Excel Exposed! Interview with Ben Currier on Sheet Talking Episode 4
In today’s tech-savvy world, spreadsheets are everywhere. For years, Microsoft Excel has dominated the market for spreadsheet applications, but with the rise of cloud-based applications, Google Sheets has been gaining popularity. So which is better? Let’s settle this debate once and for all.
Failing at Excel, or Google Sheets doesn't mean it's the end. Fellow spreadsheet teacher Ben Currier joins me for a casual conversation about spreadsheets. He's been teaching sheets from 2013, Excel specifically.
In today’s tech-savvy world, spreadsheets are everywhere. For years, Microsoft Excel has dominated the market for spreadsheet applications, but with the rise of cloud-based applications, Google Sheets has been gaining popularity. So which is better? Let’s settle this debate once and for all.
In a recent episode of Sheet Talking, Ben Currier, the creator of Excel Exposure, and Andrew Kamphey, the host of Sheet Talking, sat down to discuss their favorite spreadsheet applications. Currier, a self-proclaimed financial failure, has been working with Excel since 2013, while Kamphye admits to using Google Sheets for all of his work but originally starting with Excel.
(00:00) you do Excel? I do Google Sheets. Mm-hmm. . So this could be a throw down. This could be a fight. We've never met each other before this. That's true. It could, anything could we're here with another episode of sheet talking today. We're talking to Ben Currier. Of Excel exposure. Last time we talked to prolific Oak tree, but I would say Ben rivals.
(00:21) Adam on prolificness. Ben has been working on Excel exposure since 2013. He's also a financial wizard himself. Getting fired from six jobs. And he will tell you that that is a big success of his being the failure guy. As we'll talk about a little bit here, he runs a podcast called the failure guy.
(00:44) Check that out to check out Excel exposure. I'm looking forward to this casual conversation. With Ben about Excel. Let's see if we get into a fight. Do you talk about spreadsheets with other people? I try not to as much as possible, but , if I do, uh, it's funny cause people will go like, oh, I use Google Sheets and they get all like, weird as if I'm a Microsoft employee.
(01:09) I don't care what you use. You can use anything you want. I, I thought Excel would be gone by this point. Like you thought everybody 12 years ago. Yeah. I thought, well, whatever. Then the next thing would come along. Mm-hmm. , you know, air table, whatever the thing is. Air table notion. Google Sheet Rows spreadsheet.com.
(01:28) , uh, Coda the only thing I saw was I was working on finance, corporate finance, accounting. And no matter where I went, It was PCs and it was Excel. So, and I had one Excel class in all of undergrad and in my master's in business, one Excel class, I was like, this is all I do now. 99% of my job was Excel.
(01:48) You didn't tell me any of that. Come on. But that's most people, right? Most people they end up working in spreadsheets. So what? They don't know it. It's a tri trick. Bamboozle. They don't tell you that. They don't teach you it. That's why we have to do it. , this is the stuff they don't teach you about sheets in school.
(02:05) Yeah, it's crazy. I had like an access class and I know, I mean, why learn more about access? I think what is access is that it's like a database thing, you know, like joining, you know, I'm gonna do a terrible job explaining it, so I'm just gonna pretend like just everyone pretend like I did a good job explaining what the access is.
(02:21) But it's like, uh, SQL database querying thing. People know great, either you know or you don't know. And that's how it is. Um, I mean, I started, so I'm not, I'm not, what I wanted to say is I'm not an Excel purist. Mm-hmm. , I'll use Google Sheets for some stuff, but I just know everything about how it works in Excel and I don't always know what it's gonna do when I go to the sheet bill that's like exactly me, but reverse it vice versa.
(02:49) Mm-hmm. , I started in Excel. I started VBA a I, I learned Excel, VBA A and then I switched jobs and careers and then ended up in a company that used Google Sheets. So I was like, I guess I learned this now. It's funny, it's how it is, like tribal knowledge handed down from job site to job site kind of thing.
(03:09) Like you get an old model from someone else and you kind of take it apart. Yeah. Except I was the one. Okay. So, so how I started was in Google Sheets and Google Script after being in an Excel and VB and Excel VBA for like a, I was doing it for like two or three years. The company I started with, literally the first day someone was complaining about the Google Sheets.
(03:33) One person had been using them for, had created a sheet six months before, had used it every day for six months and then like eight people started using it all on the, on like in one day. And this one person had to like teach eight people how to use their sheet. And like, this is a very common thing in offices.
(03:52) You have your sheet, you know how it works, and you have to tell people how do they work in it. Mm-hmm. , but nobody listened. And this person got irate and was like just mad. And I was like, well, I know Excel, V B A. . I wonder if there's a Google version of this. Oh yeah, there is. Hey, let me help you out.
(04:13) And just the things that you were asking people to do, can we just make them one click? They can do it in one click and like two weeks later, I think I wrote one script, I think I wrote, wrote one line of Google script in two weeks, and then my boss was like, we need to use this right away. And then from that day forward, I was the Google sheet guy in that office for five years, .
(04:38) So what was the job you were doing? Like what was the, what was the, what were the sheets being used for? So the sheets were, okay, so the company was a broadcast television network. Mm-hmm. like 24 hours television on broadcast television back when people used to watch tv. Not back. This was . This is 10 years ago. Okay. After people, back when people were stopping Okay.
(05:02) What we were, what was on the channel? The channel was brand new, never existed before. And then 30 after I got hired, and 30 days later, we launched a 24 hour broadcast channel. And it was a hundred percent YouTube videos. Okay. We licensed YouTube videos and edited them and put them together and on a broadcast television network.
(05:23) We ended up in four years creating four broadcast channels. It actually still exists in the u the US one still exists. It's only like five years later called tbd. You can go to tbd.com. That's, we created that. Awesome. So wait, was your sheets just to like, keep track of the playlist? Like the, the everything, like whatever random stuff about the details of the shows.
(05:47) Everything we captured, all of, so we licensed content from YouTubers. We kept about 15,000 YouTube channels, uh, data in, in a Google sheet. We licensed like 2,500. over the course of four years while I was there. Um, we kept the licensing information, we kept the data on each channel in a sheet. We also kept all the programming and the editor, the producers and the editors worked in Google Sheets to produce the, um, the stuff that went on air that we edited.
(06:21) Mm-hmm. . And then we also finally sent, we had a Google sheet that ran the actual programming hour by hour. So everything Oh, wow. From raw video channels and videos we found online all the way through licensing, all the way through playing. And then even past that from playing, we paid, um, at the time we were paying a dollar per play to YouTubers.
(06:46) Oh yeah. So I had to keep track every month of what played when, and add it up and then base it and then also compile that for per creator and per license to pay them. So it seems like, so I'll tell my story in a second, but. Similarly, we both were like, oh no, everything runs on this. And we're the only ones who know how it works.
(07:05) And if anything goes wrong, if we're we're the ones who are the idiots, who we're like, we like Bulletproof with these things. So I worked for, so I'll just go to my brief history of like, I started an internship. Mm-hmm. , he's like, here, read Excel 2003 for dummies the whole book and then we'll talk.
(07:26) And so I was like, okay, this is easy for a job. Like I'll just read it. I hate reading, but for a job not so bad. And I was like, oh ma, this is amazing. Like, why didn't I get learn any of this stuff? And then he was like, now I'll show you all my crazy tricks. And I'm like, you can name a range.
(07:40) You can do all this other stuff. I'm like, what the hell? And then I was like, this is amazing. So then every time I went to a, so I started out, um, I went to undergrad and accounting and I got an mba, but I started at kpmg. by the way, failure. I've been fired from every job I've had since graduating college, which is six for six.
(08:00) So number one was kbmg, whereas an auditor, which sucks cuz you're like, you don't wanna be there, they don't want you there. Yeah. Why am I there? I don't wanna be there. So it's says, don't be an auditor if, especially if you're like an extrovert, you wanna talk to people. But, uh, eventually I worked at Harmonics.
(08:17) The company made rock band a guitar hero, made the original guitar Hero, won two rocks the eighties and then they split from Activision and then MTV Games bought them. Then they made rock band won Activision did the guitar hero thing. And then I came in cause that was number like 300 in the world for rock band drums playing them.
(08:40) I went to play test for rock band. Rock band player. Yep. And then I went to play test cuz it would happen to me in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is where I was living at the time. But I grew up in Salem, but uh, was working in Boston. So I was like, oh, I'll just go play test. For the new game before it comes out.
(08:55) And then I brought my resume and I just like, by the way, if you need any finance people or whatever. And then they did bring me on and then all of a sudden I was ordering absolutely every single component part of all the broccoli and drums. Wow. Microphones. We bought like 8 million drumsticks all of a sudden.
