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.

Occupy BACON: Let’s Do This. (Sessions & Discount)

March 18, 2014


It’s Possible that Maybe I Added Something to Their Banner Image :)
(Click Image to Visit Site)

Year One Was Great, So I’m Speaking Again – San Jose CA, May 7-9

I really enjoyed the inaugural PASS Business Analytics Conference, aka PASS BACON, last year.  Before that, I’d never been to a conference that was even remotely aimed at “my kind of people.”  That all changed for me last year.  I think we have found our home.

THIS is the kind of conference we need – one that’s accessible without heavy technology expertise.  One where Business Impact take center stage, and the only pre-requisite is that you enjoy working with data.  (And it helps if you don’t flinch at the word “Microsoft.”)

Which suits us Excel folks to a tee, doesn’t it?  They might as well put us on the front page.  But an explicit mention of Excel would scare off those other people – the non-Excel people (that we outnumber 100 to 1).  Honestly I think we should just take this thing over.  You know, like…  Occupy BACON.  (Brief pause while I replace the previously-bland title of this post with precisely that).

Putting my time where my mouth is, this year I am “doubling down” and presenting two sessions – a full-day “pre-con” and a “regular” session – see below for details.  AND I’m in discussions about presenting a third session as well, stay tuned on that.

We like dominating the "BACON Challenge"Last Year’s Referral Champion Wants to Repeat!

A little bird told us that last year, more people signed up for PASS BACON using the PowerPivotPro discount code than any other discount code.

Pretty cool, eh?  Anyway, there’s a discount code again this year, but I’ve been slow to share it.  Let’s pretend we did that to give all those “non-Excel” websites a head start, given that whole “100 to 1 outnumber” thing (in reality I have just been swamped).

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Speaking Next Week in Minneapolis! (Tue 2/25)

February 17, 2014


Be There, Twin Cities!  I’ll Be Signing Babies and Kissing Books.
(Strike That.  Reverse It.)

Would love to meet some of you in person!  I’m not sure about the agenda for the evening but maybe we’ll all end up going out for dinner and/or a beer after the talk.

I’ll also bring a Sharpie in case anyone wants to experience the awkward moment of data-nerd book signing!  (I’ll also try to lug a few extra books on the plane).

Click Here to Reserve a Seat (Only 39 of 150 seats remain)

Tuesday Post #2: User Groups Update

June 18, 2013

Big flood of responses today, we’re approaching 300 total Smile

Updated status (changes in CAPS)…

Places that are ready:  PORTLAND, DETROIT, WASHINGTON DC, VANCOUVER BC, Boston, Cincy/Dayton, Milwaukee/Madison, Seattle, Atlanta


Places that just need an organizer:  NorCal and Denver.

(If we can count Toronto/Buffalo as one area, we’re ready there, too, but that seems like a stretch?)

Updated maps, since these seem popular:


image image

Click Each Thumbnail for Larger View
(Now if only there were a way for me to publish these interactively…)

I’m going to leave the signup forms open for a few more days before I take any action on this, but some time next week I should start the ball rolling on actually making these happen.

If you know folks in your corner of the world who SHOULD be signing up, please send them to the signup page!

Signup to be notified here (if you haven’t already)

User Group Interest: All Maps So Far (Monday Mini-post #3)

June 17, 2013

image imageimage


Click each thumbnail for larger version
(My first ‘”production” use of Power View, by the way)

183 total responses so far.  Cleveland and SoCal are now ready in my opinion (joining Boston, Cincy/Dayton, Milwaukee/Madison, Seattle, and Atlanta).  New York, Dallas, and Indianapolis are getting close.  NorCal and Denver each really just need an organizer. 

Outside the US, Sydney, Singapore, London, and Buenos Aires are getting close.

I don’t see critical mass of responses from Europe yet – are user groups not “a thing” in Europe?  (I do know that lots of people are using PowerPivot in Europe so I expect more responses over time.)

Click here to register your interest (if you haven’t already)

PowerPivot User Groups! (Mini-Post #2)

June 13, 2013

 PowerPivot User Groups

Let’s get this party started.  Register to be notified Smile

I just spent three days training a wonderful team of Excel pros who are up to their eyeballs in data.

Even though I play the role of “expert” on trips like that, I still learn new things everywhere I go.  Sometimes, I learn things that I already “knew,” but didn’t really “know.”  If you know what I mean.

For instance, great question this week:  “Are there PowerPivot user groups?  If there are, I think we would all attend.”

I talk about this all the time.  SQL pros have user groups that meet on weekday evenings, and they have SQL Saturdays which almost always “sell out” (they are free).  SharePoint pros have the same things – weekday user groups and SharePoint Saturdays.

So for a few years I’ve essentially been whining about this – how Excel has no equivalent community.  This week’s question showed me that it’s time to just get up off the bench and get this started.  The world is ready for it.  PowerPivot is the reason to cut your fingernails, in Fight Club terms.

So let’s do it.  Please take this short survey and we’ll see which cities are ready to get started immediately.

Click here to register your interest in a User Group in Your Area

Heading Down to Uniontown (MrExcel HQ)!

May 10, 2013



Chandoo:  “It’s 46 miles to Uniontown, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a stack of Excel books, it’s overcast, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”

Rob:  “Hit it.”

