04 May 2015

My Initial Reaction

I can’t remember how I discovered Excel.TV but I watched the episode 1 trailer and my initial reaction was something like this:  “WHAT???” followed by “Who are these guys?” and “I’ve got to check this out!“. The obvious challenge was how to create an entertaining live show where everything is centered around Microsoft Excel. Would it be worth watching or would it be like hanging out with Less Nessman or Cliff Clavin? It was a bold endeavor and I decided to watch.

 

Szilvia JuhaszEpisode 1: Guest Szilvia Juhasz shared some of her experiences as an Excel consultant. Especially interesting was her comment about the art of spreadsheet model design (which I completely agree with!). Szilvia mentioned that her mother was an artist, her father was an engineer and that building Excel models requires a combination of skills from both of these disciplines. The discussion throughout the episode revealed the areas of expertise and personalities of the show’s three hosts (see ‘Variety‘ below).  I was eager to watch the next episode.

 

Why Do I Enjoy Watching Excel.TV?

Episode 1 was just the beginning.  Here are some of the factors that have kept me watching.

Guests: I have read many Excel books and blog posts over the years and I’ve always been curious to know more about the people behind the knowledge. Excel TV has had many interesting guests and discussions.  I discovered ModelOff by watching Episode 9 Season 1 and I learned who Denise McInerney is (SQL Server MVP, PASS BA Board Member)  by watching Episode 25 Season 2. They find interesting people to interview. Check out their episode guide

 

Variety: Oz, Jordan and Rick have different personalities with a variety of work/life experiences and opinions. They all bring different angles to any discussion which makes it diverse and lively. They have created a chemistry that really works well.

Oz du Soleil specializes in data cleaning, training and modeling. Oz is very entertaining with his one-liners, bow ties, hats and hot sauce!  A friend of mine commented “That Oz guy is a hoot!“. Oz has some interesting posts on his website Datascopic.net He even wrote a nice article about me called Inside the Mind of an Analyst.

Jordan Goldmeier is an expert VBA programmer and model designer. He treats code like the Louvre treats fine art! His work has taken him around the globe. He loves BBQ-ing and pit smoking! He has three kettle grills, one gas grill, and one vertical gas smoker. I wonder if he has a spreadsheet to keep track of the details. You can find Jordan at optionexplicitvba.com

Rick Grantham is a Director of Business Intelligence at a Consulting Firm. He travels frequently implementing B.I. solutions and speaks at various conferences. In fact, Rick travels so much that he’s often on the road during the Tuesday broadcasts. Rick’s personal website is rickgrantham.com.  I enjoyed this article about his ideas and goals for growing his site. His twitter handle is @BIStrategyGuy

 

Questions: I have noticed that Rick, Oz and Jordan are all really good at asking the type of questions that viewers would want to ask. Their questions uncover a lot of interesting things. For example, how did Mike Girvin get started with Excel? At the 2015 PASS BA conference they did a great job interviewing a variety of attendees.

 

Humor: Some episodes have really made me laugh.  “05: Mr. Excel, Bill Jelen” is a classic. At one point Bill suggests wearing super hero capes and driving around in a Ghostbusters-style van helping distressed Excel users in office towers. That would be hilarious! It would be great publicity for a book deal! Later in this episode, Jordan and Bill get into a entertaining debate about the use of option explicit when programming. The entire episode was informative and entertaining but this part was especially funny. A cage match was proposed between Jordan and Bill! These two have got to write a VBA book together! And we can’t forget the famous one-liners from Oz.  A quote wouldn’t do them justice.  You’ll have to watch a few episodes to understand.

 

Beer & Hot Sauce? Who would have expected that a live spreadsheet show would showcase beer? Rick’s idea is that the show should not only be informative but also relaxing. Grab a cold one and watch the show!

Someone, often Oz, shares an Excel tip and Oz rates it by placing Sriracha pics on the screen. Five srirachas means a really hot tip! Oz is serious about his hot sauce!

 

Format: The show doesn’t follow a strict script at all but they have different segments including: Guest Interview, Main Topic, Hot Tip, Industry News, Trivia, Shameless Plugs. Rick, as the emcee of the show, keeps an eye on the clock and moves things along. They post the full episode for those who missed the live broadcast and they also post individual parts of each episode. If you miss an episode or you lose your connection it’s easy to watch it at a later date.

 

Community Involvement: Excel TV streamed live from both the 2014 MVP Summit and the 2015 PASS BA Conference.  This gave the outside world an interesting look at what goes on. It was interesting seeing various Excel experts stopping by to say hi and chat. They also attended the 2014 Financial ModelOff (created by John Persico and Johann Odou) competition in New York!

 

Have I Convinced You To Watch An Episode?

Click here to find out about their next episode.  And as Rick says near the end of Episode 5, “What a great segway to shameless plugs”. Here are two of mine:

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Watch my guest appearance on Excel TV

Visit my YouTube channel to watch my Excel videos

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