It’s in the (Business) Cards

By Noah Graff

IMTS is coming and neither Graff-Pinkert nor Today’s Machining World will have a booth — but we do at least have business cards!

Cards are a funny thing these days. It’s the 21st Century, and everyone has a Website, a Facebook, and smartphone that can store detailed information plus take photos and video. But still, if you’re in business anywhere in the world, you have to have a business card. Those little portable pieces of cardboard can be powerful. Pass out a lot of them, and maybe one will have a lasting impression that pays dividends.

Last fall, I was traveling around Germany looking for screw machines and Hydromats. Often on my business trips I resort to shots in the dark while I’m in between previously planned appointments. I call up companies from old lists of machine shops acquired by Graff-Pinkert over the years. I have a beautiful phone intro, “I’m in the area, so I was wondering if I could stop by your shop. Do you have any machines for sale or that you’re looking for?”

On a rainy day, sitting in my hotel room in Cologne Germany, I was able to get through to an owner. He then told me he had nothing for sale, so I shouldn’t come, but he recommended that I try a colleague with a shop in the mountains, about two hours away. I called the shop up and made it through to the owner, and indeed they had a very expensive vertical Hydromat for sale and said they would be happy to have me. So I drove out to the boonies on the west side of Germany — it seems like most shops in Germany are in remote places — and when the owner met me at the door he handed me a boring black and white business card in pristine condition. I couldn’t believe it when the card read “Rex Magagnotti,” my fellow salesman at Graff-Pinkert. Apparently Rex had trekked up to the same shop 16 years ago, probably just like me, on a whim, looking for treasure.

There is something about a business card that has the power to make a lasting impression. Sure it likely will get tossed or bunched in a rubber band with 100 others, but it has a presence, it’s tangible, you can carry it in your wallet, keep it on your desk, or write on the back of it. If the receiver cares about what’s on it, it might just survive. Paper is a waste of natural resources and a cumbersome thing to organize. However paper can last for centuries. The Vatican library has books that have lasted 2000 years. Computer bytes disintegrate in 5 to 10 years, meaning the data has to be constantly backed up.

Another business trip also gave me a respect for business cards. When I went to Japan to do a story for Today’s Machining World, I was instructed that if a Japanese person presents you with a business card, you must read it thoughtfully for at least 30 seconds and then carefully store it in a holder, rather than shoving it in your pocket. The card is regarded as a symbol of a company, deserving respect.

My friend Rich Kaplan, a professor of creativity who used to contribute to Today’s Machining World, told me that a good business card should have a utilitarian purpose, in addition to just being a promotional tool. For example, he suggested putting a ruler on the back of a business card, or perhaps a table of feeds and speeds. Put something on the card so it can be constantly used for practical purposes and stay in the hand of a customer as much as possible. Our Graff-Pinkert business cards were designed with a matte finish and a lot of blank space on the back, so people can easily write notes on them. When I’m at IMTS this year, I will try to remember to only write on the back of our own cards and not on the back of one from a Japanese company.

Question: What should Barak Obama’s business card have on it?

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49 thoughts on “It’s in the (Business) Cards

    1. AvatarEmily Halgrimson Post author

      Anytime I hear someone say something about the President not being a citizen I conclude they watch way too much right wing fringe TV 🙂

       
      +20
      1. AvatarMike P

        He brings it on himself, not being transparent and all. Why not produce all his records? Do yah think he might have too much explaining to do?

         
        +9
      2. AvatarJim G

        FOX NOISE!! The whole crew is made up of failed attorneys and politicians, and now are shock jocks with goofy outfits of suspenders, glasses that are meant to make him look intelligent but instead he should have a fake stash and nose! Always have a hot set of legs at the front. I think we just discovered way so many men watch!!

         
        +2
      3. AvatarRobert

        His official WH released birth certificate is a Photoshop document consisting of at least 6 layers, and is an electronic fake, his SSN was issued from Conneticut even though he was a resident of Hawaii. Regardless of whether he is a Natural Born Citizen of the USA, his job performance sucks and is indefensible.