Hitting the Road.  Holding a Mini-Summit.

Chandoo and I are jumping in the car this afternoon for a short journey down I-77 to a place MrExcel calls home.  Well, at least, that’s where Bill lives and works today.  He is, sadly, moving to Florida this summer.  (The second friend of mine to leave Ohio for Florida since I moved here – traitors! Smile)

This is going to be fun, having the three of us in one place like this.  But I’m a little bummed that we couldn’t get a good picture of us sitting IN the car.  There was too much glare on the windshield.

Otherwise, we were prepared to re-enact this classic scene:


Me, Chandoo, and Bill in One Place?  Serious Stuff?  Maybe.

When a bunch of Excel “heavies” get together like this for a day, you might think the gathering looks like this:


Sometimes, that’s true.  But they just as often turn out more like the barbecue scene from Mystery Men:


I’m interested to see which way today goes Smile

Chandoo’s “Excel Love” Spring US Tour!

April 21, 2013


The Chandoo Tour Bus:  Rolling Into Chicago, NYC,
Washington DC, and Columbus this May and June!

Excel and PowerPivot Masterclasses!

The one and only Chandoo is coming to the USA this Spring to teach some of his signature two-day  “masterclasses” on Advanced Excel and Dashboards, as well as a first-ever edition of PowerPivot and Data Analysis.

I’m particularly excited by that last one, as he’s invited me to teach it in conjunction with him!  That’s gonna be pretty damn cool – a “dueling pianos” format seems to be in order Smile.  

Class Dates

Note that these are all Thursday/Friday classes, except for the Columbus Dashboard class, which is Tuesday/Wednesday (followed by PowerPivot class on the same Thursday/Friday).

  • Chicago May 30-31 – Advanced Excel and Dashboards
  • New York June 6-7 – Advanced Excel and Dashboards
  • Washington DC June 13-14 – Advanced Excel and Dashboards
  • Columbus OH June 18-19 – Advanced Excel and Dashboards
  • Columbus OH June 20-21 – PowerPivot and Data Analysis (co-taught by me)

Pricing and Discounts

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Back from PASS BACON!

April 16, 2013


The Excel “Screen Saver” Greeting Attendees of My Talk
(No it wasn’t an animated GIF in the talk, just here on the blog)

Well folks that was an intense trip.  I had a great time.  Some highlights:

Steven Freaking Levitt!


Freakonomics Author Steven Levitt Liked the PowerPivot Mashup I Showed Him
(Or at least, he politely pretended to like it)

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PASS BACON Session Posted

March 7, 2013


Yes, I Finally Got My Abstract Out of My Head and Onto Paper
(The PASS Folks Have Shown Me Much Patience, Thank You!)


Business Analytics Conference.  But I can’t look at it and NOT see Bacon.

Dark Matter:  Domain Experts & Nextgen Spreadsheets Are Our Future

(If you like this title, I take full credit.  If you don’t like it, I blame Tom LaRock for being a poor sounding board.  I can’t lose!)

Here’s the abstract in full:

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PASS BA Conference: Discount and “Hangout” Code

February 27, 2013


April in Chicago beats April in Paris this year.  Why?  Because this April in Chicago is the PASS Business Analytics Conference featuring Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) and yeah, gridheads like me too.

I want you to join me there.  PASS has arranged for me to share with you a discount code that you can use when registering for the event.

The code is BAC858BL and it will entitle you to two things:

1) First, you get $200 off the regular conference price.

2) Second, you get to spend time with me, Karen Lopez (@datachick), Lara Rubbelke (@SQLGal), and Thomas LaRock (@SQLRockstar) and pick our brains about data, analytics, business, and whatever else you want to talk about.  I think this takes the form of a breakfast (commonly referred to as First Coffee) but am still awaiting the details.

Those of us that live and breathe data for a living – particularly those of us who tease insight out of data – are finally going to have a place to connect, share, and learn from one another. The “accidental architect” that Thomas refers to on his blog is a role that resonates with me as well, I’ve seen that progression first hand many times over – most Excel Pros are “accidental” Excel Pros for instance.   

You don’t “get there” without understanding all the tools and options available. You don’t get there without leaving your desk and talking with others, sharing experiences, and learning – unless you can get other people to come to your desk of course, which is pure magic and rarely achieved.

For many folks that journey gets a big jumpstart this April in Chicago.

I can’t wait to be there to help get this party started quickly, as C&C once said.

Some Sessions that Caught My Eye…

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“Announcing” the Business Analytics Conference

February 13, 2013


April 10-12 in Chicago.  Featured Speakers Steven Levitt and Rob Collie!

Yes, Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame will be keynoting a conference in April, which makes him a featured speaker.  I will ALSO be speaking at the same conference, which also makes ME a featured speaker…  but I suspect they will give me a much smaller room in which to speak Smile


The Authors of These Two Revolutionary Books, “Together” for the First Time! Smile with tongue out

Of course I am wildly exaggerating here – yes we’re speaking at the same conference, but it’s not like Steven knows me.  I’m a huge “fanboy” of his book however…  and it’s rumored that I may indeed get a chance to meet him!  I’m gonna ambush him with a PowerPivot demo.  More on this later.

Why You Should Attend (aka Why Rob is STOKED About this Conference)

For years, I’ve held the following beliefs:

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