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A Post That Just Refused to Wait for Tuesday

I’m Looking for a Few Good Pivot Pros

If you’re an Excel Pro (which I define simply as “one who creates PivotTables”), and you’ve been using PowerPivot, I want your help for a semi-radical side project I’ve been thinking about.

I want to ask you a few questions, either in email or on the phone.  That’s it – basically I need a focus group off of which I can bounce a few ideas before making those ideas public.

If you’re selected to participate, there WILL be compensation.  That will either be a $50 gift card, some free Pivotstream services, and/or a direct line to me for some PowerPivot questions.

So if you’re interested, please drop me a note at the following address:

***UPDATE – the survey program is closed to new participants at this time, the response was overwhelming!

What’s a Hero Report?

I love this term, but I didn’t invent it.  Credit goes to John, one of my colleagues at Pivotstream.  He talks to a lot of Excel Pros every day, even more than I do, and he tells stories like the following all the time:

“Jane has put together a hero report using PowerPivot.  It’s revolutionary – it blows away anything they’ve ever had in terms of insight into their business.  It could change her organization’s way of operating (and make her a hero), but she’s struggling to get it distributed to everyone.”

This is right up my alley of course.  It’s one of my recurring themes – the world runs on Excel, period.  Which means it runs on Excel pros.  But Excel pros don’t get sufficient credit for this, otherwise it wouldn’t be so novel for me to say that the world runs on Excel pros!

One of my missions in life is to get Excel pros the credit they deserve.  Perceptions are NOT going to change, however until there’s a disruption in the status quo, and a disruption in the psychology of how people consume the output of Excel pros.

With PowerPivot, Document Becomes Application in the Browser, and Excel Pro –> Hero

Document Becomes Application in the Browser, and Excel Pro –> Hero

PowerPivot IS that disruption – the quality and depth of results is so much better than traditional Excel that it feels like magic.  Then to top it off, we can change the delivery mechanism from “here’s a document” to “here’s a URL.”

And that’s when something changes forever.

I’ve talked at length at about how that changes people’s perceptions, how the idea of “document’ disappears instantly, as well as all of the psychological association with Word and PowerPoint, and the new perception is “professional application.”

Someone Who Should Know Better, Didn’t

Last week I was talking to a friend, someone who isn’t just an Excel Pro, but also a BI Pro.  This is a guy who is very much “in the know.”  He reads a lot.  We talk all the time.  He is as knowledgeable about PowerPivot as anyone can be.  He’s heard me talk about this psychological impact thing forever.

And last week, for the first time, he put a PowerPivot workbook up on a site, and sent a URL to a colleague.

“Dude, all I did was upload the workbook, sent the URL to a friend, and he could use it.  FRICKIN’ COOL!”

I about fell out of my chair.  This is someone who, more than any human being on the planet, should already KNOW how powerful it is, but he had to see it himself to understand.  I thought he already “got it,” but clearly not – he didn’t even have the courtesy to say “Rob you’ve been right all this time” – it didn’t even occur to him that this was what I’ve been saying, he was so caught up in the moment.

I have mixed feelings about this – excited that he’s seen it, and now “gets it.”  But frustrated that it took so long for him to get there.  If he doesn’t get it, no one does, and I need to change the way I describe it.  Back to the drawing board 🙂

So What’s the Secret Project?

Not telling yet.  But the basic gist is this:  the IaaS crowd is early to the party, with more than half the people hosting workbooks on our service coming from those ranks.  Pivotstream itself comes from IaaS “roots,” if you will, so this isn’t all that surprising.

But for every IaaS biz owner, there’s easily 100 folks with hero reports.  So we’re vastly underserving that audience, and I want to change that.  This might require a bit of a DNA change on our part, but if so, that just makes it more exiting to me.

So if you want to help, please drop me a note and I’ll get back to you pronto.

Rob Collie

One of the founding engineers behind Power Pivot during his 14-year career at Microsoft, and creator of the world’s first cloud Power Pivot service, Rob is one of the foremost authorities on self-service business intelligence and next-generation spreadsheet technology.

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