LeWeb is well known for being the biggest networking oriented tech conference in the world. I’ve been attending the event since 2007, and for the first time I did not bring any business cards.
Every year, I used to meet 100 to 150 people in 3 days and exchange that much business cards. This year, I won’t.
I still have my personal business cards. They’re lying on my desk next to the laptop I’m writing this article on. A thin layer of dust lightens the black back of the first one, showing I didn’t use them for a while.
I still have my personal business cards, but I have nothing to buy, and even more important, nothing to sell anymore.
Over the years, most of the feedback I had from people I gave my business cards to was impersonal, automated, commercial emails. SPAM, you name it. The interactions we started, they turned into nothing but an attempt to sell me something I didn’t need. It’s my fault, it was probably me. Or business as usual.
This year, I’ve decided to change the game and play with my own rules.
If we meet and I can help you in any useful way, I’ll be more than happy to do it. Subscribing to your list is not a useful way to help you, asking me for a blog post for the sake of having some press is not either.
Last year, I was wandering in LeWeb startup lounge, and the CEO of a company engaged in the competition came to me attracted by my “official blogger” badge. He introduced himself and started to pitch me as if his life depended upon it. His pitch wasn’t really good, his product was not either, but I listened until the end. Then, when the silent came back, I asked:
Cool. How can I help you?
He didn’t answer. He had no idea.
This story, I’ve been thinking about it for one year. I wish he had an answer instead of simply trying to sell me his pitch, and I wish I was able to help him in some way if he needed it.