Why I am a “late adopter” of virtually everything

June 20, 2014

Rant On.  100% ON.

I’m writing this post on a Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop that will be returned to Best Buy by the time you have read this.

Nothing but a nightmare.  Starts off with one of those improvements that we all love so much:


3200 Lines of Resolution, WOW!  So Why do I have it set at 1600???

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The Server I Always Wanted

June 2, 2014

This weekend, Chris (of ShakerGeek fame) completed the transfer of PowerPivotPro.com over to a new hosting provider.

Please be on the lookout for any glitches related to the transfer.  I don’t see anything out of place, but it’s a big site and we may have missed something.

This will be the fourth “home” in the site’s history (WordPress.com, Dreamhost, Bluehost, and now WiredTree, for those who are interested).

It provides us with several benefits that are exciting for a nerd like me:

  1. Faster Page Loads – We paid for the deluxe options whenever they were offered.  Solid State Drives for rapid retrieval of our 681 (and counting) posts.  Plus an upgrade called “LiteSpeed” which I didn’t even bother to understand, cuz, you know, it’s Light Speed.
  2. Restored Reliability – you may have noticed that the site has experienced some outages recently (averaging one a week for the past couple months).  That was, and is, unacceptable.  Bluehost, you have failed us for the last time.  You are in command now, Admiral Wired Tree.
  3. Platform for Overhaul – PowerPivotPro.com is about to get a makeover.  Widescreen format, cleaner visuals, mobile-friendly.  You know, modern.  (It’s crazy, in 2009 when we launched, the current theme WAS modern.  But five years go by pretty fast).


You Are in Command Now, Admiral WiredTree

Thank You Rebecca Hellyer!

May 19, 2014

Headshot Ninja

Apologies for the brief off-topic post, but when someone does something excellent, I like to recognize it:



Headshots of the PowerPivotPro Team (Cleveland Branch)

Changes Afoot!

We’re in the midst of making a lot of changes behind the scenes here at PowerPivotPro.  We’re changing website hosts again to avoid future outages, stepping up to a much faster server, redesigning the website…  and oh yeah, we’re making plans to expand the team (slowly – but surely).

Along those lines it was time for updated head shots that weren’t taken 6 years ago.  We had these taken on a recent trip to Chicago.  Rebecca Hellyer makes this all look SO easy – which takes a blend of “tech” chops and people skills.  If this were Power Pivot, she’d be nesting CROSSJOIN’s inside of FILTER’s while carrying on polite conversation.

So if you have photography needs in the Chicago area, definitely look her up.

Never fear, true Power Pivot content resumes tomorrow (Tuesday).

A Few Updates

April 17, 2014

Rob here, checking in quickly…

1) Check out today’s guest post below.  I needed to add these updates but I don’t want to push Seth off of the page and have you miss his perspective.  Click here to view his brief thoughts.

2) Yeah, the site was down for 13 hours yesterday.  Bluehost had a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers.  We hired a local consultant yesterday and are moving everything “in house.”  Buh bye, Bluehost.

3) I’ve added another session at the PASS BA Conference next month, which means I am now doing three.  The new one is an exciting new twist for me, because it’s one of our clients sharing their experiences with Power Pivot, with me merely in “color commentary” role:

Power Pivot Case Study - Live at the PASS BA Conference

Click Image to View the Abstract

It’s a CRAZY cool story about Power Pivot solving a problem at the highest levels for a billion-dollar company.  Enterprise impact from a tool that’s often mistakenly pigeonholed as limited to “team” level.

This is not proving to be the exception, either – we now already have two other clients doing VERY similar things, and like Kaman they are both in the “billion dollar plus” range in terms of annual revenue.  Not small, in other words.

Remember, if you choose to register for the conference, use code BASB5O for $150 off.

See this post for more details about the conference.

Three posts last night!

