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The web experience extended to business cards

Our friend and colleague Lee LeFever posted a good review and appreciation of Moo business cards in his Moo Cards are the Most post. It's interesting to think about these cards, which feature a personalized photo on one side, as extensions of the web experience.

10-15 years ago, a business website was itself often just a business card—just a few facts pointing to the offline experience. At the time, very few businesses recognized that the experience of their products, services, places, etc., could be unglued from physical time and place and given a virtual, everywhere and all the time, form.

Since then, it's become more common for websites to strive towards a user experience in itself, rather than being merely an advertisement for some other experience offline. And, given the social basis of the success of the web, it's becoming common that our experience of products, etc., is itself web-ified across many websites created by many individuals.

For example, if you wanted to get a sense of the experience of owning a Toyota Prius, that experience is not only expressed on the web, but it's expressed on more than two million web pages, of which Toyota controls only a handful. Most of the pages are created by other people (e.g., customers, employees, fans, etc.) whose own personal expression are now integral to how we experience the Prius brand.

When you give your business card to another person, traditionally, you are giving them only a pointer back to yourself and/or your company, with not much to "experience" beyond the design of the card. (Of course people do respond to well designed cards—there is an important "first impression" experience there, and people look to get a sense of who you are from your card's use of graphics, colors, typography, etc., and even from the tactile feeling of the card.)

With cards like Moo's, where one side has a photo, you have the opportunity to give someone a rich experience in the card itself. As Lee suggests in his post, giving someone a photo in this way is potentially the start of a conversation (and, a better connection), which I'd compare with the way the web is a conversational medium for creating connections.

In some sense, the card with a photo becomes its own "site" that can be "visited" and shared, etc. And, most importantly, it can help create a better connection between you and others.

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