Article: Can Switchit solve the business card problem?

The networking process is not exactly pain-point free. From the awkwardness of flying blind at an event to the unnecessary clutter that comes along with too many business cards, there seems to be a general agreement that networking sucks and a wide variety of ideas on what, precisely, would ease the experience.

Switchit, an app from Waldorf, Md.-based Fuzzyatom Labs, wants to solve the business card thing. And also make it easier to grow and maintain your network in general.

“At the heart of everything we do at Switchit is that we believe the best interactions between people are the ones that happen again,” CEO Daafram Campbell told in an interview.

Log in to Switchit (available for iOS) and create any number of “profiles” for yourself — a professional one and a personal one, for instance — then, when you meet someone you’d like to share your information with, enter their phone number to send them your information. Importantly, the other person need not be a Switchit user. If they are, then all the info in their profile will be stored automatically in your app, but if not, Switchit will still store the person’s phone number and provide you with space to comment on other aspects of the person — where you met, what to contact them about, etc.

The app, which launched on Nov. 18, is currently free. But Campbell and his business partner Tammy Robinson plan to roll out new features in 2017 that will lend themselves to a premium, subscription version. Campbell doesn’t necessarily see the app as a consumer-facing product, he said — rather, he hopes to be able to sell subscriptions to companies, especially companies looking to cut back on business card printing costs.

But Campbell also said he doesn’t necessarily see Switchit as a replacement for business cards. “In some scenarios, business cards are very ideal,” he said. But when it comes to keeping track of contacts and staying in touch, he thinks an app like Switchit could have some strategic advantages. Many of these are evident in the myriad of future feature ideas Campbell has — Facebook integration, international calling, team collaboration and more.

So will it work?

A lot of apps have come before (and many more continue to emerge, presumably) to make business cards better using the technology we all carry. And yet none have managed to capture significant user attention. There are many years of professional habit to be overcome and also, potentially, no one has managed to get the form just right. There’s an opportunity and a whole host of challenges, ahead for Switchit.

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier is the lead reporter for DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today.

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