         
        +17
      4. AvatarBill

        In what world do you live in? The president submited the long form Birth certificate, that was the end of the story for folks based in reality.
        It must be fun to live in a total fantasy world, do they have Pretty Fuzzy Pink Unicorns there to?

         
        +4
      5. AvatarJosh

        Robert you may want to grab a napkin because you’ve got one heck of a Kool-Aid mustache.

         
        +1
    1. AvatarJosh

      Brilliant! As a former Obama supporter he has been a true disappointment in so many ways. Real ones though, not just the right wing spingenda issues.

       
      +1
  1. AvatarChristopher Ferrier

    I believe business cards are important, but I don’t keep the cards I receive. To reduce clutter, I enter the contact information from the cards into the contacts on my iPhone. I take a picture of the card to use as the image for the contact. Then I throw the card away. My contacts are backed up on the cloud, in case I break my phone. Everywhere I go, I have every business card I’ve ever received with me.

     
    +3
  2. AvatarBill

    Brought the nation back from the edge of total economic collapse.
    Several years of positive job growth.
    Saved the Automotive industry.
    The Dow is at 17k from a low of 6.4k.
    Ended two wars and got our soldiers the hell out harms way.
    lowering deficit spending at a record pace.

    Whats in your wallet?

     
    +6
    1. AvatarJosh

      While I agree, and as you know from my posting history I am not one of the rabid anti-Obama Fox Noise crowd I have to add a few.

      – Expanded and defended NSA spying programs

      – Put together a kill list for assassinating those he considers enemies of the state, including American citizens who have a right to due process, including an American citizen who was 16 years old.

      – Did pull the troops out of Iraq….. because the Iraqis would not sign an agreement to not prosecute American troops for committing crimes

      – Claims that marijuana enforcement isn’t a priority… highest number of DEA raids on medical marijuana facilities than earlier presidents combined.

      – Expanded drone program that results in unnecessary casualties and creating new terrorists with a legitimate anger with the US where before there were none.

      – Pro-Establishment in almost every way

       
      +2
      1. Avatarbill

        – Expanded and defended NSA spying programs – true

        Put together a kill list for assassinating those he considers enemies of the state, including American citizens who have a right to due process, including an American citizen who was 16 years old. – Pretty far fetched that is.

        Did pull the troops out of Iraq….. because the Iraqis would not sign an agreement to not prosecute American troops for committing crimes – Absolutely true, our troops are under the jurisdiction of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.. Not some rag head kangaroo court… Those soldiers that commited crimes were punished..

        Claims that marijuana enforcement isn’t a priority… highest number of DEA raids on medical marijuana facilities than earlier presidents combined. –

        I can’t remember the last raid can you? What was it 2009? I see states with legal Marijuana the Feds aren’t getting involved.

        Expanded drone program that results in unnecessary casualties and creating new terrorists with a legitimate anger with the US where before there were none. –
        I don’t believe that we are making terrorists where there were none. The CIA had already accomplished that in the last 5 decades….

        Pro-Establishment in almost every way –

        I don’t see the XL online, I see a 30% reduction in carbon emissions, I see a strong labor board… Establishment?

         
      2. AvatarJosh

        Bill, I generally agree with you, but my assertion of the kill list is far from far fetched. Anwar Al-awlaki and his son, both Americans, both assassinated without due process.

         
    2. AvatarDoug

      Saved from an over-hyped economic collapse brought on by the bursting of the housing bubble and prolonged by Keynesian economic policies. (Doubled down on the policies that gave us the bubble to begin with.)
      Job growth primarily in part time low wage jobs, lowest labor force participation rate since Jimmy Carter, record numbers of people on disability, welfare and food stamps. Highest number of long term unemployed since the great depression.
      Saved union pension and benefit funds, not the automotive industry. The taxpayers lost $52b on that deal.
      Dow is at record levels due to the $92b that the Federal Reserve pumps into it through quantitative easing. Just wait till that bubble pops…
      We left Iraq unstable and now all of the gains for which our men and women died, are lost. It is now in the hands of terrorists so barbaric that Al-Qaida disavowed them, and a million Christian Arabs have be told to convert, run or be slaughtered.
      National debt is now twice what it was when he started and unfunded liabilities in the future will enslave future generations to debt unknown to the history of man.
      Please please please pull your head out, wake up and smell the Cloward Piven.

