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This week we’re proud to interview one of own, Mr. Oz D Du Soliel–Excel philosopher, data gaucho, stand up comic, so much more. Oz might be the first ever spreadsheet philosopher. In this episode, he regales us with his background and how he came to be a believer the spreadsheet.
Oz came from humble Midwest beginnings in a town near Chicago, Illinois. The way he tells it, he “wrestled” all through high school and college. He joined the Navy in ’85 (the year, by the way, Jordan was born). In one instance, he recalls he had to walk out of a Descartes (pronounced, “Deh-Cart”) class. He liked philosophy and decision theory, but longed for symbols and practical applications. At one point, Oz pursued a masters in policy at Harvard. But again, he found that wasn’t his calling. Eventually he landed a job in which he could fully tap into his analytical mind. He learned early one he could apply his analytical acumen to Excel solutions. And he’s been doing it ever since.
Oz’s philosophy is to think about the data first. The easy part is teaching someone to do VLOOKUP. The hard part is thinking about the problem and knowing how to tackle it to find a good solution. Thinking about how we often put “Descartes before the horse” (get it? the cart before the horse), Oz began blogging on DataScopic. He focuses on information people need to know. He also spends a good deal of time thinking about Excel and data quality issues.
Oz is also a coauthor on the second edition of Guerrilla Data Analysis. The original book was written more than a decade ago. Oz discusses how he had to rebuild many parts of the book from the ground up! This is a great discussion for those of you looking to write your own book. As Oz explains, the book is aimed at someone “who’s ass is in the fire.” For instance, your boss has asked you do something specific you’ve never done before. This book helps you do it in short and practical getcha-in-and-getcha-out techniques. We’ll post more details about the book when it’s available for preorder.
Everyone has one! What are the things you need to do know to work with your spreadsheets quickly and more effectively? We’d love to hear form you. As always, share your ideas, insights, tips, and tricks with us! Oh, and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter.
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