Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

An elite handful of analysts, actuaries, and accountants have mastered Excel

The Verge – “…arguably the most important software in the business world. So what do they do in Vegas? They open a spreadsheet…Competitive Excel has been around for years, but only in a hobbyist way. Most of the people in this room full of actuaries, analysts, accountants, and investors play Excel the way I play Scrabble or do the crossword — exercising your brain using tools you understand. But last year’s competition became a viral hit on ESPN and YouTube, and this year, the organizers are trying to capitalize. After all, someone points out to me, poker is basically just math, and it’s all over TV. Why not spreadsheets? Excel is a tool. It’s a game. Now it hopes to become a sport. I’ve come to realize in my two days in this ballroom that understanding a spreadsheet is like a superpower. The folks in this room make their living on their ability to take some complex thing — a company’s sales, a person’s lifestyle, a region’s political leanings, a race car — and pull it apart into its many component pieces. If you can reduce the world down to a bunch of rows and columns, you can control it. Manipulate it. Build it and rebuild it in a thousand new ways, with a couple of hotkeys and an undo button at the ready. A good spreadsheet shows you the universe and gives you the ability to create new ones. And the people in this room, in their dad jeans and short-sleeved button-downs, are the gods on Olympus, bending everything to their will..”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.