      Our children and grandchildren will curse us for what we have allowed to happen, but my guess is that you either don’t understand or just don’t give a damn.

      “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.”

       
      +6
      1. Avatarbill

        “Our child
        ren and grandchildren will curse us for what we have allowed to happen, but my guess is that you either don’t understand or just don’t give a damn. ”

        No sir, what has been done in the last 6 years has nothing to do with the position our labor force is in. You and your generation drank the kool-aid that Reagan and Bernake were distilling for you, the failed conservative policys that were enacted into law over the last 40 years or so are to blame soley for our position!

         
      2. AvatarDoug

        Obama has gotten pretty much everything he wanted for the past 6 years, whatever he couldn’t get passed through legislation, he decreed. Why has everything gotten worse? If his policies were so wonderful, why haven’t they at least gotten a little bit better? I do agree with you that all of this did not start when Obama took office but he has doubled and tripled down on all of the things that put a nation into decline. Over-taxing, over-spending, choking regulation, exponential expansion of government, diminishing of personal liberty, putting bureaucracies in charge of things they can’t possibly know everything about… this is your idea of what works?

         
        +4
    1. AvatarJosh

      Yeah, the expansion in food stamps and unemployment is totally Obama’s fault, it certainly couldn’t have anything to do with the worst economic downturn this country has seen since the great depression.

       
      +1
      1. AvatarDoug

        Obama used an executive order to unilaterally overturn the welfare reform laws signed by Bill Clinton that helped huge numbers of people move from welfare to work, sooo, yeah. A lot of it, his fault.

         
        +3
      2. Avatarbill

        “Obama used an executive order to unilaterally overturn the welfare reform laws signed by Bill Clinton that helped huge numbers of people move from welfare to work, sooo, yeah. A lot of it, his fault”

        That is total Fox News BULLSHIT! Do some research before posting such garbage.

         
        +1
      3. AvatarDoug

        Although Bill, I do appreciate your not calling me hateful names, I get that a lot from people with similar political views to yours. I suspect that in person you are probably a really good guy.

         
  3. AvatarBryan Willman

    Bryan’s rules for effective business cards to hand out at IMTS, if you actually want to sell me something.
    1. It should have an email that somebody actually reads.
    2. The relevent web address.
    3. A blank space ON WHICH I CAN WRITE WITH A NORMAL PEN. Write things like why I agreed to take your card, why I care at all about your company. People have sold me things because later I looked at the back of their card and saw “14 inch version $3K + blades” or some such.
    4. Your card should behave well in scanners, and be easy to photograph into evenote or the like using a smartphone or tablet. So cards that are made of hard steel, ultra weird colors, full of moire patterns, etc. are ways to be sure I’ll lose track of you and not buy anything from you.

     
    +2
  4. AvatarMike P

    “Lie like me and you too can achieve.” or “Ethics be damned” or “Keep Gitmo open for me” or “Judge people by the company they keep”

    In my 50 plus years of precision machining with less than proficient coworkers this suits him best. “It’s someone else’s fault.” or “I didn’t do that.” ie. “It’s not my fault.”

    The Oblamer trolls just can’t admit the truth about Ofailure. They must be takers or even Union members. Notice I didn’t say Union workers, so GFY.

     
    +2
  5. AvatarEd

    Noah,
    I thought you guys were going to keep the crazy off of this blog! Why would you ask a question that you know would bring out all the nut jobs?

     
  6. AvatarMike P

    Ed,

    If the question is about a nut job, why would anyone expect serious replies? Noah must have wanted to shed some humor on what all should realize by now, is a very sad situation in this country.

     

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