(09:12) The really light ones, no one has that. They had to go to everybody and their mother to get drumsticks and all of a sudden we couldn't ship the whole thing because we need like 50 cent drumsticks, but nobody has all that much wood carved up into little light drumsticks, so they can be very heavy ones.
(09:26) So there's all sorts of weird things. We were keeping it all on a PO log in, uh, Excel. I'm like, this is like 700 million in purchasing, is what it ended up being. And I'm like, I'm doing all this basically on my own, trying to figure out Nintendo. We, uh, chip sets going into the stuff with also PS4 or whatever, PS three, whatever it was, the time, the PlayStation, Sony.
(09:49) Geez. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft. And then we also do the royalties, like you were saying, the licensing stuff. Every song, there's 3000 songs of rock band. When we sold one song of Aerosmith, maybe like half the money went to the master royalty owner and someone had the other publishing rights and all this other stuff.
(10:04) So it was like, and Nintendo would literally, they were like maybe 10% of our sales or they would print out a 400 page PDF and then scan it. And then the names of the things that they sold were like just what? What? Where? It was on the hard drive. It wasn't even the name of the song or anything. So we were just like, okay, we'll just estimate all of that cuz we have no idea how to, we can't OCR r it.
(10:24) And also we have no idea what any of this means. So we're just like, take the PlayStation and and Microsoft and just apply it to Nintendo. Cuz you think they'd have their stuff together in a Japanese company, but they basically did the screw you, you're the IRS and we want you to not be able to get this sy info kind of thing.
(10:42) My God. So. There was also stuff like that where I was like, okay, this is like serious dollar bills going on and I don't wanna be the one who's to blame just because my macro's terrible, or whatever it is. Mm-hmm. . And so, uh, I think over time I realized, well, I, I learned most from my mistakes.
(11:02) So like, you know, after presenting a big, I would do three to five year forward looking financial forecast type stuff, which is like, yeah, I'm not a psychic, but okay, I'll pretend to be a psychic if you want me to be. And here's all the r here's all the rules of what this psychic tale is, and this is what, but you gotta go sell it.
(11:20) You gotta go do this stuff. Cuz once in the budget you're like, oh, we're fine. It's done. No, you gotta do it. I just made this up. I, I literally made this up, but all the math, hopefully it works. But then like I'd present it and then made up, well it's made up financials five years ahead.
(11:37) It's projected based on money. Make it up. If you sold this many per month at this much money per and minus the cost of good, sold, et cetera. But it's still future forecasting. Yeah. Fortune telling, as far as I'm concerned. We could tweak this stuff, but no one ever wanted to take the liability of like being the one who said, I always put all these lovers and things, they could move it up and down.
(11:57) They never touched it all. And I'm like, whatever. So make it amazing. And then they didn't touch it. They'd just be like, Hey, can you make it do this? And I'm like, okay, I should stop making all the interactiveness cuz they didn't touch it and it was a big pain in the ass. But then I would just try to make it like basically so that I couldn't mess it up.
(12:15) And I did mess it. I did a big presentation and then afterwards I was like, Oh, no, I don't think I backed depreciation from basically my pen to my balance sheet. I was like $2 million off for the presentation that I was giving. So I was like, next day I had to go on and be like, okay, so even though it's fictional future money, it's $2 million lower now.
(12:38) Nothing happened except for the, my math is wrong. Mm-hmm. , I was like, I really gotta make sure I'm gonna make it so that there's no way to have errors in this thing. So literally every dollar amount of every cell, p l balance sheet, cash flow, I'd have it like frozen on one sheet and then live values and then the difference.
(12:55) And if there's no difference, I know nothing in this whole thing changed. If anything changed, it would just show me the variance and then stuff would highlight. So I'd just go, is anything different? Because literally you could just accidentally click something and then all of a sudden you see stuff go through.
(13:11) Or if you do change something, you wanna see payroll change, but nothing else. and then you see payroll change and sales change. They're like, well, sales shouldn't be impacted. You know, like you could start making sure what you're doing made sense. But it was really stressful being like just the only person who knew what was going on with like a black box of stuff.
(13:29) So just like you're saying with all this stuff running on the broadcasting network and who knows if it's ways to fact check your own stuff? I'm sure we each came up with different, like error checking, error proofing methods. I don't know, maybe I don't remember putting any error fixing.
(13:46) Maybe you're less error prone than me. No, I, we just didn't find them. I mean also it was like, uh, well there was no auditing. Right. So like, we're not the we we got no source Right. To see. Yeah. And in contracts there was literally a no audit clause. They could not audit us. And what would they audit? They wouldn't, they couldn't audit auditing.
(14:09) Yeah. The data, they could only audit, like the invoice we created. We got into a weird thing because we created the res, like the amount of money we needed to pay someone, we knew we would pay them. But because of accounting practices, you can't just pay someone, you have to have an invoice in order to pay someone.
(14:31) So we would tell people, this is how much we owe you. You create an invoice, send it to us and then we'll pay you . Yeah. I thought that was so stupid. So they audit their own process. They'd send you, it would obviously match cuz you told them, don't tell you unless they messed up. Didn't put in what you said.
(14:49) So like what would what? At the end of the day, even if they wanted an audit, they would audit their own invoice. They sent us that. Yeah. The only thing you could do is look at the process maybe, but then you just say whether or not. Fault in it. But yeah, it's weird when you're, uh, so what is strange for me, I worked in healthcare as well.
(15:08) Mm-hmm. , you can have absolutely every piece of information possible if you bill in the US an insurance company, $80,000 for treatment. It doesn't matter if it's the exact same thing as last time, the exact same CCP T codes, which is what they are. Everything. Mm-hmm. , you dunno if they're gonna pay 80 grand, $0, 40 grand, 60 grand.
(15:29) What they paid last time, what they paid and never it. You had no idea. So I'm like, I can know what we billed them and I can't know what we're gonna get. That's insanity. How is the person paying this bill? Like, hey, the patient ever gonna know what they're gonna owe if we don't even know as a company what we're gonna get paid from.
(15:46) So like the insurance company world, the health insurance company, are you doing now in healthcare? No, this is one of the many six jobs that I've gotten. . So there are all these different industries. So I've worked in the video game industry, uh, public accounting, diamond jewelry. , um, real estate, chemical company that primarily dealt with the marijuana industry.
(16:06) Mm-hmm. , so it was all chemicals that weren't marijuana, but for like, to make edibles or for, to, you know, like chemicals sold to marijuana companies. So we weren't able to get the right bank loans and stuff because we were still marijuana adjacent to whatever you wanna say. Even though we didn't touch anything with weed, it was just all chemicals that were sold to those companies for, you know, extractions, stuff like that.
(16:29) So, and then what was there one more? Mm, let's, yeah, there's one more health insurance. Yeah. So trying to figure out new things. Exactly. So if there's a spreadsheet, I want it to be less boring than last time or a new thing. So if I learn real estate or whatever, it's still gonna be Excel, but when it's like more tangible or has more of a benefit, versus just rich people trading money.
(16:54) Mm-hmm. , you can, it's all gonna be eventually numbers in a spreadsheet. Uh, I would at least want it to be like something cool like a video game company where all the people who work there are cool. But why don't you just make up video game inside of a Google sheet? Inside of an Excel sheet? That's what I'm doing now with my new thing, uh, which I'm gonna be trying to do, so mm-hmm.
(17:15) I'm, it's not really an escape room, it's more like, um, not a murder mystery, more like just a crime mystery, cuz I want it to be palatable to like 13 plus. So it can't be scary. It can't, cuz I even had to go through all this COPPA training, child online protection things just in case I wanted to, because I don't know who would wanna do a game in Excel where it's like a story.
(17:38) Mm-hmm with AI generated art of escape rooms and stuff like that. But like, basically you're in a room, there's a grided wall, you gotta solve this thing. And where you teach how to use Excel in order to solve it rather than. Some invoicing issue or whatever. The boring thing that I'm used to teaching is cause I was like, how do I make it fun? Plus I'm doing a lot of mid journey AI artwork.
(18:00) I just hit 20,000 images yesterday I think, which is just a lot of doing that. So I've been generating tons of, uh, little escape room type of things or like board game pieces or like art could be layered to, right now my main line quest is the queen's diamonds have been stolen. So I feel like that's relatively tame.
(18:25) Yeah. Versus an escape roomer, you could be trapped with it. You can like, you know, you come up with a sum formula to sum up some things and then maybe the answer brings 'em to a time machine that takes 'em to the, to another planet. I mean, you can do anything with AI art. So like it's really weeping the storytelling piece with the training cuz I'm so just so bored teaching Excel the same old way.
