Are business cards sexy? Richard Moross of Moo seems to think so, and created a new print company last year in London to transfer our digital bits into tangible mediums of exchange. Moo creates miniature business cards for online communities including photo sharing sites Flickr and Fotolog, social network Bebo, and virtual worlds Second Life, and Habbo. The compact business cards are custom expressions of digital creations, introducing each recipient to new stories pre-assembled in an online universe. My favorite Flickr photos, a Second Life avatar, or my carefully crafted social networking profile already express my identity beyond a simple logo and text. Moo has created a popular new form of offline introductions for independent digital content creators.
In this week’s podcast I sat down with Moo CEO Richard Moross, who just happens to be visiting San Francisco from his home base in London. I was particularly interested in chatting with Richard about community and the ways his company ties an old-world business of paper and ink with the latest digital creations.
Moo’s entire operations take place within about 100 square meters in London’s printing district. Their website is created and maintained next door to their packaging center, which is right across the street from the printer. One of the largest post offices in the area is just down the street.
Moo gave away over 1 million of its cards for free in the last 6 months. These mini-packs were distributed to members of each partner site, introducing new people to the product 10 or so cards at a time. Richard mentioned this has been invaluable marketing for the company, getting their product to over 120 countries around the world and new on-the-ground marketers.
The company plans to introduce 5-6 new products by the end of the year, based entirely on customer feedback. They watch the blogs, notice what people are crafting on sites such as Etsy, and try to patch a few of their own pain points. The plan seems to be working so far, as fans post new ideas and their own experiences to the Moo Flickr group, among other places.
If someone told me a year ago there would be Habo Hotel business cards I would have laughed. I’ve seen multiple attempts at creating photographer business cards and press passes, but never in a way that was as expressionist as the Moo Mini cards I see shuffled at local tech events as the card distributor matches up just the right photo or expression for the recipient. I think these guys are up to something cool with their print meets web mashup, and enjoyed finally talking the details of the business with Richard.
This week’s podcast, Moo Cards, is 27 minutes in length, a 13 MB download.
Listen to this Google Phone podcast directly on this page using Flash Player.