Well it is the end of day 0 – the pre-conference sessions – prior to the commencement of the actual PASS Business Analytics Conference here in Santa Clara tomorrow. It was hard to pick which of the 4 pre-con sessions to attend but I ended up choosing Chandoo’s session titled Building Awesome, Interactive & Advanced Charts with Excel. My logic was that I spend a lot of my time helping customers get value from Power Pivot, and ultimately the end users will want to visualise the data. Chandoo’s session promised to focus on broadening the skills and knowledge of the participants so they could get even more out of Excel charts – and he certainly delivered.
After we started, two things struck me immediately – firstly Chandoo is much younger than I had imagined and secondly he said that he would like to learn from the participants too. This really highlighted to me that EVERYONE can learn from others (even experts like Chandoo), and even the people in the room with between 10 – 30 years experience each.
The full day session was great. We went through a number of techniques step by step, building from a base concept into a fully functioning interactive chart. There were lots of pieces that were not at all new, but the way these pieces came together to deliver various interactive charting experiences indeed was awesome. And then as always at such sessions, there are the little nuggets of gold, be it a single idea, a button that you didn’t know existed, or a new use case for an existing tool.
Like this little button on the “select data source” dialogue for a chart that I never knew existed.
And to cap of a great day, I was sitting next to a fellow participant (David Hoffmeister) who told me how to fix a formatting issue I have with a Power Pivot workbook using conditional formatting. It was great to invest a day of my time just to focus on learning, and I recommend it to anyone as a way to become awesome – like Chandoo.