I am starting a new ‘Tool of the Week’ discussion.  These tools may be part of a smartphone app system (like the iPhone application discussed here), or Services which you can use on the internet, hardware tools etc.

Anytime I go to a networking event, I will both pass out my business card, and I will ask for cards in return.

I am building a network of contacts here in Orange County.  As a completely new business person I know very few people and my Rolodex is going to grow like crazy.

This weekend I met people from Tustin, Irvine, Temecula, Las Vegas and as far away as Georgia.

I don’t have the time or desire to type in contact information nor do I need to.

Instead of using a Cardscan system, I am trying out a program called Cardscan Lite ($0.99) from the iPhone AppStore.  Click on the image above to go to their website.

So far, the program is adequate.

The steps are:

1) Open the program, click on the camera button to snap a picture of the business card (this can be a tad difficult if you shake some trying to get a clear picture).

2) Click “Submit Card” when you have a good picture

3) Enter any notes for the business card (I enter where I met the person)  and click “Done”.

4) Wait about 30 seconds (3Gs) for the phone to upload your picture to their servers.

5) Within about 24 hours (claims the developer), the information from the business card will be placed into your contact list on your phone.  My experience has been 3-6 hours and one time 2-3 days.  I am not usually on a quick schedule, so it hasn’t been a problem so far.  However; it is one of the reasons I am still looking around.

The fields which are uploaded for the Lite Version are:

– First Name
– Last Name
– Organization
– Work Email
– Work Phone
– Work Fax

Also, the image is associated with the contact info, in case you need other information you can view the image.  To view the image is a small pain if you do it from the iPhone Contacts Info page, you have to first edit the contact, then click the image and select “Edit Photo” to be able to zoom in to read the card.

You can go straight to the Cardscan Lite application in order to view the cards.  You can scan your list by name, or date updated.

One of the questions I imagine a person might have is ‘why not use a Cardscan system?’.  The answer is I am tired of piling up more hardware in my life.  I want to find the solutions which will allow me to decrease clutter, not increase my clutter.

If I refuse to buy the hardware, I will keep the pressure on to find my ‘final’ solution.  When that happens, I will let you know.

Best Regards,

Mike Anderle