I met some European executives for breakfast late last year and as we sat down they handed out business cards.
I couldn’t remember the last time someone brought cards to a meeting.
In the past ten years, most people have largely switched to iPhones, LinkedIn or other digital ways to connect.
Over the holiday break I found a box of about 1,200 business cards I collected from interviews and client meetings over two decades.
For fun I sorted the cards into three groups.
–900 cards were from people I could not for the life of me recall meeting. Some of the institutions rang a bell, but I couldn’t visualize the people at all.
–200 cards were people who I remember to some degree. I recognized their names or firms and have some recollection of when or where or why we met.
–100 cards were people who made a deeper impression. I either stayed in contact with or would like to meet them again.
That last group brought back a flood of memories: There was lunch at the Washington Post and a visit to the Financial Times. There were equity traders, portfolio managers, journalists, quants and geeks. Some had gone on to do big things. A few had died.
It’s a good life reminder that you need 1,200 meetings to get 100 that matter.
And you don’t always know which will matter in advance.
I put a rubber band around the last set and put it on my desk.
One resolution for 2022 was to reach out to as many of them as possible.