How I came to love and hate the classic buisness card or the story behind our Qriouz idea.
This is a blog post by Peter Bruner we posted on our website blog recently.
My story and the story of our app begins in a far far away country of Slovenia. Nobody knows where it lies, or at least most of the people don’t, although it is in the heart of Europe. We are in direct proximity of the Mediterranean sea and are known for amazing nature, wine and food. Our country is small, diverse and known for its innovative entrepreneurial spirit which gave rise to a wide variety of new businesses.
My name is Peter Bruner and I’m the co-founder of 3 such start ups. OOSM, Wineist and Qriouz. I started travelling a lot when OOSM, our first start up, took off. We built a very nifty digital signage app. Digital signage is a technical term for a content management system that can remotely control content on digital screens. It is mostly used in the advertising industry.
In April 2015 we qualified for a business accelerator in Amsterdam. I had to move there with my team for 9 months where we were working on our solution at an accelerated pace, presenting our idea as many times as possible. We were taking part in many major tech events and conferences, travelling around Europe and meeting loads of interesting people.
I always came home with a bunch of business cards. I ended up receiving so many, I almost gave up on going over them each time… Adding all the relevant people on Linkedin or sending follow up emails was easy but cataloguing all the business cards we received and retyping all the contact data they contained was a pain in the ass. It took me too much time, hours upon hours of tedious work. But you have to do it and when you are a small start-up you have to do it yourself :) The connections and the network that you build from business cards is very important and all in all it is worth it. But still, it should be easier to get connected and utilize that data, especially nowadays in a 4.0 society.
International networking was even more interesting and fun because I encountered many people, companies and products with unique and creative names. But that also meant trouble with letters not native to my language, even more business cards and even more work. The elegant solution would be to connect on the spot via Linkedin or something similar.
Very interesting thing about large tech events is that even though the focus of the entire thing is on new technology, they usually have problems with simple things like a working internet connection. So having an offline way to connect like a paper business card in this environment is a must.
On the other hand, paper business cards have a lot of issues:
* at events of this magnitude it’s a pain to remember everybody
* it’s hard to organise them after the event
* they’re not very good for the environment
Protecting the environment is not just a trendy thing to do, it is an absolute necessity. Many companies already decided not to use paper any more. We live in 4.0 high tech world where almost everything is possible.
So I started thinking what else can I use to connect with a person who doesn’t use a business card and when there is no internet?
I decided to try and find a mobile app that would help me. I tried downloading a bunch of different apps all promising that they would do away with paper business cards. I ended up deleting each and every one because they required too much work. They are usually complex to use, required me to either write my whole life story, design my business card with weird editors or join a new social network. I’m already using a bunch of social networks for my business and several other apps as well. I don’t have the time to be a part of a whole new social network just to exchange contact information.
Eventually I forced myself to invest time in such an app and finally I ended up with a ready to use business card app with all the vital information I wished to share. I meet a person and I suggest that we share our business details via the app. Problem! When I wanted to share my data the app required me to ask the other person for details, like phone number, email, whatever… The old paper business card story repeated itself! Misspelling, awkwardness, internet problems…. it is better just to give away a paper business card. It’s faster and you can do it offline.
So all that frustration, not unique to me, but one that lots of people in business face, really got me thinking. We live in 4.0 society and the solution is still paper based. So I started researching the subject and a month later the idea came to me. It’s not about paper or digital business cards, at all! It’s about connecting. Person to person. Regardless of what tool that person is using at the moment.
What do you do when you meet someone that you wish to connect with. You exchange business cards with the sole purpose of later adding them on LinkedIn (for business) or Facebook (friendship). Or send them an email or SMS or just call them.
So…my point is: Why not just skip the business cards altogether and simply connect with the stuff that we already use on a daily basis like phone, email, social networks…
So what do we need?
*A technology which can be applied to all the devices (all platforms) and can work online and offline.
*It should be an app. Because we always have our phones with us.
*It should be fast and easy to use. You need to get connected with a single click of a button.
So how do we achieve all of this?
All the different social tools we use everyday in our fast paced, modern, online society are already out there and have an API. They have developer access that allows us to use existing technologies in unique and exciting ways.
But what do we use to connect?
A simple technology which every phone already uses. Without any extra work or knowledge. It is called the QR code :) I know what you are thinking right now, but bare with me… It is a free and open source technology and you scan a code and get the info you want in less than 1 second. It is simple and fast and with technological improvements QR codes are getting sexier with each day. :) I know that Qr codes were used in a wrong way in the past, so they weren’t efficient and many people got fed up with them. But if you know how they work well they can do magic ;)
So we got down to business and developed an app that does all of the above, named Qriouz. The name contains the QR part and at the same time it is an app for curious people :) It’s a perfect networking app which gets you connected instantly, person to person, without typing any extra names, phone numbers etc. It also requires no internet connection. All the connections you make are saved in the local history of the app. And when you finally get online you just hit refresh and all the links will be updated.
No more hassle. It is as fast as giving away an endless supply of paper business cards. We believe Qriouz is not just a perfect substitute for paper and digital business cards. Qriouz is so much more. This simple app enables you to share links to profiles, personal accounts, docs… with a click of a button, instantly. Here is a lovely video of how the the app actually works:
Simple. Fast. No work, no typing, no misspelling, no internet… no cost. And most important, no time loss.
I personally use our app on a daily basis to connect to others, to share or get stuff from others. Easily and fast. We went a step further and created magnetic badges with personal QR code that you can wear on a shirt or a suit The Qriouz code on the page always stays the same but you can change the links indefinitely. We personalise them for individuals and companies. You can add a photo to it, company logo or any other graphic.
But enough about our app try it out yourself and tell us what you think. :)
To finish up this blog post…. I just realised something crazy…
We made QR codes cool again!!! :)
by Peter Bruner