February 18, 2014

For those of you who don’t like to scroll vertically, here’s a Table of Contents of everything posted in the last 24 hours.  Click each handy hyperlink for auto-navigation purposes:

  1. I’m Speaking Next Week in the Twin Cities – the MSBI User Group.  Topic “Fact or Fiction:  The ‘Free Lunch’ Promise of Power Pivot.”
  2. Bundled Offering of PowerPivotPro University and Chandoo courses closes this Friday – and make sure you check out the cool “Super Mario Power Pivot” images sent to me by a student.  He described himself as “leveling up” with my training and I’m going to steal that phrase for perpetual use.
  3. Inaugural Meeting of the Nashville Modern Excel User Group is THIS THURSDAY (Feb 20) – Be there, Music City. :)

Announcing Pivotstream Ltd: Expanding to Europe, Led by David Churchward!

November 1, 2012


Pivotstream Jumps Over the Pond, Opening Office and Data Center in Europe

Happy to Finally Share the Secret!

Boy, I have been dying to share this, but had to wait until it was official:  David Churchward has joined Pivotstream and will be running our operations in Europe.

At a high level, this means a few things:

  1. We will be opening a data center in Europe – European customers who have desired a Cloud PowerPivot site (or one of our Insight as a Service solutions) have often needed the data to physically remain in the European Union (for legal and privacy reasons).  This will no longer be an obstacle.
  2. We will be doing more work in the finance, accounting, and CRM spaces.  David is a MACHINE when it comes to this stuff, as evidenced by his posts on this blog.  This expands our Insight as a Service capabilities in this space, but also gives us the ability to “seed” the broader PowerPivot world with templates – more on this later.
  3. I’ll be able to bug David a lot more often and not feel guilty about distracting him from his “real” job – part of his job now is to be pestered by me!  (Hmm, I DO suppose that works both ways…)


Pivotstream Ltd. – Tentative Logo is Nothing Fancy, All Business

Reinforcement of the Excel Revolution

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with me getting on a soapbox and proclaiming that the future of Excel, and Excel Pros, is exceedingly bright.  PowerPivot changes everything, including our careers.

The fact that I’ve spent the past three years making my living completely off of PowerPivot is testament to that.  It helps the credibility of my message, a lot, that I can say this:  I don’t just talk the story of this revolution, I live it.  I work it.  And it pays the bills.

But now, here’s another public confirmation of it:  It’s a major investment, opening a data center and offices in Europe.  It’s not a step we would take lightly.  You should take this as further confirmation that the world is changing in your favor.  And similarly, David would not have left his Director job at Azzurri to do this otherwise.

Speaking of which…

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Mini-Post #2: Follow Pivotstream on LinkedIn/Facebook, win a $100 Gift Certificate

October 11, 2012

Like Pivotstream on Facebook  Follow Pivotstream on LinkedIn

The Pivotstream marketing folks have asked me to post this here – we’re trying to gain brand recognition in the Excel Pro community and they figure the blog is a good place to start.  I’m flattered.


Winner Gets a $100 Gift Cert from GiftCertificates.com

Two (or Three) Simple Steps Before 5 PM US Eastern Time, Wed Oct 17th

  1. Visit Pivotstream on Facebook and click Like
  2. Visit Pivotstream on LinkedIn and click Follow Company
  3. If your name is the same on Facebook and LinkedIn, that’s all you have to do to be entered for the drawing
  4. If your name is NOT the same, please send an email to social@pivotstream.com and let us know that you’re done

Deadline:  5 PM US Eastern Time, Wed Oct 17th

Drawing:  Thursday Oct 18th.  I will announce the winner here.

Mini Post: Speaking in NYC on Monday

October 3, 2012


I’m really excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Microsoft offices in Manhattan Monday evening next week!  Talk starts at 6 PM and we have the room until 8:30 PM, so there will be plenty of time for questions and informal discussion after I’m done.

imageWhat’s even cooler for me is that this group, MSBIgDataNYC, is run by Andrew Brust, CEO of Blue Badge Insights and the author of the Big Data Blog on ZDNet

I’ve been following Andrew’s work ever since I started the blog in 2009 and have had the pleasure of participating in a few of his events at conferences, but never on his home turf.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever spoken at ANY event in New York City.  I generally don’t get nervous about speaking engagements anymore, but I confess to a few butterflies of anticipation for this one Smile

I believe there are seats still available but move fast just in case:

Click Here to Reserve a Seat

And remember, you do NOT have to be a BI pro or Big Data specialist to attend!  If you’re an Excel practitioner, show up and hold your head high.  You will like what I have to say.

