The last time I had business cards printed was back around 1995. I think I ordered a box of 250 cards, ended up giving out maybe 100 at most, and used the rest as scrap paper for disposable notes on my desk. Since then, I haven’t bothered to order updated business cards as I’ve changed phone numbers, addresses or jobs.

Recently, though, I’ve been asked by people if I have a business card often enough that saying “no” has become a pattern. Just last night, I went out to dinner with my family, and while outside smoking a cigarette, I started chatting with another patron who was doing the same. Turns out he also works a tech. job and asked me for my card. I ended up jotting down my contact information on a card for the restaurant and handed it to him.

In the past, this wouldn’t have mattered to me. But, now that I’m consulting full-time, these quick introductions could turn into valuable business leads that I could really use, now. The lack of preparedness and professionalism isn’t going to give that prospective client the sense of confidence I want them to have in my abilities and overall product.

So, last night I decided I was going to design and order myself a set of business cards. I wanted to create a card that was unusual, humorous, unique and memorable–qualities that reflect my nature and approach. The front of the card borrows from the LOLcats meme, as well as the “let me show you them” meme. I have yet to hear of anyone else making semi-serious LOLbusiness cards, so let me be the first. (FIRST!)

The back of the card is simple, informative and efficient–qualities that represent the kind of work I perform. I list my name, a title and contact information with as little clutter as possible. I use the remaining space to list popular technologies (think: keyword stuffing) that I don’t mind taking on work doing. I list AOLserver and Tcl at the top because as the recipient quickly scans down the list, they should cause a hesitation and very likely a question like “what are AOLserver and Tcl” which give me the opportunity to explain them, rather than coming across as pushing them directly.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what the proofs of the card look like, showing front and back:

Dossy's LOLbusiness card, frontDossy's LOLbusiness card, back

In theory, the order I placed online today should be arriving sometime during the first week of December. When I get them, I might write a little something about where I ordered them.

So, what do you think of the cards? Too edgy? Too risky? Not serious enough? Fun, or funny? Would you give me your business if I handed you one of these cards?

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  1. Well, it’s not like I’m not used to you seeking the attention of wanting to be first at something. I think it’s a brilliant idea (of course, brilliance begets brilliance).

    That being said — I STILL think it would’ve been funnier with “haz” and “skillz”. But you’re the online expert — not me :-) I defer (as always) to your pop-culture/techie expertise…

    Finally a wish — I wish you all the best of luck with your new business cards, I hope they bring you lots of stimulating work (well-paying would be nice too, and that’s not just ‘cos I’m married to you).


    Now, seriously, I wanna one of those cards lol!

    I will send my non-lolcat biznes card to you if you send me yours! (Postal mail rulez!)

    See you in IRC ;)

  3. partymola: Email me your snailmail address and I’ll drop a few cards in the mail to you when I get them. I wonder what first class postage to Spain costs these days.

  4. To be honest, I’m not sure. It’s funny, but I’m not sure how professional it comes over. I would recommend reversing the sense; the front is the serious part with the details on it and the back is the joke. Hopefully people will know the meme and this will cause people to remember you rather than turn them off.

    I don’t need work based cards (work provides those) so I used a couple of the “almost free” online places to create simple ones.

    http://sweh.spuddy.org/rubbish/B-Cards/ (images editted for Internet purposes).

    The “normal” one is an off-the-shelf design; the other one is “custom”. They’re a lot more boring than yours, with just a silly slogan :-)

  5. Dossy, welcome to Linkfilter. A great…nay…awesome way to waste billable consulting time.

  6. Stephen: I thought about that, the risk that the “joke” would be lost on folks who don’t know and/or get the meme. Then, I thought about it some more and asked myself, “Do I really want to work with people who lack a fun spirit and sense of humor? Do I want to do more soul-sucking work that I left behind when I went independent, or get paid to do what I really love?”

    It might be risky, but that’s the path to great rewards, right?

  7. shigpit: thanks for posting the link to Linkfilter! It’s fun to discover another little nook of subculture on the Internets.

  8. Dossy, if I send you a SASE will you send me a few cards once you’ve got them?

  9. Michael: No need for SASE, just email me your snailmail address and I’ll send a few.

    I didn’t think people I already knew would want these cards. This is really cool! Now I can’t wait to get the cards!

  10. I’m not crazy about this, to be honest.

    Please bear in mind there are many, many people who despite being technically savvy do not have any idea what a LOLcat is — or may simply not care. They may just look at this with blank eyes and wonder what the heck that misspelled text on the front (back?) is supposed to mean.

    It’s hard to remember that not everyone is in on the joke, but believe me, there are lots of folks who are not in on the joke, and do not want to be. I suspect you’ll be better served in the long run by erring on the side of professionalism; you can always joke with a prospective client later on down the line.

  11. The Gline:

    I do realize it’s risky and the “in joke” is certainly exclusive, but that’s another thing I’ve learned: I cannot take just any work for the sake of having work. The card is going to serve as a kind of “clue filter” as well–I already know I don’t want to engage clients who aren’t going to at least look at the card and chuckle–even if they aren’t fully indoctrinated into the Internet meme culture.

    Frankly, I’m done working with “Product Managers” who are trying to create “revolutionary new Web 2.0 applications” who haven’t gotten the faintest clue as to what is “hot” on the web. I want to deal with people who, if they don’t eat-live-and-breathe web culture, at least have their finger on the pulse, or at least know where to find it.

    Sure, this excludes some potential work that I might want to take on, but I’d rather do less work and kick ass doing it because I love it than to be overworked and unfulfilled.

  12. Cute, but a little much for anything other than the lolcat loving nerdtards.

    You amused me though. Perhaps that’s good enough :D

  13. Ian: I guess the lolcat loving nerdtards are the kind of people I want to work with these days. I’m tired of taking this web stuff so seriously. I mean, if a product like Facebook can be valued at $15B, what’s this world come to, anyway?

  14. First let me say that I hate you…I was very happy disliking all the LOL***** then you bring it up with the wife and I have to actually look at some of them. This last week I had to explain invisible can to like 20 people cause I think it is one of the funniest things on the net…
    I think I will still stand by that I hate LOLthings but secretly I will laugh when no one is looking…
    On your cards I think they are funny, expect to explain this to 90+% of all the people that would possibly employ you LOL

    P.S. we need to look at what is wrong with the openID stuff I can’t log in.

  15. RobbieTheGeek: My OpenID consumer code had a bug in it which is triggered by MyOpenID.com’s OpenID provider implementation. It’s fixed now. Thanks!

  16. As a practical matter, having a full-color back and minimal space on the front doesn’t leave alot of room for jotting any additional notes, which I find biz cards to often be useful for. Stylistically it looks like more of a calling card than a business card, unless your name *is* your DBA.

  17. too risky would have been


  18. Jeff R: I guess it is a calling card–it’s more of a personal “information card” than a “pimp my business brand” card. In a way, I am my own brand.

    Also, FWIW, I actually DID consider “IM IN UR BIZNES, PROVIDIN UR SOLUTIONZ” but wanted the caption to be more of an enticement to do business (“I CAN HAS UR BIZNES?”). Maybe my next round of cards will bear the “IM IN UR BIZNES” caption. :-)

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