Find out about Excel

  • data-business
  • idea
  • winter

Excel mistakes cost millions of dollars

  • Some people fix them as a job
  • Bespoke software simply isn't an option for some of the African clients.

"As a result spreadsheets almost become the default – especially within governments."

"In the end, the problem isn't spreadsheets, but people."

Excel is a disconnected sandbox and that works

My best guess is Excel’s biggest weakness—that it’s disconnected from live data, and that every file is named monthly_results_final_v2_FINAL.xlsx—is actually its moat. What makes Excel (and Google Sheets) unique from BI is that it’s not just a tool for working with data; it is the data. You can create in it; you can update it without being afraid that you might break something else; you can share it, all in a single file. You can save it, and know, with total confidence, that when you open it tomorrow, next week, or next year, it’ll be the same as it was when you last left it. It’s not a tool for exploring and presenting data—which is what BI is for—but a sharable, self-contained sandbox for writing down numbers and adding them up. That makes replacing Excel a catch-22: If you build a tool that solves its biggest problems—being disconnected and static—you’re suddenly building a BI tool and not Excel.