PowerPivotPro: The Book (Coming Soon)

September 11, 2012

***UPDATE:  Window Extended!

I think I can leave the “get your name in the book” offer open until the weekend.  See this post.

Where’s Rob?

You may have noticed a certain absence over the past couple weeks.  David Churchward has been on quite a run of guest posts, and that is no accident.  He’s been keeping things afloat here for me, as a HUGE favor, while I finish the book.

It was time

Yes, the book.  One that captures the essential lessons that I’ve informally recorded and scattered on the blog over the years in random order.  One that sequences all of those lessons properly, explains them more fully than the blog, and forces me to not cut corners.  One that captures the way I teach when I train people onsite.  Ideally, one that helps the Excel Pro in particular make the transition from Excel Pro to All-Out Data Monster.

I’ve been thinking about this forever.  Hey, it’s always sounded like a great idea.  But it’s one thing to think about it and another to actually do it.  I actually started over New Year’s this past January, but then shelved it as things got hectic at work.  Well…  August rolled around, things were STILL hectic at work, and then I noticed THIS on Amazon…  “rut roh Shaggy.”

WAIT!  If you want to pre-order, do it tomorrow, and I’ll put your name in the book.  See below for details.

WAIT!  If you want to pre-order, do it Wednesday, and I’ll put your name in the book Smile
(See below for details)

At the beginning of August, the release date was listed as September 1st.  It was quite the wakeup call Smile.

Plus, this is being published by Bill Jelen’s Holy Macro Press.  It’s a Mr. Excel title!  Bill has been fantastically helpful to me in this whole process, dating back to last calendar year.  Thou shalt not let down Mr. Excel!  So again, yeah, it was time.

I’ve been heads-down ever since, and the process is now happily in its final phases.  The book will be released Nov 10.

150 Pages?  Bah.

Yeah it’s listed at 150.  That was the estimate that I submitted nearly a year ago.  Then I dug in and quickly started realizing that I needed to exceed it. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Today’s Post Delayed

July 19, 2012


Today Post Delayed, NOT Cancelled, Due to Weather

Yesterday I left Baltimore BWI airport at 11 am heading back to Cleveland.  Like basically all of the East Coast air travelers yesterday afternoon though, I never made it home.

I spent the night in Queens, New York.

So today’s post probably won’t be done until tomorrow, realistically.

In the meantime, here were my attempts last night to make the best of the situation in my usual way – with off-kilter humor:

Read the rest of this entry »

Poll Results

March 24, 2012

Even though it is still open, the one-question poll results have stabilized.  In fact, the percentages were pretty stable even from the beginning.


When I first “opened” the blog more than two years ago, the readership was overwhelmingly “BI” plus a smattering of SharePoint folks.  There weren’t enough Excel folks aware of PowerPivot to really even register back then.

The growth of the Excel audience here from essentially zero to approximately 70% of the readership actually parallels, perfectly, the total growth in page views.

Makes sense.  If you are part of the Microsoft BI community, you heard the PowerPivot message early and often.  The Excel audience is MUCH harder to reach, and has had to discover PowerPivot via social/viral means.

Non-BI = Excel?

Yeah, is that a stretch?  I don’t think so, not at all.  If you are crunching numbers and you are not BI, what are you?  Excel, that’s what.  Or working/researching on behalf of an Excel audience.

What about “Other?”  Those answers were overwhelmingly Excel-focused, too.  Here’s a sample:


One Last Note

How did I perform the analysis?  Why, I exported to Excel of course Smile


…and then into PowerPivot.

What’s Your Background?

March 22, 2012

***UPDATE:  Results summary here.

Gonna do something a little different today.  Blog traffic has been spiking quite a bit and I want to confirm or dispel a theory.

So let’s keep it simple.  A one-question survey.  What’s your background?