(18:48) You know, I'm trying to figure out. how to make it better. Well, you do the same thing that I do, which is you have a lot of free resources and you have paid resources. Right. Mostly free. I don't really even, I'm like, by the way, there's this paid stuff, but I barely even tell you. For the first eight years, it was all free.
(19:03) I paid to, there was no ads. Mm-hmm. , there's no way to pay me. And I had to pay to teach it. And then there's like maybe 4 million people or something that visited my site over that time. I was like, I really should probably monetize this also. It's decreasing now. So I definitely should have done it earlier, but you get the point.
(19:20) So I'm not like, what makes you not want to charge? Because I, I've gone through this process myself of like not charging or charging too low. Uh, I sell my course at a lifetime deal and I'm only now Well, that's cause we're app has, I think is what it is, right? You must be if you're, hmm.
(19:38) If you're in there. So how much have you spent on AppSumo? Do you know? How much have I spent or have? How much have I made? How much have you spent? I, I have no idea how much I've made. I've only spent spent, I've spent like 12 grand at least on Absu myself, so Oh yeah. Probably got 180 different, like under 50 bucks.
(19:56) How can you spend 12 grand? That's a lot of 180 tools or something like that. Some of them. Oh my god. I fully stacked, like my podcasting. Oh yeah. Whatever. Stacked stuff. Yeah. Lifetime deals. I'm an addict is like a forever. Sure. I paid that much, but it was like over time, it was over many years. Yeah.
(20:13) I, and so it's forever. I've only bought like Restream Restream in one of them Brain fm like in 2016 or something. I bought it. Yeah. And then since then, you know, like one n fm, it's pretty dope that like some of the stuff, I got this thing I don't use called Mar Pipe, it's like $3,000 a month or something like that.
(20:31) Now I'm like, wow, I paid $69 one time. So that feels good. Even though I don't use it. Oh, I, I, sorry. I also pay for the I, it's so funny. AppSumo. Sells lifetime deals, but they also sell their yearly plus membership. Yeah. So I think I paid like $99, um, a year for that. So they used to have a briefcase if you Yeah, that was, it was like a quarterly and I had like five accounts at least simultaneously cuz there's like, if I was gonna spend money on there anyways, they're automatically,
(21:02) why not Gave you like 10% off. Plus when they a was it like you had the briefcase plus you had a membership so you could get Yeah. 10% plus, 10% off. So what they did was every quarter you'd get a, you'd spend 150 bucks but you'd get $200 in credit. Ah. So it would be like, I'd save 50 bucks times however many accounts per quarter if I was gonna spend it anyways.
(21:24) Cause I was a weirdo. Mm-hmm. . But yeah. So I think the reason to your main point of why didn't we charge money or why were we so, uh, scared to charge money. I think first of all, we started teaching people lot of necessity not for money. So I think mm-hmm. , part of it for me was like, do is my way of teaching useful to people? is it, uh, worth paying for? Am I any good at it or should I get better at it? First than charge, but also, so mine started as a part of University of Reddit, which is no longer a thing, but at the time they were like,
(21:56) not Reddit officially, but like you reddit.com, which is now defunct. And then everybody's email stopped working all it, all of a sudden one day for that. But, uh, basically there was like no Excel course. I was like, okay, cool. I'll teach the Excel course, but I'm gonna put it on my own site so I don't have to deal with, it was probably just a pain in the ass to put on theirs, but then I didn't realize it would be, uh, what saved me.
(22:17) But, so it started out as a free thing cause all those were free. And then, I don't know, I didn't really like putting anything in the way of people watching stuff. So it's like an ad. I'm like, uh, it's gonna, I'm gonna lose some people here. And if I'm getting, if I'm working like a full-time job or I'm getting more money, then I could justify like thinking about making in the side thing.
(22:39) I didn't really wanna monetize it cuz like for me, creativity and money, when you turn a hobby into a job, it just becomes less creative, less fulfilling. Even my podcast has nothing to do with Excel. It's about failure. There's no overlap between the two markets. I, I start monetizing my, I'm like, okay, I'm gonna make a podcast completely unrelated to it and not even put an ad on it for my Excel site.
(23:06) Mm-hmm for like the first 30 episodes and then I'll put something at the end of it. It's like the stupidest way to do . Anything in terms of monetization. But that's a good hobby. I wanna like know what I got before I start to put money into it. So money gets involved. It gets weird. My creativity gets weirder and like stunted.
(23:25) Cuz I think just, I've had so many weird relationships with money growing up and also working with money. I would joke that I don't like to take my li my job home with me. So I didn't financially plan my own life. That's why. , you might spend 12 grand on AppSumo, for example, or whatever.
(23:40) Uh, and I could get away with it by saying, well, it's, you know, I'm tapped out on finances by the time I get home. I don't want to think about it. But yeah, it's really just, cuz when it's someone else's money, it's easy to tell them what to do. When it's my money, I'm like, oh, I can do it anything I want.
(23:56) You know, you can do anything I want. Which is not, that's funny. You don't bring your work home with you . Yeah. So I did all the free training. And then Did you, did you have like a, I basically feel like I had two versions of, of my thing, which is like all the free stuff I did at the beginning, which was like Excel 2010.
(24:15) And then I was like, eventually this is getting outdated. So when I did my paid thing, it was like in the newest version, I guess Google Shoots was always online. It was just, yeah, there's never a second version. It's just a new UI or not even new ui. It's like incremental changes. Mm-hmm. .
(24:38) So where I made a four video course for App Script to like just get people started on learning app script and I think a year later they changed the UI but they didn't actually change the ui. They just changed where the button was from tools, app scripts to extensions app script and it confused the hell out of people. Literally, people were like, whoever made that one choice over here was like, I really would like it to be here, like at Google, who actually decided to where the things go.
(25:05) There's probably like an argument at the. No, it should be under extensions. It should be under tools or whatever. And then your whole, your whole life is made worse over the fact that, but it wasn't made worse because it, they didn't change the fundamental things that I said. It's just that one entry, but it screwed people up.
(25:22) They were like, beyond belief. They were like, I can't use this course cuz I don't know where to go. I'm like, could you not just like figure it out? , I cannot. One thing, like the course is fine. It's still the, it's just principles. It's just like the idea of coding just get to the place.
(25:41) And I made like the fundamental mistake of just not rerecording the videos for another year. Just like I, because the fundamental stuff is the same. Why would I redo it? We know that, but people are like UI difference. People want the simple people don't even wanna be in it, first of all. Mm-hmm. , like Excel people.
(26:04) Bored. Like when I say the word, they're like halfway asleep in, in the middle of the word. I'm like, come on, let's, are we gonna get excited here? I'm not. I don't know if I can do it, but you know, we can all do it. But I think the thing is like the more difficult it is. So like I recently worked with the company.
(26:20) After I started working with 'em, I realized they were all on Max and I'm like, uhoh, uhoh, I don't really know anything about how this works on a Mac. So then after time I'm trending them, I'm like, can you just show me your screen and I'll try to figure out where that option is? Because unlike Google Sheets, the Mac and PC E versions of, of Accelerator, like wildly different.
(26:39) And also I don't even know how to use the Mac really to be honest. So I was like, oh, are you saying like conditional formatting, all these things born not even in the same place, even remotely. So I just tell people if they have a Mac, like don't, don't buy the course. Probably don't. But also once I like start teaching them, I'm like, damn, this is like crazy difference that happened to me too.
(26:57) So, , you're talking about, you're creating your Excel escape room and game. I created escape spreadsheet. Hell, which is, oh yeah, I saw that at the top of your LinkedIn thing. Yeah. That's cool. It's just three levels. It, you can do the whole thing in five to 10 minutes. Mm-hmm. , and it just teaches you three keyboard shortcuts.
(27:16) It teaches you three keyboard shortcuts for Max. And I just didn't reference at all PCs in any way. And literally people are complaining how to do this, how can I do this? What, this doesn't work for me. I'm like, yeah, sorry. I, I, so I only like, after six months or something did I add like for Max only, like, cause was like, oh, sorry, doesn't it suck that like most of the time people reach out when they have a problem and not to say, Hey, it's, this is amazing.
(27:45) What you're doing is fantastic. I get, I get it all. But what are you mostly, I mean, at least in my experience, the loudest people are the ones who, and I don't even like, No interact that much for the people who buy my course. But like, I guess the point is I until I did a giveaway where I was like, Hey, can you just give like me feedback on what you, what this did for you? It doesn't have to be a review, I'm just saying like, email me anything about whether you liked it or not.
