Time for a personal + blog related update. Bring a cup of your favorite brew, sit back, relax and read on.
2 years in New Zealand…
Wow, it feels like just yesterday we stepped out of cold & windy Wellington airport with our bags & scared selves. But that was in July 2016. Just recently we completed our 2nd anniversary in New Zealand. These two years have been exciting, happy, interesting, emotional and often puzzling. It is not an easy thing to pick yourself up when you are 35 and move to another corner of the world. Highlights of our 2 year journey in New Zealand:
- Nakshatra & Nishanth (our kids) settled well in to new country & school, made friends and took everything in stride.
- Jo (my wife) started working after an extended break of 7 years. She found a few interesting projects and enjoying herself.
- We enjoy beautiful and breathtaking outdoors of NZ by going on walks, overnight tramps, bike rides, beach camping and road trips.
- We made new friends and meaningful connections.
- We bought a house last year and now feeling more at home.
- Despite high cost of living, we haven’t lost the plot. We stuck to our frugal ways and continue to make responsible, eco choices.
Not so great things in the last two years:
- Getting friends is hard: While kiwis are friendly & kind bunch, making good friendships has been tricky. Jo & I are very shy and reserved people (introverts). This made it doubly hard. Fortunately, we have a small circle of friends and it is only going to grow.
- I have become way too lazy: The first 6 months after move took us (Jo & I) by a lot of surprises like unusually cold homes, occasional depression of missing family & friends in India, getting used to new way of living etc. In this time, I focused more on personal life rather than my mission – making people awesome in Excel. At the end of 2016, when I finally felt like going back to old rhythm of creating content, sharing and helping YOU, I landed a 3 day per week Excel + Analytics contract job in NZ government. As I was feeling lonely working from home all the time, I thought doing consulting work in an office environment would be better than working from guest bed room. I assumed that I could still blog on Thursdays & Fridays. So off I went. But this drained too much of my energy and I craved for couch time than screen time. End result – I got way too lazy.
All in all, I am happy for this new adventure in our lives. New Zealand has been kind to us and widened our perspective. I am excited to celebrate two years in NZ and looking forward to next several years in this little corner of the world.
Excel School v2.0
As you may know, I run a few online, self-paced courses. This is how I make my living. Excel School, my most popular and significant course was originally designed in 2010 and later revamped in 2013. All these years, I kept adding new videos, but the foundation material is from 2010. Time for a revamp no? So I have been busy creating Excel School 2.0 since May 2018. I am happy to tell you that new version of my flagship Excel training program is now ready. I will be announcing the details next week and enrollments for Excel School 2.0 will open on 22nd of August (Wednesday), 2018.
What is Excel School?
Excel School is an online training program for learning Advanced Excel for data analysis & reporting related work. This is the program you want if your job involves using Excel at a professional level. So if you are an accountant, analyst, manager, administrator, coordinator, business owner or planner, then this is the course for you. In this program, you will learn:
- Module 0 – Introduction to Modern Excel
- Module 1 – Working with data
- Power Query to gather & clean data
- Tables for structuring data
- Dealing with bad data problems – several case studies
- Formatting data
- Conditional Formatting
- Module 2 – Analyzing data with formulas
- Referencing styles – structural, cell, named and 3D
- Common functions & operators
- Advanced formulas
- Statistical summaries
- Text analysis and processing
- Module 3 – Analyzing data with Pivot Tables
- Data model & relationships
- Setting up pivot tables
- Slicers & filters
- Grouping data in pivots
- Answering business questions with Pivot Tables
- Using GETPIVOTDATA
- Module 4 – Visualization using charts
- Rules for picking right chart
- Anatomy of an Excel chart
- Budget vs. Actual charts
- Conditional charts
- New chart types in Excel – histogram, box plot, treemap, forecasting, waterfall etc.
- Sparklines & light weight charting
- Dynamic charts with slicers, form controls and other techniques
- Interactive charting experiences
- Tons of examples & best practices
- Module 5 – Working with Excel productively
- Customizing Excel for your line of work
- Working with shapes & pictures
- Creating and re-using templates
- Workbook protection
- Form controls
- Data validation
- Module 6 – Creating dashboards
- What is a dashboard
- Process for creating dashboards
- Full length dashboard exercises (5 of them)
- Dashboard inspiration
- Class projects on various things
If all of this sounds exciting, stay tuned for the big announcement next week about how to enroll.
Note: if you joined Excel School in the last few months, you will be automatically upgraded to v2.0 (for free of course).
Enough with my laziness. It’s high time I got back to my old and creative self. So I am going to publish an editorial calendar and set some goals. This is what you can expect from Chandoo.org from now.
Blog focus: I want to focus on two things. Excel & Power BI. I will be creating content on how to use OR(Excel, Power BI) for awesome results at your work. The content formats will be same as before, i.e. – short tips, longer tutorials, examples of best practice, advice, commentary, personal stories and reader experiences. The content will be OR(text, video, downloadable files).
Blogging schedule: I want to stick to a schedule. That way I have a responsibility and you have certainty. I want to publish twice a week. I am still formulating my thoughts on this, but here is what you can expect.
- Power Mondays: Hence forth, Mondays will be Power Mondays. This is when I showcase an example or tutorial on Power BI / Power Query / Power Pivot.
- Free video class last Thursday of month: Our first masterclass on HR Analytics on YouTube Live is a huge hit. I will be streaming a live class on last Thursday of every month. Next class will be about Power Query for Accountants on 30th of August (Thursday).
- Revive classic blog posts: As of writing this post, there are more than 1,000 Excel, VBA, Power BI related posts on chandoo.org. Some of the classic content is written back when I was using Excel 2007 or 2010. I want to revive such classics by updating screenshots, workbooks and wording to match what is available in Excel 2016 / 2019 / Office 365. Expect to see 1-2 such posts every month.
- Videos: I want to spend more time creating videos. This is because technologies like Power BI (or modern Excel) are tricky to explain in text + image format alone. While I will continue to produce text+image style content for the blog, I will also be adding videos to my YouTube channel regularly. Make sure you are following it.
Blogging philosophy: Chandoo.org has been around for 14 years now. Ever since I started writing about Excel, my philosophy remained unchanged. I will continue to follow below guidelines:
- Write original, interesting and creative content
- Be generous with my knowledge and ideas
- Share free, unlocked, downloadable example files
- Encourage discussion among readers thru comments
How to stay updated?
There are many ways to stay on top of your Excel / Power BI learning thru Chandoo.org
- Subscribe to Free Chandoo.org newsletter.
- Bookmark the blog page and visit often. The link is https://chandoo.org/wp/posts/
- If you like reading blogs on an RSS reader, get full feed here: https://feeds2.feedburner.com/PointyHairedDilbert
- Or follow Chandoo.org on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube to be notified when something new is up.
Before I wrap up, let me take this opportunity to say thanks. You continue to inspire and motivate me. I am thankful that you made me a partner in your journey to awesomeness. I am glad I can share my thoughts, feelings, knowledge, passion with you. Thank you for your readership and following.