“If you master the fundamentals of Excel, the rest will follow. You will understand all the ramifications and use the Excel tools in any situation”
I am John Franco, Excel author of many books like Master of Macros, How Pivot Tables work, How to design Excel dashboards, etc. I have been bringing a fresh and intuitive approach to teaching Excel online since 2011 to more than 10000 subscribers and more than 1000 customers from all over the world.
I was born in Ecuador, married with two children and love among other things: long walks across nature as well as cities, reading, understanding how things truly work and sharing it to others. In just a moment, I will share with you some details of how I felt in love with Microsoft Excel and spreadsheet thinking…
Here’s what shaped my Excel passion and skills…
This is the story of how I arrived at this point. So, please read on.
Turning point #1 – My Excel limits were always stretched by my Excel-maven boss
For over seven years, I worked as a Civil Engineer for a Brazilian construction corporation, one the 50th largest construction contracting firm from around the world according to Engineering News Record 2008). During that time, I had an Excel Maven Boss; Nilton, one of those old-time-Excel-geniuses who makes precious models, uses just the keyboard and hates BI corporate packages. His almost “religious fervor” for Excel, and his amazing knowledge, was the source of my great interest in Spreadsheets.
Turning point #2 – I was challenged with big Excel projects since the very beginning
A most interesting part of the story however, is that in order to be hired by this company I was challenged to improve an Excel Spreadsheet model done by a Brazilian expert in the field of pipe networks. It was a specific improvement for calculating and optimizing diameters in a large pipe network of an Ecuador Government Irrigation Project.
I was 23 years old. It was more than scary! If the diameters were optimized by my spreadsheet model, then I would be hired… The fact is that I knew Excel, but not to the extent to do such application. I was very determined to get the job, so I started to research and study how to make it. I worked hard to build the model, I learned a lot from the professor’s model. To be brief… At the end, the model performed the iterations, but the optimization was far from the company’s goals. Anyway, my job was seen as a potential and I was hired. This initial contact with spreadsheets was very challenging but a great source of education for me, and so this is how I discovered the bottomless nature of Excel.
Turning point #3 – My life got better and better
During all these years I really experienced the professional benefits of using Excel to accomplish my duties, believe me when I say to you that being skilled in Excel gives you a tremendous advantage at the office, career and in your personal life!
- I got the job of my dreams
- My job satisfaction increased because I automated all the boring tasks and left the meaningful duties for me
- I got many many promotions due to my efficiency to work with data and information
- I started my Excel blog (I had the confidence to quit my job)
- …and so much more!
CRITICAL TURNING POINT! – I needed to do something to cope with ever-changing information
Prior to my work in this company, I used to work with small projects, where I was the single person involved in the data generation and data presenting, this meant I place the information where I wanted and how I wanted, I prepared the reports I wanted and they never changed because I conceived them like I desired. This comfort disappeared when I entered the realm of corporate world, where multiple users and data providers come into interaction. I suddenly discover that data didn’t suit my preferences any more…
- Errors here and there (not produced by me)
- My output formats were rejected
- Report generation required in different formats and styles
- Changing information in quantity and quality every single day
- and much more frustrating things…
No matter how hard I worked, the ever-present changing-information ruined my work. Then I developed my “Excel dynamic mindset”, since then, I am able to cope with changes very effectively…
- I started using VLOOKUP to find information even when people moved it from row to row, column to column or sheet to sheet
- I started using VBA macros to make incoming-data complies with my preferences, to produced consistent output every time and more
- I wrote Excel formulas only once and they kept working even when users changed parameters or moved data
- and much more…
Since then I have become a very loyal Excel Lover and Enthusiast! Having always been very entrepreneurial in my nature, I quit my job at Norberto Odebrecht in order to devote my full passion and knowledge of advanced Excel methods, to others around the world who can benefit from it.