I changed my wallet.
A friend of mine gave me a very beautiful wallet as present. It was very kind of him and funny thing is I needed a new wallet since the one I had was getting old. If you are regular here on my Medium, you know it is difficult for me to get rid of old stuff. But that’s not the point.
I had to take out what was in the old wallet to put it in the new one: bank notes, coins, (useless) papers, IDs, bank cards, membership cards, and an amazing number of business cards. Almost fifty. I started looking at them, trying to remember who gave them to me, when, where, why, what we talked about and what was “special” about that person for me to have their card.
Some where from my friends so it was quite easy for theirs, but a good number were from strangers I could not even remember. As I was going through these cards, I stumbled on mine. My own card. Something I could not wait to have two years ago. And totally forgot about today.
I remember, I was invited to a top tier media event in Paris, with almost 300 media players from around the world invited. The guy who was supposed to do my media’s logo was taking his time and I needed it to make my business cards. He sent it to me like a few hours before my flight. I was so desperate I asked on Facebook if people knew someone who printed business cards. I collected them on my way to the airport… and was distributing them as if it was something people definitely had to have.
Every time I remember that, I can’t help but be shameful.
These cards I was looking at, trying to remember where I got them, made me realize how useless business cards are. I will never contact these people. Not to check on them, not for a collaboration, not for a job. Never. I don’t know them. I can’t work with them or recommend them for anything. I don’t know if they are good at what they do. I don’t know anything about them and I will never take my time to open my Google and look for them for more details.
And it is the same exact situation with people having my card somewhere at the bottom of an old and forgotten wallet. It cost me money and I almost missed my flight for them to have it, but it is totally useless to them. They will never contact me. All they know about me is my name, my phone number, my email, the name of my media. They don’t know what the media is about, if it is of interest to them, my skills and competences and how I can be helpful to them. So they don’t care.
No one ever called me saying “We met at this event and you gave me your card, so I am calling you for…” It never happened. It is more “I saw what you do and I am really interested in…” or “You have been strongly recommended by… for… so I am contacting you to…”, or “This or That wants to reach you because they saw what you do and want you to…”
The only business card worth having is skills, achievements and reputation. The rest is worthless. A piece of paper with great design, paid a fortune, that people will forget in a wallet and will throw away the day they will decide to have another wallet.
Truth is I don’t have respect for people giving me their card as first move. Just as I don’t have any respect for my old self who used to do it. It seems like the person is desperate for attention and want people to absolutely remember them. “It’s me, I am important, and for you to never forget, here is my card.”
On the other han,d I have great respect for people who made a business card and a CV of their name. Do you really think Oprah Winfrey or Larry King have a business card? No never. Useless. Almost insulting to them. Their achievements are strongly attached to their name, what makes it the only thing people need to know about them. I have quite a lot of this kind of people in my entourage and I always look at them with glittery eyes.
The most important thing is the impact we have on people, not the beauty and style of our cards. Have you ever been in an event, someone mechanically asks for your card from the get go and looks at you with pity because you don’t have one, then the persons hears you speak in a discussion and is so impressed with your brain to the point that they come back and ask for your number? Impact. That person will call you. Because the number has been taken for a specific reason, a specific purpose.
It is so sad people think titles and cards are what makes them who they are. It reminds me of that guy who came in my Facebook messenger for absolutely no reason, saying he saw we had many “important” friends in common. He introduced himself as CEO of I don’t know what. Then asked me what I was CEO of. I told him I do not even have a job in the first place. Then he asked what I do, I told him I run a website. His answer was so full of pity and condescendance: “As long as you are happy with what you do…” Then he stopped talking to me. I was not worthy enough, I guess. He came back in my inbox a week later, saying “But you never told me that website you said you are running is Elle Citoyenne! I know about it, and I think it is great and this and that”. I am so sure the reaction would have been different if I started selling myself as he did with me. Truth is I do not even remember the name of what he is CEO of.
My media has a new logo, what makes the old business cards totally useless. I am so happy about that. At least I will never even be tempted to give them to anyone. I don’t want to reduce my achievements to a useless card. If my sole name is not enough for me to be worthy of remembering, it means I have to work twice or even thrice as hard for Befoune to be the only thing I need for people who need me to know where to reach me.
Hello, my name is Befoune and I don’t have a business card. Clap if you enjoyed reading this text. And clap even if it is not the case. I need you to cheer me. For real.