Rick GranthamHowdy Y’all, I’m Rick 

Hi there, I’m Rick Grantham!  It’s always a little weird to talk about yourself, but here goes.

I am a divorced father of three boys and I live in Fleming Island, Florida.  By day, I am an Executive at a Reporting and Analytics consulting firm.  And by night (and all my spare time) I run Excel TV.

Here is a little about my professional background

  • Predictive Modelling – I worked for a large credit card company for 7 years.  Held many roles, from running a team of 100 associates in a call center, to finance, to high end predictive analytics.  For you true nerds out there, this was Regression Trees, specifically CHAID which is based on Chi-squared.  If you have a credit card, I may have written the algorithm that determines how you get treated when you go past due or over the credit limit.  And the treatment strategy, which means why one person gets treated differently than the next person.  Example… one person may get called immediately, another may get an email or letter, and yet another may not get called for 20 days.  I am years out of practice with this stuff, but it is part of my background and I am able to speak to it when needed. 
  • Finance – With two different companies I have spent roughly 7 years in finance.  Let’s be clear, I am not an Accountant,  Debits and Credits aren’t my thing.  Rather, I did financial modelling.  For example
    • For the credit card company, I forecasted an annual bankruptcy write-off of $600M+.  Monthly fluctuations, etc.  I did this forecast with less than a 1% error.  This was a combination timeseries (ARIMA) and Regression modelling.  For the regression modelling, I tied Bankruptcy write-offs to GDP and national revolving credit (as reported by the government).  This was a lagging indicator and was a novel way of tying it all together when I did it.
    • For the HR outsourcing company I worked for, I built pricing models and forward looking financial statements.  The pricing models were $100M+ deals.  I brought in all the potential expenses.  Considered the markup needed.  Considered salary arbitrage (resources around the globe… India, Canada, etc.).  Calculated NPV and IRR.  Built the forward looking financial statements, and presented to the executive team.
  • Six Sigma – While working for the HR outsourcing company, I accepted a role at corporate (Fortune 500 call center company), to lead the predictive modelling and process improvement team.  This team didn’t exist.  I hired a team of Six Sigma blackbelts in the US and a small team of Data Miners in India.  During this time, I received my Blackbelt so that I could adequately lead the Six Sigma team.  So again, all the regression modelling, ANOVA, Design of Experiments, etc..  The father of Design of Experiments is Taguchi.  It impacted me to such a large degree that I named my parent company partly after him.  The company’s name is Tagrilla, LLC,  1/2 Taguchi and 1/2 500 pound gorilla,  Tagrilla.  Precise and Bold.  Tagrilla owns 100% of Excel TV Media Group, LLC.
  • Business Intelligence – You can’t be in a Finance role without bleeding in some way into reporting.  While working for the credit card company I learned Crystal Reports and other desktop reporting tools of the day like PowerBuilder.  This was the late 90’s.  As I moved into the HR Outsourcing company, I was asked to lead consolidate all the reporting teams into one team.  At the time, it was referred to as MIS.  As luck would have it, I got ahold of a Crystal Reports Server that wasn’t in use, and got ahold of some great IT people to consolidate data for me into one database, and hired a reporting team.  Somewhere along the way, I was told that what I was doing was called Business Intelligence.  As time progressed, I moved from my internal reporting team (operations stats) to leading the Business Intelligence team for our customers.  This meant hiring Data Warehouse, ETL, and reporting people.  I had teams on 4 continents, as my clients were international.  As the company acquired new business or did international workshops, I was the guy that travelled the globe to demo the technology and represent the team.  I then was hired by a consulting firm as the first hire to start the Analytics practice.  I have been doing Business Intelligence as a leader on a consulting team for 11 years.
  • Operations – Early in my career, I moved back and forth from an operations role to a finance or analytics role.  I would do one for 2 years, then get bored and move to the other side of the fence for 2 years.  Rinse and repeat.  In the process I found that I had a unique capability.  Not special per se.  People who are athletic are special, or are so great in an ability are special.  I am none of that.  But I found that most people who can number crunch and sling data cannot lead people.  I was able to do both, so I had a niche to exploit.  And I started leading Analytics teams, speaking at conferences, etc..  Regarding operations, I started at the credit card company as a collector at 24 years old.  My previous job was washing dishes.  $8.10 an hour and happy as I could be.  In my mind I was 24 years old and I was rich.  After progressing through different operations and finance or analytics roles, I found myself as the head of the Recovery Dept in Jacksonville.  100 or so employees, including the desk that I once sat in as a collector.  I had to learn to not only manage people, but to also manage managers.  I learned very quickly how to create processes and hand them off, as I didn’t have the capacity to do it all myself.  I was 29 years old.
  • Entrepreneurship – I always respected entrepreneurs.  Never really knew why.  I wasn’t born into an entrepreneurial family.  I just felt it was my calling.  I started my first online business BooYahVillage.com as a sports memorabilia website.  Dropshipping, etc.. As you can imagine, countless hours away from my kids and then-wife, sitting in front of a computer.  Building databases and robots that would go to dropshipping websites nightly and update inventory, etc..  I learned Microsoft Access pretty well as a result.  But I wasn’t allowed to sell Jersey’s because I didn’t have a brick and mortar store.  This was a critical flaw.  Eventually the upkeep wasn’t worth the effort and I shut it down, but learned a lot.

    I started Excel TV because for some reason I couldn’t turn off being a business owner.  I thought about it a lot.  I sold some Excel Templates online and interviewed some Excel website owners as a way of building my presence in the industry.  Interviewed, Mynda, Jordan, Oz, etc.  You will see these interviews now as Season 0 at Excel TV.  Eventually, I incorporated Excel TV and Jordan was a partner in the company for a few years as we started creating courses and selling them.  I consider myself a solo-preneur right now with several writers and administrative people that I bring in to complete tasks.  This will not be my last business, but rather the business that funds future businesses.  As I see myself being a serial entrepreneur as I approach retirement.
  • Excel – My first exposure to Excel was in Finance, likely in 1997 or so. I accepted a job in Finance to forecast Credit Loses.  And my first job was to move the forecasting models from Lotus 1-2-3, release 4 to Microsoft Excel.  Recreate the Macros.  I’m like…  “What the hell are Macros?”  I have been slinging data in Excel ever since.  At different parts of my career I was in Excel 40+ hours a week for years and years.  I don’t consider myself an Excel Ninja.  I’m a Data Slinger and a Financial Modeller,  When I was looking to start my second business, my coach asked me to list 5 things (products, services, etc) that I felt comfortable contributing to a forum if I needed to.  Excel topped the list.  And years later, here we are. 

  • Conferences and Industry – I typically speak at 2 conferences a year and have been mentioned in several analytics and Excel books.  Including writing the back cover of Oz’s book Guerrilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel 2nd Edition.  And Excel TV has made an impact in the industry.  We streamed from the Microsoft MVP Summit, were the Media Partner for the Financial Modelling World Championship, as well as the PASS Business Analytics Conference.  In February 2021, we are the lead Media Partner for the Global Excel Summit.  There is a lot to be proud of, and still a lot of room to further serve this industry.

Whew.  That was a lot..  I was reading this to my girlfriend as I was typing it and she was like…  “You must really love yourself.  You have a lot to say about you.”  So my apologies if you got this far.

All of this is to say, there are a lot of dynamics… Excel, Finance, Data Slinging, Prediction, Operations, Regression, etc. to pull from as we grow this website, this business, and this industry.  Thank you for being part of this community.

Keep on Excellin
Rick

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