(28:12) And then there's like a Logitech craft keyboard thing that I was giving away with that had like a little dial that it had some Excel functionality. It was not good. I mean like it was not use useful to have a, a whole nooby just to control certain Excel features and stuff. But either way, they gave it to me to try out and I gave some aways, like a thing and I was like, just say something about how it's impacted you.
(28:33) Cuz so many people don't interact with the creators and anyway. But
usually if, if they have a problem, they will more likely do that than if they've enjoyed it. Mm-hmm. , I feel like, well maybe you're just getting luck. Uh, maybe I just suck at doing what I'm doing. But also maybe you just get lucky and have people reach out and say, no, I don't think it's luck.
(28:52) I mean, I actively ask. every member email me anytime. But I do that Did one, I did one thing different I think, than you did, which fundamentally has changed everything about my business is that when I start better, so I do give away a lot of stuff for free. I have videos on YouTube, I have free templates, free sheets.
(29:15) I give a lot of webinars for free. But fundamentally, if you wanna become a member, you have to pay. I've bought on AB Better sheets. Yes, I've bought your course. So meaning, and I have your email. I got an email today about open AI or whatever the hell you sent. Mm-hmm. .
(29:34) So like meaning I do get your stuff, but also I don't really do much Google Sheets stuff except for I keep my whole app, Sumo list of things I bought in Google Sheets, which is funny. It's like one of the main, the second person cases of it. . Really? Yeah. Someone else, uh, who joined one of my workshops last year. He was like trying, he was trying to come up with like a sheet to sell and then half like we, we were chatting and he is like, oh, by the way, I have all of my uh, buys in this Google sheet, and like, it's really useful and I want to add this one thing.
(30:02) And I was like, oh, I helped him with like add one thing to it. And he is like, oh, someone else wants this. I was like, you should just sell this on AppSumo. People are asking for it. He literally like shared it in some group and someone was like, oh, can I use that too? Like people buy a ton of stuff on AppSumo and need to keep track of it.
(30:20) Yep. Better sheets. So I just wanna see, so I've got software and it's got the Linked AppSumo says Google Sheets training. So fundamentally though, this gum road, is that what it was? Yeah, I, I, I sold through Gum Road used to, yeah, $19. How about that? Whatever. Yeah. I started at $19. No, I actually didn't start at $19.
(30:41) The, when I launched it on April 3rd, 2020, it was $30 a bunch of mm-hmm. , not a bunch of people, like 13 people bought it that, um, in a month. And then when I went to AppSumo, because AppSumo was a deal place, I had to give a deal, so I lowered it to 19. But then I had already made like some, I, I'm gonna say like 50 videos I think in a month or two.
(31:05) Mm-hmm. . And so I was like, oh, I'll just charge a dollar per, just under a dollar per video. So I increased the price to $49, but on AppSumo I lowered it to 19 cuz it had to be a deal I thought. Yeah. Um, My course is in nap soon too. Don't try to tell people sorry. I'm sure just like you maybe struggle with whether or not you wanna tell people that you're still in.
(31:27) Cause my course, I'm pretty sure is still on nap soon. Well, oh, and it's funny, I say pretty sure because obviously it's not selling that much if I don't know. But um mm-hmm. , I don't direct people there cuz it's obviously much cheaper. But I still did the lifetime deal thing, my site just like you do, right? Yeah.
(31:41) But I, I wonder if that's an app mindset or if you did the lifetime deal thing before you even heard about it through AppSumo. Cuz that's the reason probably why I did a lifetime deal because of Smo because I bought so much s Yeah. I was like, I wanna do, I wanna, if it guides me to buy so much stuff, maybe it'll get, it'll work for somebody else rather than the subscription.
(32:02) Cause I have both subscription and Lifetime, but the subscription's like a third or a fourth of the lifetime. So it's like, yeah. And, and only now recently have I been really gung-ho on increasing the price because I'm. I've been full-time on it now for a while and just like I want to keep, I want both the motivation to increase the price, but I also want the price to motivate me to make more so, so I make more tools, make more things.
(32:31) I want to increase the price and then when I increase the price, I wanna make more things to like make it valuable. Okay. This is interesting cuz So when I was making my course in order to get myself to actually make the thing, I was like okay, I'm gonna give it away for $50 and I'm gonna go up to 200 and once it's launched, so if the longer I take it to launch all the videos, the longer people are getting the cheaper deal.
(32:53) So the sooner I finish this thing, the sooner it goes up to the full price. Cuz then the whole course will be launched. But as I was building it, I'm like, Hey, it's $50 now cuz it's not done even yet. So, you know, you'll be seeing it as it's made and I'm like every, it would at least try to motivate me to be done with it so that I could sell it for the higher price or trying to trick myself to be productive.
(33:14) And also, uh, it's tough cause money's not a big motivator for me, even though I'm like, just cuz I think for so long working on corporate finance and like all the money that's involved, I'm just like, money's all around you. Can't, we just, uh, forget about money forever. No.
(33:30) My landlord doesn't want to forget about money. Yeah. Unfortunately grocery store, they don't forget about money. Yeah. I there are certain grocery stores that forget about money. You, you absolutely can. That's like actually sort of part of my motivation is like, why not risk it all? Like why not do something weird, crazy fun, interesting.
(33:49) Because like, there is a social construct that we can always fall down to a pretty high level. Like we're not destitute, we're not living, I mean I'm, I've been traveling and, and been in third world countries, which do have much, much lower. Status is that you can fall down to standard living or whatever you call family.
(34:12) You can, there's a lot of privilege Yeah. That we can have. So like, yeah. It's funny cuz No, no, I didn't even tell anybody that I was fired from my jobs, even myself, honestly, until the fifth one. Uh, because I, you know, in interviews you, they wouldn't say we fired this guy. They'd say, he worked from here to here and this is how much he got.
(34:33) So I could come up with whatever fictional tale that I'd be telling them. And then I would also be telling myself in the same moment. And then after the fifth one I was like, man, these are all, let me think about it. Yep. All one person firings, or I think kbmg, they asked me to resign or some stupid stuff.
(34:51) But either way, basically they were, they were like, you can't work here anymore and you're the one person that we're talking this to at this moment. So see you later. I'm like, okay, well maybe I should like figure out what's going on and why. Cuz what I would do is, Not get good at the corporate politics, just get better at the software.
(35:09) So I'm like, I just keep getting better at the software. I'll skirt my way around all the red tape and all of the back stuff. You don't with the red tape, I mean, with Excel exposure, you can just be the corporate. Well, yeah, but before I was, I was recording them. The first video was, I was recording after hours of work on like a little tiny headset.
(35:30) Yeah. I hear like the ambulance go by in the background and stuff, so there's all sorts of terrible, you know, things with what I was doing, but I was just trying to figure it out. But, uh, for me it was like trying to, so you have this similar thing where you have to forget what you know and then try to figure out how you'd tell yourself mm-hmm.
(35:49) if you didn't know it, like you have the am amnesia and then figure out how you'd teach that to somebody because then mm-hmm. , I had like a first round of it where I just like taught random stuff in random order, didn't really plan it all out. And then my newest course, I have a. cheat code. Mm-hmm.
(36:05) , C O D e and like each one is a thing, a part of a module. But the e is like the error proofing and the explanation you were ta saying earlier when like that person had to bring eight people into their spreadsheet, no one knows what's going on, but you're living and breathing in your spreadsheet so you're like, well duh, you just go here and do this or whatever.
(36:22) And you really have to figure out how to explain it to someone else cuz they don't know they're looking at it like for the first time. Oh, I don't know. I feel like I don't want to figure it out, so I don't, I just keep doing it. So I f I realized this is a weird, uh, good thing in recent, I only recently figured this out, is like, I will just do something and I'll push it out and publish it even if it's quote unquote not finished.
(36:48) Whereas a lot of people will have that analysis paralysis, like you said, it has to be done until, and then I can put it out. Mm-hmm. like perfectionism type of thing. Yeah. Right. It's like perfectionism. You're saying that you got the ship it mode, you, you call it perfectionism, but it's not actually perfect.
(37:04) It it, yes. You call it that as an excu. It's so weird. It's like a, it needs to be perfect, so, but it'll never be perfect, so you'll never be able to put it out. Yeah. And I, it just takes you a bunch of times. Uh, for me, it took me a bunch of times realizing, okay, I'm never gonna do it.
(37:16) Right. But yeah, I try to even teach, when I teach my first thing. I don't even go into Excel. I'm just like conceptually talking about everything. That's great. I use GPS roadmaps, all sorts of weird examples of a puzzle with no picture on it. All sorts of things that have nothing to do with Excel.
