#304: Greeting cards

I met someone the other day who had a hard-to-pronounce surname. In fact it was so difficult to say that he didn’t pronounce it and simply handed out his business card.

So today’s invention is a business card for people who may have a hard-to-say name. Based on the same technology as those dreadful musical birthday cards, these might each contain a small chip with a soundfile on board (This could be passed wirelessly to the chip but in practice, you might have to live with a version of your name spoken in a machine-like voice constructed from a menu of syllables, chosen from the manufacturer’s website). The card could incorporate a contact switch, activated simply by pressing it.


Now that meetings are increasingly likely to involve a wide diversity of participants, it may well improve subsequent name recognition and avoid some embarrassment for people to supply each other with a way to hear names sounded out clearly, even after the meeting itself.

One can only hope that people don’t start handing out personal ringtones.

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