Last month (can hardly believe it!) I attended a two day conference in Amsterdam on Excel. It was with the Excel MVPs. (Most Valued Professionals). For me, it was a big thrill…(it’s OK…no sniggering!) as at the end of every class I give a list of resources which includes a list of all the current Excel MVPs and I describe them to the participants as the Excel equivalent of Academy Award nominees. Here are the current guidelines on how to become an MVP
One of the big pluses for me was to meet up with other Excel trainers who are as passionate about Excel as I am. While I know that YOU are interested in Excel, it’s not everywhere that I could have enthusiastic discussions about the glories of using tables and get excited about the possibilities of Power Query. 🙂
I got to meet Ken Puls (who had a fascinating presentation on Power Query) the new clean/slice/dice free add-in for Excel. And I also attended a workshop presented by Jon Peltier (the Excel chart guru). The conference was organised by Jan Karel Pieterse (who showed us how to create an online questionnaire using Microsoft OneDrive) and Kasper De Jonge. (whose book I realised I had on my Kindle after I came home…)
I knew very little about financial modelling auditing in Excel so (on the Mae West principle – “When between two evils, I always like to take the one I haven’t tried before”) so I went along to Liam Bastick’s entertaining talk about financial modelling in Excel – in which he regaled us with tales of humdingers of formulas designed to mislead, why IRR is wrong in Excel (No!!!!).
We also got a presentation from Microsoft managers on what direction they see Excel taking – and it seems to be fundamentally about putting the business intelligence capacity of Excel firmly into the hands of users…in Excel 2016 (which is just in preview at the moment) which has an option to ask Excel what you want to do and it will guide you there. So it’s all about making YOU the users, the masters of your data, the captain of your workbooks…
Of course it wasn’t ALL Excel stuff. We also went out for the evening and had time to chat and meet some of the partners/spouses of the attendees – which was delightful in itself. We went on a night time boat tour of Amsterdam as well – a truly beautiful city except for the risk of being mowed down by a silent bicycle 🙂
For me, it was a wonderful chance to meet up with some of the Excel gurus whose books I have read and blogs I have followed. If I had one quibble (and this was feedback I passed on) it was the complete absence of any female MVP speakers. They do exist and I for one would have loved to meet some of them – particularly Debra Dalgleish and Mynda Treacy (both of whom I have purchased books and courses from).