(37:31) Cause I don't wanna lose everybody. Mm-hmm. immediately in the Excel. I'm like, I can do like an hour long. Oh. Then what I, this is a weird tangent, but what might happen is you might have people leaving because they don't know if it's Excel or not. I, I, I had this problem myself is I would try to go to like a whiteboard and try to explain something, but people, I would lose people because they're like, I, I just want the cheats.
(37:53) Problem solved. What is, I don't want a whiteboard, like I have a whole, I have a four four quote unquote video course about dashboards. Mm-hmm. That I could do just audio only because it's like a concepts of dashboards. Yeah. And I lost a ton of people because I was like, this is great information.
(38:11) Like this is what the concept you need to have when you go and make every single dashboard. Your dashboards will be better after you watch this. Undoubtedly. But it, it doesn't click to them that it's about Google Sheets cuz they don't see it. Yeah. So, well my thing was idiotically, I was doing a lot of this is pre covid in-person networking and so I was like, I'll do a thing at the Microsoft store at the mall and I'll tell everyone and their mother about it for like a month and a half.
(38:40) And I thought I did enough promoting of it, day of the thing. One person shows up and then one Microsoft employee from the store that started, two people that I teach. Mm-hmm. for this whole time of me planning this whole big thing. Which, so who knows if it got to them anyways, but at least it was only two people.
(38:57) And I hired a video guy to come videotape me teaching two people . It was ridiculous. Um, yeah, that's come on. And I'm like, why am I doing this? I got all these people online. Why am I even in, in person? Why am we even trying this? I love it in person. That's my background is theater and improv.
(39:12) And I love in-person because like, it's actually one person, audiences are way tougher than like 50 people. I can stand in front of 50 people and talk all day. It is so hard for me to sit, stand in front of one person and give them this life. Imagine promoting it for a month and a half and then not, not realizing it's gonna be one person, then it's one person and the employee.
(39:36) I'm like, that's much harder. I did so much networking about, this is the crazy thing about that is. if you can sit in front of one person and, and do as well of a job of like communicating to them what you're trying, like tr one information transfer, but two, like transformational, like mm-hmm.
(39:55) , uh, it's not just like, Hey, I know this and I'm gonna tell you this, like a lecture, but like, explain it to them and have them involved. Then you are going to be an amazing on camera person because a camera's only one person, right? The camera, you have to put all your energy right into the camera.
(40:11) But a theater, you can, you can, uh, express, uh, broadcast basically it's different. No, I think so. My thing was before covid, I didn't have a beard, so I was never on camera. Basically, all my stuff is like screen recordings cause mm-hmm. , the beard was the trick. Anybody out there who wants to be at all good? You can see we both have beards, no .
(40:37) So clearly it's, it's a hundred percent success rate with the two of us that if you at least. Girl, beard, man, woman, doesn't matter. Put a beard on. And then I'm pretty sure it's like a protective shield now. I feel like I could go on video like Power Bi, but Power Beard, right? Yeah. And then, um, basically now I feel like I could go on video before I looked like Mr.
(40:56) Clean without the muscles, and it would like, it wasn't working for me. And so now with the beard, I feel like a different person. I could do more things. But in my old one, there's maybe like a, a picture of me in a slide. Mm-hmm. . But there's no me, I was like, who cares who I am? I'm just teaching Excel.
(41:13) Why didn't they give you, you know, who cares? I don't, I don't know if you've found this out, everybody. I, I, uh, I totally walked into this backwards, but I use Loom to record my videos where I have a little video of myself in there. People, yeah. Still haven't done that. People tell me that, that is so helpful because if it's just a screen recording, it's so easy to turn it off.
(41:35) But if it's someone's face, , they really feel much more connected to it. And people have told me that they, they ask me questions while watching a video of mine. And then, so I, I'm gonna, I already know I have to go through and re basically do it. So either I'm pretending to do it or that's gonna be way harder than just doing it.
(41:57) No, just do it in a little, just do it cuz it's a screen. I'm saying it's already done, so I'm not gonna like, do it again. Doesn't, I know that's what I'm saying is I'm gonna just do it again, is all I'm gonna do. But that's just such a pain in the ass. Just so that I'm there in the corner.
(42:08) But I know, I agree. It's, it's something that's important, but I I, it just seems ridiculous. People tell me this, but then it happened to me too. I didn't mm-hmm. believe them until it happened to me. I was wa So I'll ask members, just email me anytime and then somebody will email me a.
(42:26) Paragraphs and I'm like, can you just show me an A Loom video? Like one minute Loom video? Just show me around your sheet. Tell me what you're doing. People will do that. I'll watch the Loom video and I'll start answering them as if we're on a call and I'm like, oh, . Oh Jesus. I'm like, alone.
(42:41) Tell yourself scared Yeah. Uh, I don't know. I, I never thought so back in the day when I started, I don't know. When did you start? 2020? Yeah. I started the Better Sheets at, uh, 2020 April, 2020. So I was like 2012. Mm-hmm. .
(43:00) And again, I went eight years without monetizing, so we probably monetized around the same time, but I was like, when I started it was basically like people who were rambling too much about their life story and not teaching enough of this stuff. And so I was just, Mine's gonna be, just get down to the thing. Mm-hmm. also, who cares if it's me, but also Noah Penni in India that like most of the videos were like some Indian dude slowly talking through the video and saying a lot about his life story.
(43:22) Mm-hmm. , that was a lot of the competition I had back then. So I was like, I'm just gonna make something. That to me is a way to teach this one thing, whether it's the beginners introduction or like whatever, some kind of mm-hmm. like shortcut, cheat sheet, then type of thing. But then, um, I realize I gotta put more structure to it, but now I realize I gotta be in all of these stupid things in order for it to be more accessible.
(43:43) Meaning like, I guess I know, I mean, there's so many things with YouTubers I do, but they're not as good. You were just saying you were. Well, so like when you watch a video learn, like when I have to learn, like how to record a video or whatever, and I'm looking at an Adobe audition thing for podcasting, I'm like looking at how they're teaching me and whether I like it or not.
(44:02) do you do the same thing when you're trying to digest info? There's there's so many ways to do it, man. I, I mean, there are just unlimited ways to teach. Um, what's your favorite way to learn, though? Well, my, I mean, it's such a weird way to, I learn, I, I learn be if I, I, well here, speaking of, of Great Indians, I learn everything from Labinol.
(44:23) Did you, did you ever watch Labinol videos or read labinol blogs? Labinol, no. He, he runs digital inspiration.com now, but it's still lab A no l.org. That guy is the best ever. Inspiration. Was that the wallpaper? No. Digital inspiration. He's a bunch of tool Google Sheet, add on that digital blasphemy.
(44:46) Did you ever use that? That's what I'm thinking of. Blasphemy. Digital Blasphemy was like a wallpaper site with like 3D wallpaper. Forget about it. Let's go back to the thing you were talking about. Labinol and digital inspiration. Okay. Yeah, I mean, I, what I did is how I learned every, everything that I know now, I learned by, like, I had this other problem.
(45:04) I had a thing that I needed to do, and it just so happened to be done, done in, in Google Sheets, and it just so happened we were working in app script. Like, oh, ABS script was the answer to this other problem. It wasn't like I'm learning abs script and now I go find all this stuff about ABS script have a problem and I have to solve that problem.
(45:22) Here's how dumb my thing is. So, but by the way, bought your thing, never did it. Never learned it. Uh, and then yesterday I was like, oh yeah, I'm gonna talk to, uh, this guy, Andrew does this Google Shoots thing, talking to my other friend who's just a programmer type of guy. I'm like, there's no macros, right? Uh, that's what my understanding was.
(45:38) There's no, there's no macros. He's like, there are, I'm like, is that an asterisk on that? Yes, because like, is it not VBA a if it's not VBA, then it's not really a yes. It's more like it's a yes. But you gotta learn this whole other thing that isn't the thing, you know, we can probably figure out how to translate it, but I was like, is it as, is it VBA in, is it the same thing if I took my macro and pasted it into Google? Probably is a no.
(46:02) So my point was, for every other regular person who doesn't really even know what a macro is, that's a huge difference between functionality. So I'm like, I've always just thought they don't have macros. So when you talk about all this app script stuff, it's more. How to get at like macros to work in Google Sheets, but just a different macro Java scripts or something.
(47:08) Gotcha. So you're saying basically, I mean, cuz I know for the most part, as far as I know, Google Screen just tried to mimic the functionality of Excel. So that it least you when you upload a workbook and stuff, it's still work the way you'd think except for probably macros is where I ran into the issue because it wouldn't translate that for you.
