I was reading articles from one of my local libraries online resource of Linux Journals (they have every issue) and found an article on a comic book store (It can also be found here.) I read the entire article and have to say that it was a good look back in history.
In regards to quick and dirty scripting not much has changed in the 14 years since this article was written. Any one can learn how to program or write a script. The owner of this business looked at the process and then looked at ways he could automate it. His method worked out well, when after 3 years his small shop grossed 1.5 million in sales.
I think it is quite amazing that a small comic book store was able to gross this amount in the first quarter only 3 years after opening. I wonder if this would have been achieved if the store had to purchase or pay a third party to develop software. It is fortunate that the writer of the article was interested in Linux and pursued scripting. Since this was written in 1994, he was in the right place at the right time. I am sure that if he expanded his system enough he could have possibly done automated phone sales, mail order and online sales. All with simple shell scripts.
If you get a chance try reading some of the old articles from LinuxJournal.com. I think I’m going to continue reading these old articles from the library since they have no ads. I find them very interesting and who knows maybe they will inspire me to do something.