Will Not Learning Excel Leave You Homeless?


My favorite blog has to be Seth Godin’s. I love that he can write something concise and meaningful every day about topics ranging from pricing strategy to digital entrepreneurship.

Today Seth launched a tour de force. Entitled “The computer, the network, and the economy,” he riffed on everything from labor economics to education theory – and did it in two pages (which is a lot for him!)

“Either you serve the computer or it serves you,” he says. “When you can train a CNC or a spreadsheet (emphasis added…hint!) to do a better job than a person can, odds are you will. “

Which leads me to a funny tweet I saw today:


This tweet got me thinking – Excel will be the meeting point in this shifting division of labor.

Excel has become important for increasingly more jobs, to the point where someone would think not knowing Excel would leave her unemployable.

It’s most peoples’ “in” to the world of data-driven analysis and business intelligence.

But most Excel use remains the cut-and-paste variety. So the more time you can spend getting the computer to do what it’s good at while you focus on your strengths, the better.

I argue that most people are kept from doing their best work due to poor “data literacy,” and the best way to get started is to learn Excel. As technology becomes more advanced, expect us to spend less time and effort on data preparation — leave that to the computers.

It’s important to remember that man will do best when he races “with the machine,” not against it. So this is the future of the Excel analyst — knowing how to delegate to the computer. Turn that hour-long data load into a ten-minute process…and take the extra fifty minutes doing work that a computer can’t.




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