One odd thing is that lots of people don't quite realize the power ofa paper-based "filing" system (ie, the 3x5 cards). Even when I rana _computer store_, which you'd think would be the first business toautomate its processes, we realized that the expense and inflexibilityof a computer-based system wasn't worth the effort. We ended up witha scheme with each customer having a file, with all the customerinvoices and RMA's, and a bolt of paper in front of the file witha contact history. (There's software nowadays that does this sort of thing, but that wasn't true until quite recently, and only inexpensive "customer relationship management" software...) Since wedealt with corporate clients almost exclusively, the number of customers wasn't too large, so if Bob from Genutech called needing to order three notebooks for Sales and a few memory sticks, we'd know that he had a problem with a hard-drive last month that we fixed, and we'd ask himabout it. We'd also know that his daughter Jen was going to the statesoccer playoffs - so in this call, we'd ask how her team did. Alsoif we didn't hear from Bob for a few weeks, we'd call him to see if he needed anything...Ultimately, I ended up selling the business to my partner (amicably) tostart a software business (!) and the store is still in business inthe LA area. THis experience has always helped me in designing software, and to not overestimate the "need" for computerization ofeverything...--Foobarista
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