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November 26, 2009

A serviceable business card


I’ve often said that the worst thing a small business owner can do is run out of business cards. You never know when you’ll have the chance to make a connection with someone who will forget you otherwise.

On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time I wrote to someone after being handed their business card. I can remember searching for an open source project or the name of their blog and finding it easily on Google.

Does the expense of printing business cards pay itself back?

A Fresh Start

A month ago I (embarrassingly) realized I was out of business cards. In the past I would have spent an hour or two updating my information and designing a new look, but I had been waiting for this moment to go big. If Pluralsight was going to be known for high production values and quality content, then we had better have business cards to match.

I dialed up a letterpress printing company I had been following on Twitter. After a few short rounds we ended up with a great looking design that I would never have thought of myself.

It’s about ¼ inch thick and displays a noticeable bite from the printing press. The main logo is printed with clear varnish which makes it slightly more shiny than the rest of the card. The other details are in silver ink.

All told, it’s not only the most impressive business card I’ve owned, it’s the best one I’ve seen anywhere. Which they should be given the $680 I paid for 200 of them.

Reactions in the Wild

The fine people at Dolce Press not only designed and printed the cards in short order, they also overnighted them to me in time for my trip to RailsCamp.

So far, the reception has been very positive. Gareth Townsend accepted one in exchange for $3 I had borrowed from him for tram fare.

Ben Hoskings said they were much more classy than handing $5 to everyone I meet.

People who hear about them greet me with “Can I see one of those business cards?”

If anything, they may be too good.

I offered one to someone on the plane but they returned it after looking (presumably overwhelmed by the thought of hefting something so significant with them for the remainder of their trip).

Nathan Scott of Inspire 9 expressed feelings of inadequacy upon handing me his card in return.

I now carry a second wallet that holds a half dozen of them since they’re way too thick to fit in my normal wallet. I see this as a good thing—people who take one won’t be able to ignore it when they get back to their desk.

Overall, they do what any business card should do: Make a bold statement, announce their presence in advance, and operate as legal tender in foreign countries.

About the Author

is VP of Open Source at Pluralsight. He previously founded PeepCode and is an all around entrepreneur, developer, designer, teacher and athlete. Follow him on Twitter at @topfunky.