(47:44) The, I don't know. The point is like high level thinking, we're talking about stuff that like only we would think about. Cuz I usually don't need to be, I'm gonna do something, I'll be in Excel, you'll be in Sheets, we'll be in our own little worlds and then, I don't know when those worlds collide, but it's usually probably when it needs to be very shareable that when go to Sheets, no, , if I'm, I'm really simplifying it cuz I don't know when I should go to Sheets.
(48:09) You could probably tell. I wanna tell you my biggest. Pet peeve of running a Google Sheets business please, is um, people will ask me a question and they will not say in my sheet, they'll say in Excel, they'll ask me a Google Sheets person who teaches Google Sheets, a question about Excel, and then I read the whole question or like, it, it's happened on like a couple webinars, so it's live.
(48:37) They're like, oh, in Excel, you do this, or my Excel sheet, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, I don't know Excel. I mean, I, it's spreadsheets. Yeah. Just like I said, I don't know if Google Sheets, I mean, I could figure it out, but I'm, if we're talking about Google Sheets, it's a whole different thing to me.
(48:52) I ask them, I'm like, I'm, I'm sorry, but I, I, I don't know if I can answer your question cuz you're asking about Excel and they're like, no, no, no, it's Google Sheets. I just said Excel. Like as if it was like a Kleenex versus a Kleenex. Yeah. A Xerox, that type of thing. Yeah, exactly.
(49:07) A Xerox versus copier thing. So one. Okay. Yeah, that must be frustrating. I never get the opposite version where they say a hundred percent and Google Sheets. There's no way you can get the opposite. There's no way someone will say, say like, name people mean Excel when they mean Excel a great value brand.
(49:23) Kleenex or whatever tissue. Yeah. Yeah. No one does the other way around. But uh, I just wanna say one thing that I learned, cause I don't know if you know this. I imagine you don't cuz you're not a big Excel guy. I didn't know it until maybe a year or two ago and I was like, this is the first thing I learned in a while that like, was like, whoa, that's new stuff for me.
(49:43) So when they went from XLS to XLS X I had no idea what the hell the point of that was. I don't know if you know what the point of that was, but apparently that was when they went from a proprietary thing, XLS was like their own Microsoft thing that no one knew. behind the curtain, how it worked. And then we went to XL X, it became all XML format so that anyone else could open it up in.
(50:08) Then you don't have to open it up in Excel. You can actually build an Excel spreadsheet in XML without ever touching Excel, and someone can open it up in Excel. Cause I know someone who makes it, uh, thing that does that, like sports things. And he, I'm like, how'd you build this? There's no formatting and stuff.
(50:23) And he's like, oh, I did it an X amount. I'm like, what are you talking about? What is happening? What do you mean you didn't even open Excel? Like, no, you just do all this other stuff. I'm like, what? So, and was like, my head is exploding. And I'm like, okay, I didn't even wanna think about all this, but I didn't, I just thought it was annoying.
(50:40) File name change. I didn't know there was a whole underlying structural thing where like, it was basically like going from closed source to open source with the, that's way that you could like, poke under the hood, you know? Um, but that's why that, that makes sense then why a Google sheet can be exported or downloaded as a X L X XLS X.
(50:59) . So it's just an XML file, is it only that? Yeah, it's just an, can you do it as xls? I think you can also download it in XLS too. I don't know, but, but here's, here's a weird thing that a lot of people get in, um, mixed up with and it hurts. There's no xls as I can see when you say download.
(51:20) Um, if you do, okay, so at the end of the R URL you can do slash export. Um, oh yeah, you're probably right. Question mark. Format equals, I think you can do both. X, Excel S and XL S X. Well, I was wondering is if they could recreate the xls if it was a proprietary. I was wondering if they couldn't actually make those based on what I just said, but who knows? Cuz I'm like translating from someone who knows way more than I do.
(51:43) But here, here's a weird thing that happens. So Excel files, you can drop into Google. and then you can open it in Google Sheets. But this messes up a lot of people because my God, what they'll do is they'll open it up as an Excel file in Google Sheets and it'll say like at the top it'll have a little icon that says like, Excel, XLS X, and then they can't use Google Sheets functions like Share or like Uhhuh you have to import, right? Is that what you're gonna do? Hmm.
(52:14) You have to import. Oh no, you just have to open, you just have to convert it to a G Sheet file. But PE But it like the way that Google does it, it makes it so easy to drop in a file and open it as an, as an Excel file in Google Sheets. So it looks like it. It should act like a goo, it should be a Google sheet, but you have to do, well, it's like a shell or something on top kind of thing.
(52:36) So annoying. Cause I get these questions all the time. Like I'll get a screenshot of a sheet and they're like, this button is grayed out. I can't use it. And I'm like, You don't know, like, and I, it, it took me so long to figure out, oh, it's an because cuz they'll take a screenshot only of the little area.
(52:53) They won't show mm-hmm. the file name with the Excel thing. They won't, there won't, there'll be a ton of context that, that it is an Excel file. Oh. I dropped in, in an sheet sheet. They'll never say any of that. They'll just like, of course. Yeah. It's amazing how much people don't think about how hard it's to explain or understand an issue or whatever.
(53:14) Unless you get, like, especially when you have deep knowledge like we do when we're like trying to figure out, okay, it might be eight different things that are wrong. Let me see which one it is. And then they're like, didn't tell you the dumb thing that is totally unrelated to all those eight things and you're like, oh.
(53:25) It's like a basic thing from the beginning. Like, it's really hard to know how people are gonna come at you with a problem. Or even like when I was making like an intake form at the health insurance place for people to input stuff. Mm-hmm. , you don't think they're gonna put Tex into a number field? Why would you think they'd put Tex into a number field? You'd never think that, but of course they're gonna.
(53:44) I love it. And then it breaks. Yeah. I just have a break and say, go talk to Ben because it broke. And then I make a thing that doesn't break that way, and then I give 'em a new version. But it's like you can't predict on all the ways people are gonna break things. Mm-hmm. unless they start doing this.
(53:59) So like, even when they come with troubleshooting problems, it's like they explain it poorly or they just don't give you all the info. So it can be tough when you don't know, like, uh, what version of something they're in. For me, not for you. I, I, I like it because of a couple things. It's job security one.
(54:15) It's like, here's this AI revolution coming in. You can ask a chat two PT any question you want, and it'll give you an answer, but mm-hmm. the answer is based on the question you give it. So like, if somebody goes to chat t p t and asks a question, they ask me chat. G p t will literally not ask follow-up questions.
(54:33) They will literally not know what context to ask for. Uh, Yeah, but maybe AI will get better at that. Maybe AI will have topical ai. Like sort of think I've seen that in, in in chat PT myself or at least cuz like if you tell it Yeah. Different things. Pretend you're a standup comedian with 30 years of experience, uh, it will then take on that persona and it will not budge as much from that as if you told it right.
(55:02) You're a business development manager for 30 years. I've heard people say 500 years of experience. I don't know what that does. When you say like 500 years of experience is something that's only 10 years old. You're right. It'll give it a, uh, context to stay within. Yeah. But, but think about this is like the second part of this thing that I like, these, these crazy questions like the crazier, the better is it gives my mind like a gap to fill or like an opportunity.
(55:30) The edge case where you can figure out that weird thing that. Makes it click. Yeah. And then it, I had this, okay, here I had the, here's an actual example so I don't have to talk in circles. Someone asked me, they're like, I, I, I've hired freelancers, or like VAs or something. And what they're doing with my sheets is they keep adding more tabs and renaming them.
(55:51) And then when I get back the sheet, it, like, the data that they're supposed to do is on the wrong tab, or it's a, it's a name sheet that I don't know mm-hmm. . And I don't want them to be able to do that. And so I was like, okay, that's a, that seems like a very specific issue. like, yeah, first off, you should just have like a first instruction to your va.
(56:13) Do not add another tab. Second instruction. Do not rename any tabs. Third, protect the cell. Like there's things already that. You can protect these things. Mm-hmm. But mm-hmm. Don't give them edit access to the sheet. Yes. Get, get the information through a form. There's so many other things. But this guy also don't do a documentation thing.
(56:31) They don't just do they give it to them and then talk to 'em about it or whatever. Yeah. Yeah. But I, but I was like so interested in this one weird case in the video that I even made, cuz I made it for members to be like, here's is a weird thing that someone's doing. I literally said that like, I don't know why you would need to do this, but here's how you would do it.
