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Excel Monkey Getting Overdue Respect

“It’s about time you noticed”

-Excel Monkeys everywhere

As I mentioned the other day, I drew some fire when I role-played as the head of a business unit and referred to my army of “Excel Monkeys” who could crank out what I needed in a day, rather than the four months IT required to give me the same numbers.

It was a sympathetic joke that I thought would be taken as such – and I think by most, it was.  But these are a sensitive, downtrodden people.  Business runs on their backs.  Multimillion dollar decisions hang on the data they produce every day.  And because of that, they often are the first to arrive in the morning and the last to go home…  or at least, the last to go to sleep.

In my experience, they are neither properly respected nor compensated for their outsized importance to the business.  They are viewed as producers of documents, just as if they were taking dictation in Word.

They are viewed as Excel Monkeys.  But they are really Shadow IT.  Special Ops.  Ninjas.  Pick your analogy.  Writer’s guild, auto unions, pilots’ unions…  all of these pale in comparison to the power an Excel Monkeys Guild would wield, were one to exist.  They could bring the world to its knees.  But I digress.

Things might be different if they were viewed as applications programmers, as I explained in my post Microsoft Announces New Programming Language – XL#.  And PowerPivot itself is hopefully poised to start changing the landscape as well.

In the meantime, let’s do something else:

Excel Monkey T-Shirt Design Contest!

We need t-shirts, the cornerstone of any proper revolution.  And for that, we need a proper design.  Some of you out there are talented with graphics tools.  (I am not). 

So…  send me your designs!  Email me at [email protected] – send me pictures, or URL’s to pictures.

David Coe of Microsoft has set the bar high with his initial entry:

David Coe Excel Monkey

Bring it on!


Yes, there are prizes.  Denny Lee has volunteered an autographed copy of the upcoming PowerPivot book he is co-authoring.

Mr. Excel, Bill Jelen, then upped the ante with an offer of TWO autographed books – his upcoming PowerPivot for the Data Analyst book and his Pivot Table Data Crunching book, which is also highly relevant to PowerPivot.

Fabulous prizes indeed.

Contest Rules

Rules???  There ARE NO RULES!!!  OK, maybe a few things are worth saying:

  1. Contest will be open until 11:59 PM US Pacific Time on Friday, March 12, 2010.
  2. Contest will be judged by me, Denny, and Chris Givens (who had the guts to call me from a crowded bank lobby and make monkey hooting sounds into the phone – a man amongst men).
  3. The winner will be announced during the week of March 14th.
  4. Contest is open to everyone.  Doesn’t matter where you live or who you work for.


Rob Collie

One of the original engineering leaders behind Power BI and Power Pivot during his 14-year career at Microsoft, Rob Collie founded a consulting company in 2013 that is 100% devoted to “the new way forward” made possible by Power BI and its related technologies. Since 2013, PowerPivotPro has rapidly grown to become the leading firm in the industry, pioneering an agile, results-first methodology never before seen in the Business Intelligence space. A sought-after public speaker and author of the #1-selling Power BI book, Rob and his team would like to help you revolutionize your business and your career.

This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. Everyone can use the Excel logo. I don’t think we are going to be sued for such Pro-Excel behavior 🙂

    Or if you prefer, you can use the PowerPivotPro logo. You can be absolutely sure that *I* don’t mind.

  2. Dang you Mr. Excel for upping the ante with TWO autographed books! So nice, but …. my book’s title is longer than yours (Professional Business Intelligence with PowerPivot for Microsoft Office 2010) 😉

  3. Curses Denny Lee!

    Excel tells me that =LEN(“Professional Business Intelligence with PowerPivot for Microsoft Office 2010”) is 76 and =LEN(“PowerPivot for the Data Analyst: Microsoft Excel 2010 (MrExcel Library)”) is only 71.

    The real question…are you going to be able to get all of those co-authors to autograph your book as well? For me, I am quite certain that Mike Alexander is going to charge me a hefty celebrity endorsement fee to autograph the Pivot Table Data Crunching book, so I might have to go with a faux autograph…

  4. I can definitely empathize with you! I should be able to since all of the authors are out of Redmond so worst case scenario, I’ll just sit in their office until I get it, eh?!

  5. LOL
    Mr. Excel x Denny Lee, who will be the winner ? 😀
    I do NOT have design skills too. I only have some good ideas..

    I will buy one of these t-shirts for sure 🙂
    And, of course, I will ask the winner to autograph one book for me book too. Eh?


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