13: Ken Puls, Excel MVP

In this episode, we interview the esteemed Ken Puls. Ken hails from Canada (the land of maple syrup and back bacon), and holds a CPA and CMA. By day, he moonlights as  an Controller/IT Director for a resort in Vancouver, British Columbia. But by night, he dawns his Excel cape, and goes out to rescue fearful citizens from spreadsheet catastrophe.

“Puls” Check

Ken is one of less than a dozen Excel MVPs in Canada, a well deserved recognition for his continued hard work. Ken runs the ExcelGuru.ca website, which hosts his blog and an expansive Excel forum. Ken’s work is all over the internet. As Rick points out, it’s hard for him to listen to online Excel learning without hearing Ken’s voice. Ken also mentions that even NASA has asked for his help (American-Canadian relationships have never been better!). He’s also a local celebrity as you’ll hear from the interview.

Preparing for Training

Ken spoke at length about how he prepares for training sessions. He says he often needs to write every step he’s going to take for the training. But he also finds he’ll stray from his outline. Jordan mentioned he always begins with a solid outline for the first few, but then never uses it after again after his routine has been memorized. Oz mentioned that he needs to keep things organized but loves to do the open ended sessions. The entire panel agreed keeping things open leaves rooms to answer student questions that stray from the outline.

Hoping for the Best, but Preparing for the Worst

Our topic this week concerned preparing for the worst. We began by talking about how we prepare for consultants and training sessions. But we also spoke about what happens when we prepare for one scenario but another results.  For instance, Ken mentions that somebody built an Excel model for his company that uses linked to other cells in other files (for some reason, that always screws Excel up!). Somehow, someone managed to create a circular reference between all these files! What have your experiences been?

Where to find Ken

How do you prepare?

What are your ideas on being prepared? Have you ever made every attempt to prepare for the worst only to encounter something totally different? Can one over prepare? We’d love to hear from you. Add a comment below about your experience! And don’t forget to get more stuff like this to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter. 


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