How My View of Excel Spreadsheets Changed

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If you had told me 10 years ago Excel spreadsheets would change my life, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy. Over the last 5 years, I’ve had the opportunity to teach Excel to hundreds of MBA students, consulted for Fortune 500 companies, and host one of the top Excel courses on Skillshare. I never thought my Excel knowledge would take me anywhere.  But I’m always open to new opportunities that challenge my way of thinking when it comes to analyzing data and modeling scenarios.

Life After Excel

It’s a bit extreme since I still use Excel and Google Sheets quite frequently. I was an early user of Coda, and recently joined their growth team. The product was founded with this observation (pulled from their homepage):

Documents haven’t changed in 40 years. The first spreadsheet was built for accountants in the 70s. Since then, we’ve updated the interface and piled on features. But it’s still just cells in a spreadsheet.

As I dug into the product and started building docs for work and clients, this observation became clearer and clearer to me. Why does every problem get analyzed in Excel? Why does the grid act as the de facto primitive for solving business problems? These questions continued to bug me since it led me to admit the one phrase I despise the most when I hear others say it:

It’s just the way it’s been done.

Inherent in this phrase is one’s unwillingness to change, progress, and stay up to date with technological advances. I believe this phrase leads you into irrelevancy.

The Full Story

I recently published a blog post on Coda’s company blog with the full story behind my journey with Excel spreadsheets, and how Coda challenges my beliefs about spreadsheets and data analysis.

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