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No. of Recommendations: 3
One odd thing is that lots of people don't quite realize the power of
a paper-based "filing" system (ie, the 3x5 cards). Even when I ran
a _computer store_, which you'd think would be the first business to
automate its processes, we realized that the expense and inflexibility
of a computer-based system wasn't worth the effort. We ended up with
a scheme with each customer having a file, with all the customer
invoices and RMA's, and a bolt of paper in front of the file with
a contact history. (There's software nowadays that does this sort of
thing, but that wasn't true until quite recently, and only in
expensive "customer relationship management" software...) Since we
dealt 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 him
about it. We'd also know that his daughter Jen was going to the state
soccer playoffs - so in this call, we'd ask how her team did. Also
if 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) to
start a software business (!) and the store is still in business in
the LA area. THis experience has always helped me in designing
software, and to not overestimate the "need" for computerization of

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