Discard this card

Sending out invitations for a conference, I went through the stack of business cards I’ve collected over the last twenty-odd years. There’s always a few that need to be pruned because email addresses are no longer valid or the persons have moved on to new lines of work. This year I was casting the net wide, looking for participants from all countries, and got to look at cards I don’t often consider, some of them old enough that they didn't have web addresses on them, some even so old they didn’t have email addresses on them.

I could see the cycles of IT booms and busts, some companies had hardly registered in computer history at all, some subsidiaries were brief footnotes in corporate histories from when the European market was thought to be larger than it ended up being, some did still exist, but my contacts were long gone. Web sites were nonexistent, or parked with domain name suppliers, or in some cases taken up by completely different companies who had quite independently, much later dreamt up what they thought was a witty and creative name. Then again, there were small companies who had weathered all upheavals, and still sat on email addresses with names reminiscent of dial-up connections and 2400 baud modems.

In the end I ended up with a small stack of cards whose historical value I briefly considered, but that I finally tossed in the recycling bag. Probably I will collect new cards at the conference, the little physical tokens still seem to be popular, even though I have long had electronic business cards to be Bluetoothed or IR-linked away.

No comments: