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Dear Analyst #81: How to hack award flights on Avianca Airlines with Google Sheets

I love a good deal, especially when it comes to getting a good flight. Ever since I got into churning a few years ago (signing up for credit cards to get rewards), I started booking flights primarily with reward points from these credit cards. I spend more time searching for flights with good point redemptions […]

Dear Analyst #80: Applying the rules of Squid Game to real-life games like negotiating a job offer

I finished watching Squid Game a few weeks ago and still have all these swirling thoughts about the series. Through a few basic survival games, the show brings to light wealth inequality, capitalism, and other aspects of the human condition. Trying to find the loose threads between the show’s deeper meaning and data literacy is […]

Dear Analyst #79: How to finally AutoFit column widths in Excel for the Mac (and PC)

When you’re creating some dashboard or report, one of the most common formatting operations you’ll find yourself doing is expanding the column width to fit the text or numbers in a cell. You might also be expanding the row height to fit the size of the text, but I think it’s less common than expanding […]

Dear Analyst #78: 3 mental models from the show Billions

Following up from episode #77 about mental models, I wanted to take things one step further and tie mental models to one of my favorite shows. If you came here hoping for the latest Excel trick or keyboard shortcut, apologies in advance. If there’s one theme you should take away from these posts, it’s being […]

Dear Analyst #77: The top 3 mental models I never think about and live by (I think)

The promise of mental models is that it helps you bridge the gap between what’s in your mind and what happens in real life. They are interesting thought exercises in how you think. But that’s where it ends for me. How often do you approach a big decision in life and decide to pull from […]

Dear Analyst #76: Productivity hack for creating a Google Calendar event by sending yourself an email

Taking a slight detour off of the data analysis/spreadsheet path and getting into the world of productivity hacks with this episode. A productivity hack can mean different things, and in this case it’s a hack to improve your workflow at, you guessed it, work. This hack gives you the ability to create a Google Calendar […]

Dear Analyst #75: How to extract first, last, and multiple middle names into 3 separate columns

In episode 52, I talked about how to extract text from a cell. You might use this formula to extract a certain value from a cell when your database or CSV export contains a bunch of miscellaneous prefix data. This formula relies on finding a certain character in the cell and then using the MID […]

Dear Analyst #74: Quick hack to count the number of words in a cell with LEN and SUBSTITUTE

While this little Excel/Google Sheets trick is a pretty straightforward hack, it led me to think about how we use our tools, how we stretch the capabilities of our tools, and think outside the box to come to arrive at a solution. Seems like a lot for a formula trick on counting the number of […]

Dear Analyst #73: From a career in the U.S. Navy to data analytics YouTuber with Luke Barousse

The path to a career in data analytics can be full of twists and turns. Along the way, you pick up tools like Excel, Python, Tableau, and R. What about learning how to use YouTube and growing an audience of 50,000+ from publishing videos about data analytics? I’m always fascinated by people who are able […]

Dear Analyst #72: A simple trick to be faster in Excel on the Mac (like you are on the PC)

The impetus for this episode is a new Google Sheet (and Excel) tip I just shared on Instagram and TikTok (I never thought I’d join these platforms to start posting tips but alas, this is how people learn these days). After I learned how to be productive the PC version of Excel, I opened my […]