If Carlsberg did formulas

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” ~ Albert Einstein

On a coach full of inebriated colleagues being dropped off after a Christmas party, I was once asked “What’s your favourite Excel function?” This led to an extended discussion about the merits of the various usual suspects and some more esoteric options, only stopped short by the arrival at my stop. This speaks loudly to the type of conversations I attract (and revel in). In today’s post I champion SUMPRODUCT and how it blossoms beyond its mathematical roots.

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The rule of 5

“We must become more comfortable with probability and uncertainty.” ~ Nate Silver

If you told me that your processing team turned around over a thousand widgets per day and that you just asked five people how long their last widget took to process: 28, 36, 24, 30 and 31 minutes. Now if I say that I predict your median process time is somewhere between 24 and 36 minutes you will probably think that’s a reasonable guess based on the few examples. However, if I then said I was over 93% sure of my prediction, you might think I was being rather over confident. Lets look at the maths behind why I can be so sure with so few data points.

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Plunging into Pivots

“I’m not confused. I’m just well mixed.” ~ Robert Frost

One of the most requested topics when I’ve run Excel upskilling sessions has to be Pivot tables. When asked what people want to do with them the typical reply is something like “I just don’t get them.” Do you find yourself saying or hearing this as well? Lets dive in and have a look at pivoting data.

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Faster, Better, Cheaper!

“I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of two million parts — all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract.” ~ John Glenn

After the huge budgets of the Apollo project that landed 12 men on the moon and built the Space Shuttle, NASA was tasked “to decrease the amount of time and cost for each mission and to increase the number of missions and overall scientific results obtained on each mission.” This was the policy of Faster, Better, Cheaper.

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