“Spreadsheets? They’re really weapons of mass distraction!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Companies get too bogged down in the small details and don’t spend enough time in the big opportunities. I blame sclerosis caused by spreadsheets for being part of the problem!
I was weaned on VisiCalc in 1982, the first spreadsheet program, and then graduated to the marvel that was Lotus 1-2-3. By the time Excel rolled around, I had enough! No more spreadsheet software for me. Today, on a Mac, I think I have opened the equivalent known as Numbers only a couple of times.
It might surprise you to know that as someone who speaks to organizations worldwide – clients like NASA, Disney, BASF, Mercedes Benz – that I’m actually a professional accountant by background. A long time ago in a land far away, I spent 10 years doing work in the field of auditing, taxation, advisory services. In 1983, when I mastered my VisiCalc skills, I was running spreadsheets over a course of several weeks for a massive corporate takeover bid!
Fast forward. I don’t begrudge the fascinating experience, skills, and insight I developed during those years. But I had to get away – a profession of the structure was destroying my imagination! And as I look around many organizations, I see the same concept of structure, analysis, and the mindset of spreadsheets stifling opportunities for innovation.
How do I deal with accounting and spreadsheets today?
Thirty years ago, I met, and ended up marrying, a passionate accountant!’’