A Cheat Sheet to get more out of Microsoft Excel
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This episode’s special guest is an Excel expert, consultant, blogger and book author. Yes, our very own Oz du Soleil. He discusses the progress on a book he’s writing on Excel and his upcoming online show on Excel.
You guessed it right! His new book is named “Full Contact Data Management: Excel Methods for Exposing, Handling and Preventing Bad Data”. Business decisions mainly rely on simple analysis of data, yet we see disruptions and bad decisions are not as uncommon as they should be. This is almost entirely attributable to bad data! The central idea in this book is therefore on integrating Excel with various business processes to control company data. It is about getting more out of Excel and looking at everything that working with data entails.
Oz wanted to show the ‘true picture’ of various processes around obtaining data and deriving output from it. But such an endeavor comes with a challenge of depicting the nasty, real world side of things in an aesthetically pleasing way. Hence, he turned to Indiegogo to hire a professional illustrator for the task.
The criteria Oz used is something worth discussing. With the pressure of writing a manuscript, he did not want to deal with additional frustration of project management. So, he needed someone who would take charge of the work and make life easy for him. For example, Oz shouldn’t have to worry about giving ideas for illustration with are not consistent with previous work done for the book. The freelancer should be keeping track of that. Sometimes you don’t need someone you will have to micromanage to get things done.
Oz described his professional work as something which has always revolved around small businesses and non-finance or non-enterprise people. Unsurprisingly, some of these hated Excel but could not get away from it. His vision for the show is to bring out ‘Excel in the wild’ to its audience, to show how people are deploying this great tool to run businesses, deliver services or do something unusual.
He gave example of a rapper who uses spreadsheets, and what he calls a bar chart, to write lyrics and ensure the rhyming scheme is as he wants. Another example Oz mentioned was around choosing a massager by comparing various products across five dimensions like power and cost, where the decision-maker can rank dimensions according to his or her preferences.
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