(56:47) And I wrote an app script that if you added a tab, it would delete it immediately. If it was not on a list of, of like whitelisted tabs to tabs. That's cool. So, so you could not, you could add a tab, you could go through the machinations, add a tab, rename it. But if it's named differently, it would delete it than what's on this like, list of tabs that are predetermined.
(57:09) Do you know, do you know Jordan Golder at all? Never heard the name. He's an Excel guy. Okay. I had him on my podcast, but he. . I saw him doing this thing on LinkedIn one day where he's just like, I'm gonna spend 15 minutes live solving some random VBA problem where they wanted a button to scroll with the scroll bar, like as he scrolls down the button, scrolls with it.
(57:30) And I'm like, I don't even know what you, I, I was like semi-interested with the first bit of it, and I was like, well, I'm never gonna need this. I'm not gonna watch it. But I think that idea of like solving something that has no use to you, but to try to flex the muscle of your brain to figure out how could I solve this thing? What are the, like parameters that I can use to, to make sure that it works for these people going forward? So like your, your solution was a whitelist label of approved sheets.
(58:00) . I don't know if it references, like if they change the name of a sheet, if it updates. Oh yeah. I ran into that. If if it, if you change the name of the sheet, he immediately deletes it. I was like, oh, probably you don't wanna, that's my point. I can already think through just like we were doing, like some of the weird things that'll happen.
(58:14) Like what are they, what happens when they do this or that? But then it's like, it's good cuz you just get more ideas for how to handle a problem different. I think a lot of people just don't like problem solving in that way. Well I literally made a video where I talk about how, like this, I don't know where you would use this thing.
(58:30) I don't know why you would ever use this, but like, here's what you would do it. And then a week later, maybe even less than a week later, I wanted to do a new project and I used exactly that thing. I was like, oh, I can use that right now. It's a trick. I've got a little tool in my toolbox.
(58:46) Yeah. Oh my God. Immediately became useful but like useful in like a very joking way. I have like a thing coming out, a a thing that I'm gonna release. I don't wanna say it yet because it's a surprise. Um, oh, surprise thing. A surprise thing. And it needed this, like, to be able to delete a tab, basically, I figured out a way reason for you never to have to add tabs to a sheet.
(59:10) It's so stupid. It's good though. I know. I mean, I've done the same thing. So here's one example. I spent a whole night when I worked for the Rockman company. They wouldn't let me do it at work. I was like, , uh, every time you change anything in this whole model, I'm gonna go up to date, a 52 page PowerPoint, uh, with all the new numbers every time.
(59:27) And no matter what, I can't not have to spend four hours copying and pacing ranges into PowerPoint. So I spent all night long making the VBA macro that went through a list of slides and had the area where the thing was the name range that it would copy. I had to learn how to PowerPoint vva worked. Mm-hmm.
(59:47) . I could then bring it in there and put it in there. Took a whole, I spent, I remember I stayed up a whole Sunday night. I didn't sleep at all. I went to work the next day and the next day I came in and I was like, okay. Every time they asked me to update anything, I'm gonna tell 'em it's four hours.
(59:59) I hit my 10 minute macro and then I screw off for three hours and 50 minutes cuz there's no chance I'm gonna do it on my own. If you want, let me automate this on work time. Once I do, it's still gonna be whatever you think it was forever because I'm, that's the thing I learned mostly is like, you don't get to keep the time you saved.
(1:00:18) It's 40 hours a week no matter what you do. Yeah. As far as I could tell, even if your boss who's paid more takes them seven hours, they give it to you and you take, make it take 15 minutes, they're gonna give you six hours and 45 minutes worth of stuff. Even though they were paying someone else more money to do seven hours worth of it.
(1:00:33) It's like there's no logic there because they don't understand the complexity or like how difficult love is. But I've been fired from a lot of jobs and they'd be like, can you train the next person on your model at least? And um, and they're like, this is amazing. Why, why did they fire you? I'm like, I don't know, but uh, this is the model And sometimes they'd be like, this is the best budget we've ever seen.
(1:00:57) But at the same time, like, yeah, I dunno, maybe I just can't handle, uh, like moronic leadership that doesn't do what you, I'm like, come on, I'm not gonna do this manually every day when we could fix it. And they're like, nah, just do it manually. That's what happened to me. So early on, I thought I would save people time because I was like writing app script.
(1:01:17) I was, I had a bunch of best practices. Yeah. When I created better sheets, I was like, oh, here's a bunch of stuff you can do to make things, uh, easier, faster. But I had to stop saying that because I was like, exactly what you said. If you save eight hours out of your nine hour day or you save five hours out of your eight hour day, you're not getting that time back.
(1:01:41) Like you're just gonna go work more. You have, yeah, do more work. Basically do. But I also thought instead of doing more work, you do different work. So that's what ended up happening with me is like the kinds of jobs that I started getting as I was doing more with sheets was like more systems work.
(1:01:59) More systems aggregating data instead of like doing the data thing. I was like sort of abstracted a level or two above that. And then I was able to do more. I was much more interesting work than, okay, we gotta fill this out. So I stopped actually saying save time, save stuff like save make. Mm-hmm and made it more like make more money or do different, less pain.
(1:02:28) Yeah. Less painful. I do a lot more aesthetics now in sheets just to make the time you're spending in sheets better. Yeah. Instead of saying we're gonna spend less time. Like I I, so I would say I see the way I do it is dumb cuz no corporation wants to back up what I say, which is keep the time you save.
(1:02:46) Right. And that's why I'm like in the top 600. Comment, karma for Reddit of all Reddis because I would take the time, instead of doing another Google sheet or whatever you said you'd do, I would just be on Reddit commenting on things or whatever. And so I've got over a million karma on Reddit, which is useless.
(1:03:05) can't not be cashed in anywhere for anything. But at least it was more enjoyable for me to do. Yeah. Like to figure out how to game that system. I dunno. I, I like getting good at something, realizing I can get really good at it, like rock band drums or whatever the thing is. Or I did Bob Ross's painting oil paintings and stuff.
(1:03:22) Cause I was trying to listen to it, to go to sleep and, and I was like, I could do all those things. I'm gonna do that. And I started doing it and I have a bunch of oil paintings and I'm like, okay, I'm not gonna oil paints forever. So, and then I'll make a podcast. I just like doing some, I'm like, I do it till I get to the proficiency of I'm better than mostly anyone I know.
(1:03:40) And then I'm like, okay, I, you're the best something else amongst the people, you know? That's good. Like be a jack of all trades though. I don't want. I, I got the adhd, so I wanna to like do something else usually. Yeah. So that's why I like with the Excel thing, I'm like, how do I make something else? That's why I'm gonna try to do kind of like you were doing with the game thing, but now incorporate my mid journey art thing that's great into it.
(1:04:01) Cause I can build any story I want or I can make the art for any story I want. So we'll see. I mean, bring, it's not Excel, it's fantastic. I mean, anything you can do to spruce up a sheet is like fantastic. Right? Make it fun. I mean, I say I'm doing the impossible, making excel fun and I don't think I'm doing it yet, but I wanna make it fun and I've got a whole class of like, uh, students who are helping in Canada work on it.
(1:04:24) Hey, before we go, um, one, I wanted to thank you for, I mean, thank you for having me, but two, are you an A one or a B2 kind of guy? What's that mean? Where do you start your sheet? Oh, well what do we mean by start a sheet? Okay. What am I doing with the sheet? Where do you start when you type in a Excel sheet, where do you start A one or B two? Depends.
(1:04:47) Am I gonna have a column header in a row? Mm-hmm. , it's gonna, it would depend on what it is. What I'm gonna say, I'm an A one, I guess person. Unless there's a, a definite column header that's gonna happen and, and row things. But you put that header and Saturday one until I know what that, what we're doing is outside of there.
(1:05:07) Are you a B2 person? Is that what I'm like, I'm 90, like only a B2 person would ever ask that question. Cause like why? Hey, one people are like you anarchists over a b2. Uh, so is, but like I'm looking at the thing, my AppSumo thing, which happens to start an F, but Cause it's gonna much a hidden like apps columns.
(1:05:27) I don't even know what's on the left there. But what, what row f You're on the F column. What row does it start on? Like 20. So, okay. I put a bunch of little filters to the left for like different people who are gonna use it and filter to the ones that they might use these programs for. Mm-hmm.
(1:05:41) . So like, I've got like a. My friend Dan. These are just filters to the left. It's not a great implementation of, what's the point was I was an F two, I was really a G2 guy in this, in this one . Geez. But I didn't start there. I started an A one, like a normal person, and then I, I meander over to wherever I need to be, which is apparently g2.
