I Had A Dream

Frightening to think but I ACTUALLY had a dream last night wherein I was preparing for and running a class in Intro Excel – and although everyone showed up they quickly trickled out of the room because it was so BORING !!!   They just didn’t care what I was talking about ! 

I woke in a cold sweat thinking “My God – nobody gives a shit anymore !!” – as if I didn’t already know. (It never occurred to me that maybe I am just BORING though).

I remember the heady days of 1-2-3 and the first few years of Excel’s eventual takeover when there were full classes of people who were really interested in seeing the “Cool” stuff in Excel.  Now no one cares – and it’s so bad that it haunts my dreams 😦 …

I think we need to find a way to get people excited about this stuff all over again, not just because it’s in OUR interest buts because it’s in THEIR interests as well (and also that company called Microsoft but they don’t seem to realize it – yet). 

Contrary to a post of a few days back I strongly believe that while the number of people with Excel on their desktops has grown exponentially over the years the number of actual Power Excel users has dropped arithmetically.  No gain at all from the growth in opportunity.  What’s wrong with this picture?


About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
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2 Responses to I Had A Dream

  1. Harlan Grove says:

    When fewer than 1 in 10 people owned cars, it made overwhelming sense for the car owners to know as much as they could about motors or hire someone who did. When cars with relatively simple systems became ubiquitous, the rise of sole proprietor mechanics made sense. As cars became more complicated, the cost of the necessary diagnostic machines and specialized tools ran the lesser single proprietor mechanics out of business and saw the rise of corporations in the car repair business.

    What’s happening with Excel is a reprise of what happened with cars and car repair. If most people don’t believe they have the time or the need to learn newer, more complex features, they’re making a RATIONAL decision to use something other than Excel.

    There’s also demographics: the generation or two who were in low- and mid-level white collar jobs between 1982 and 1992 may now be retiring or moving on to management. The learning curve was much less steep for those of us who first learned spreadsheets with version 1 or 2 of whatever. Much more difficult to learn Excel 2002 from scratch let alone newer versions.

    Finally, Excel is as widely installed because it was bundled into Office. The impression I get from following general Office newsgroups is that either Excel users are much more intelligent than Word, PPT, Outlook users about figuring out that general Office newsgroups are worthless for app-specific advice or Office users who use Excel more often than the other Office apps make up between 10 and 20% of Office users. IOW, the ubiquity of Office installs doesn’t equal the ubiquity of Excel use.

  2. BIGGUS DICKUS says:

    Great analysis Harlan.

    1. I’m not toally sure that the auto analogy is totally apt but it’s clever to be sure.

    2. I think people just aren’t doing the kinds of things they COULD do if they spent to time to learn and use Excel – they aren’t using something else IMHO and that’s a shame.

    3. I have long thought that to go from a standing start at 20ish with today’s technology generally is a tough trip. We had the luxury of growing with the growth of the technology from basic Visicalc to today’s advanced analytical BI tools and the necessary plumbing (databases, networking and business processes) that we old guys have learned gradually over the years. This is especially a problem when corporations would rather hire a 20-30 year old because they’re cheaper and will work longer hours than us old coots – but can they deliver ? I haven’t seen many frankly.

    4. Yes the ubiquity of Office doesn’t match the use of Excel and as I said I believe that many times more people could get value out of Excel than currently do. The question is “Can this be changed?” Maybe not – too bad if that’s so.


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