kind of dynamic updates that Plaxo do (the one bit they do well, though their service is a mess of far too many ideas) – and with the integration into social and business networking sites through API.

    In other words – the whole point is that you put the information into your computer only once (and without effort) and then a) it’s always up to date, no matter what happens; and b) you can connect to that person through whatever platforms they enable and you select.

  4. There’s no reason why someone can’t write an app that “subscribes” to an hCard, and polls it on a regular basis to check for updates (or, for that matter, why a protocol couldn’t be agreed for the server on which the hCard sits to ‘ping’ the apps which have subscribed to it; or to emit a feed entry, when anything changes).

    An alternative solution is to never store contact details locally; only URLs, and to fetch the contact details each time you need to use them – but of course that requires an “always on” connection and has several potential single-points-of-failure.

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