(1:06:01) Wow. But G started on b2 and then, and then what, what do you put in, uh, in, I, I need the room. I need, I need the padding. Oh, you need space. I need the like cramped. Yeah. I gotta, okay. So I think I know what you mean cause I kind of do, if I have anything, it's like gonna be a great, like a box. I don't want the box to be at the edge.
(1:06:18) So if it's gonna be a box, it'd be too. Cause I wanna see the box in. But it's very much box in the financial services. Accounting is very much about a one. I can see that. Like that's, you wanna save space. You don't want to have the pattern you wanna make. You're starting here and you go down.
(1:06:36) I understand that I'm kind of in between. I could see either one. I could see G2 being a thing. You know, . . I'm gonna be a G2 person. All right, well I'll mark you down as G2 then. Yes. Um, and then what's your favorite formula? Oh, um, favorite? Yeah, just fav fun. The one that hits you in the fields.
(1:06:56) Favorite. Okay. Um, I think it's gonna be the, it's not even a, I don't know if it's a formula. I don't even think it's a formula. I would just say a direct comparison. Direct comparison. Like equals equals, pick a cell equals another cell, and it'll be true or false if they are equal to each other.
(1:07:15) That's true. I was the one that saved me for the, uh, when it was the variance one. Mm-hmm. like, does this cell equal this cell? You can, instead of saying, uh, like, are they, like, are they the same kind of formula? You just equals a one equal. B2. Mm-hmm. . And if those two are the same, be true. If they're false.
(1:07:33) If it's false. So even if they have like white space difference, if it's text different, it'll say false. You can try. I don't know. I have no yet. Lemme see. So I'm gonna look, these different things right here equals there's a difference, right? It's my favorite one. Of course, it's not even formula, but um Right.
(1:07:46) It's equal sign, double equal equals uh, I'm trying to find you that actually equals each other just to make sure I'm not lying when it's in sheets. Cause I'm in sheet slam now. Okay, here we go, crew. Okay, good. Yeah. So that works. It's not formal and then a white space, it'll be false if you had a white space where, or, or a space bar in one of them.
(1:08:08) It'll be false. Uh, it's like, in my example would be like equals L two, equals L four. Yeah. So an L two added space. And it should be false, right? So you call it white space when you're in a formula. No, it just be a space. And I mean it does text as well comparison. So if like, oh the word, oh yeah, yeah.
(1:08:29) The word I'd trim it, I'd trim it and stuff like that and like, oh yeah, trim it trapper and all that other stuff, you know, I would just get it so there's no chance cuz it is spaces at the end, people are ridiculous, you know, you never know where our space is gonna pop in. So I would just do the clean trim, nest those together.
(1:08:47) In, in Google Sheets, trim, there's a few different ones. There's clean, there's trim, there's proper there, you know, there's all the ones. So I, I would usually try to make it all the same if there's a capitalization issue, yeah, sometimes I'll just do lower, you know, whatever it is that I think I need in the moment.
(1:09:06) But usually I'd get rid of all the spaces, which I think is trim, that's, that is practice a. . That happens a lot to me. Someone will be like, these two things don't, aren't the same. And it'll be like some trailing white space and I'm like, or like zip codes are the worst. Oh, there's a zero at the front and stuff.
(1:09:21) There's all sorts of one. And then you can do the apostrophe. Is that working Google Sheets? Yeah. Right? Yep. A post. And you can do apostrophe equal sign. So you can see the formula and it, yeah. Do you have a controlled tab or you can go to formula auditing mode and see Basically trans translation might be a Windows Big, not a Sheets thing.
(1:09:41) It might be a Lemme see thing. Oh yeah, it just changed tabs on here. . . Um, but on Excel you can like, basically just flip it out. It shows all the formulas or Oh, all results. You can do that in sheets. I never learned what it, you, there's a way. I don't know what it is though. Anyways, that was the longest answer to the thing, and I didn't even give you a formula, but I like that.
(1:10:03) I'm gonna pick that I'll be G2 and I'll be equals That's direct comparison between them because I, I just like the stuff that's. you wouldn't think to, or ampersand instead of concatenate. Yeah. I'm, I'm all about the amper. Sandin instead of concatenate. Uh, if there's an, a one question that I would ask is, is do you use concatenate or do you use an ampersand? Which is the an symbol.
(1:10:23) Love it. And, uh, I'm all about the an symbol because why would you not, why would you wanna write concatenate? It's a long for someone supposed to shorten things. It's the longest name. , like abbreviation is such a long name for abbreviating things. See, there's concat, which is even like crazier because Concat is a shortened version of concatenate.
(1:10:45) So you're It's the same thing though. Yeah. It only does two values. Oh, that's so stupid. It's crazy. It, it's . Yeah, because it's always the, she's Amber Sand everybody . It's also always the first one available because. , you're trying to spell con, you can never remember how to spell concatenate.
(1:11:02) So you just start typing ade. Mm-hmm. . And it's there. So people who are, oh, if you hit tab or something. Yeah. And, and then it's only, only two values. Like of all the things you want to do. How do you know you only want a concatenate? Two values. Why would you ever want a concatenate? Only two values.
(1:11:18) Oh, would you want a more limited version of it? That's right. That's a shorter name that you might get confused by. Like there be any sense, there must be someone somewhere that's, did it save space on a thing or, yeah. Computing power. I have no idea what would be the point, but it must, my theory is that it was a formula added before they had the auto complete.
(1:11:37) So someone must have been messing up concatenate or didn't know how to spell concatenate and kept saying concat and only wanting to do . And so they're like, okay, let's just give this person their, their whole formula. Cuz none, there's no other formulas that are like a long word. And then there's a shortened version of that word that you can also do.
(1:11:58) like all of the other formulas are just that thing. Yeah. Cause they're not using that long of a name, but, um, , right. Is there, so there's a secret one in Excel. Mm-hmm. . I say Secret. Oh. Shows up in, okay. In Google Sheets it shows up. Date Diff. Mm-hmm. . What's Date? Diff That's date's diff.
(1:12:16) It's the difference, the difference between two dates and then you can put like m for months or y for years. But in Excel they've retired it so it still works, but they don't show it. It doesn't show, but I'm like, this is a secret formula. I'm like, wow. Oh, you all wanna know this? No, no one wants to know it apparently.
(1:12:32) But , but I was like, the secret formulas, like this ones that like aren't, aren't gonna publish the Secret. It shows up in, I'm in Google Sheets right now and it shows up as a formula. I was like, gonna see. And that's the start date, end date, and then unit, which is how it is in Excel.
(1:12:48) But in Excel. It won't tell, tell you the syntax or anything like that. I differently, so who knows? But anyways, see this is how weird stuff gets when you get deep into it. But I love, that's what I like, is like you can figure out the answer. That's why I like math is like there's an answer English paper.
(1:13:06) No, there's not an answer like that You can yeah. Defend like entirely with your life. Like math is math and I like that. Like no matter what corporate politics are going on, we can math it out and see who's right and, and come up with it. But I think that's part of the appeal of what a lot of this was to make.
(1:13:26) Yeah, it's more of an art than a science. Yeah, but it's provable too. You know, you can prove whether your thing works or doesn't work, even if it's like a complicated programming thing. But either way, I appreciate you having me on here for this. I hope it's, um, who else? Is there any, I'm not gonna ask you else gonna be on, cause that's a ridiculous question to ask, but, um, I hope you have, uh, a lot of cool people on here because.
(1:13:48) It seems like it be a weird thing she talking. Yeah. It's so weird. Hey, is there anything you want to say other than excel exposure.com? Is there anything else, anywhere else people should find you? Yep. So I'm the world's number one failure. A okay failure guy. So I have the Failure Guy podcast.
(1:14:04) I've had Carol Baskin from Tiger King, uh, William Hung from American Idol, if you remember the Shebang she bangs thing. Um, some other folks who are various amounts of success, but it's all about, uh, the necessity of failure in succeeding. So, um, get comfortable with failure and be your friend.
(1:14:26) It won't feel good, but at least hopefully listening to other people's mistakes, maybe you can avoid making them yourself or at least realize that to become successful. Mm-hmm. , you have to be comfortable with failure and stepping outside your comfort zone. Yes, the Failure Guy Podcast. Anywhere you look, listen to podcasts.
(1:14:42) Failure Guy. Cool. That'll be me. Cool. Thanks so much, Ben. Thank you. If you're looking for more sheet talking where we talk with cheap people about spreadsheets. Watch this playlist here, you'll find plenty. And if you're looking for the next episode of anything from better sheets, Check out the next video here or the last video from better sheets right here.
(1:15:05) Thanks for enjoying better sheets on YouTube and watching this episode of sheet talking.
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