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The Ballad of Ken Puls, DAX Convert

PowerPivot Book Acknowledgements

No mention of Ken Puls – The Person Who Inspired the Book in the First Place
(In Author Circles, I’m Told This is Called a “Mistake.”)

Omissions:  the one thing you can never omit

I’ve been doing this blog since late 2009, back when I was still at Microsoft.  I started doing PowerPivot training in 2010.  And starting that same year, I began getting suggestions/requests to write a book.

I largely ignored those suggestions.  Books are a lot of work (more than I even knew!), I was very busy, I didn’t think of myself as a book author, and really, I didn’t think a book was needed.  I kinda figured “if *I* understand this stuff, everyone else does too.”

That changed on December 15, 2011.  I had sent an email to my fellow Excel MVP’s titled “The Excel Army Manifesto,” in which I outlined my opinion that we are on the verge of a revolution – one that dictates an explosion of the importance of Excel Pros.

Ken Puls replied and said:

“I firmly believe that PowerPivot is the future of Excel.  No question in my mind.  It’s insanely easy to get some killer BI in your hands with very little learning, which is awesome.  But…  What I don’t get is DAX.  The light just isn’t going on for me.  If you want to mobilize the Excel Pro army to really make this take off, DAX needs to become accessible for us.”

This was a light bulb moment for me.  Ken laying it all out there like that made it perfectly clear, because Ken is a monster.  When I was on the Excel team and he visited as an MVP, I don’t have a problem admitting that Ken’s knowledge (and blunt honesty) was intimidating.  He can make Excel do incredibly complex things – things I could not and still cannot do.  And here he was saying he just didn’t get PowerPivot formulas, despite sincere attempts.

I knew in my heart that DAX is actually quite…  simple.  DAX is a LOT simpler than many of the things Ken does in Excel.  I knew that what he was missing was actually something simple yet non-obvious.  If I could just fill in that small little gap, he’d be off and running.

DAX:  It’s the little differences

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