The Cognitive Dissonance of Excel

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Oz du Soleil has a new daily vlog series in August, “Excel Ignited.” He’ll start from the basics, diving into what Excel is for and how to think about data. 

In the last lesson, he discussed “What is Excel?”

Sounds pretty basic, but it really got me thinking. 

Excel is a spreadsheet tool. Think about that word…spreadsheet. That is, it is a digital piece of paper. 

Spreadsheets were used to keep ledgers, track inventory, etc. We’ve digitized this work in Excel. 

As such, it is not really a program. A program is a start-stop procedure: “fold this spreadsheet into X dimensions, walk to Y location, and deliver to Z.” 

It’s much easier to think in terms of a sheet of paper than in terms of a program written in computer language.

Excel, while a powerful digital program, retains elements of its analog origins.

Readers — am I crazy? Any thoughts here? It’s an idea I’m still developing, so I welcome your feedback — in fact, I love blogging because it allows me to work out ideas with my audience. 

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