Guerrilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel: 2nd Edition – PDF Download

guerrilla data analysisI was fortunate enough to see early chapters of this book before it was released. I was very pleased with what I saw. So much so, that I wrote a blurb for the back cover of the book.

Guerrilla Data Analysis Using Microsoft Excel: 2nd Edition

The book includes step by step examples for how power users can analyze data in Excel. As Oz is fond of saying, he is here to “Rid the World of Crap Data”. The book includes data cleansing techniques, using array formulas, slicers, data quality, data validation, pivot tables, pivot charts, error handling, troubleshooting and much more.

Here Is The Cool Thing

The authors have given me the opportunity to provide some excerpts from the book as a free PDF download. Guerrilla-Data-Analysis-2nd-Ed-Excerpts.

Go Buy The Book

This book will never be more than an arms reach away from my computer.  I suggest you pick up a copy to.  You can buy it here.

Leave a Comment Below for the Authors

  • July 22, 2015
  • Books

KPIs and the Hawthorne Effect – Part 2

In part one of this two part series we discussed the impact of the Hawthornekpis and the hawthorne effect2 Effect on KPI’s. (to view Part 1 of this series – clickhere)

So, what do you do from here?

Once a KPI misses its target (turns red) for several periods, engage the Process Improvement experts in your organization. Process Improvement professionals have different code-names in different organizations:

  • Quality Engineers
  • Process Engineers
  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Six Sigma
  • TQM

If these professionals don’t exist in your organization, then here are a few things to keep in mind as you tackle the metric.

Try the “5 Why?” Test to Determine a Possible Root-Cause

This is a quick management test that allows you to get deeper into why a metric is failing and can be done in a staff meeting. The test is simply you asking “Why?” five times to get to a deeper root-cause process that you can actually improve for the long term. A simplistic example is outlined below.

  • Why did we miss our attrition target?
    • Because we had a spike in temporary employees
  • Why did we have a spike in temporary employees?
    • Because we had a short term productivity spike
  • Why wasn’t the short term spike in the forecast?
    • Because the forecast is only updated quarterly
  • Why is the forecast only updated quarterly?
    • Because it is just the way we have always done business
  • Why have we always done business this way?
    • Because we have never experienced the type of seasonal growth that we are seeing with this product.

Although this a simplistic example, the answers move you away from having endless meetings to look at the top line attrition results, and moves you towards and underlying process (forecast updates) that can be modified to give more accurate results. Insist that your analysts go 4-5 levels deep.

Process Engineering

Ask yourself and your team: “How can we modify the process so that it is impossible for the process to fail?”

When is the last time you left the light on in your refrigerator? The process has been engineered so that it is impossible to fail. It doesn’t require weekly meetings.

When is the last time you started your car when it was already in ‘Drive’? The process has been engineered so that it is impossible to fail.

Most websites employ similar mechanisms to ensure it is impossible for you fail:

  • Credit Card numbers that won’t be accepted unless it matches the credit card type (Visa, AMEX, etc.)
  • Billing addresses that must match the Billing address on the credit card.
  • Postal codes that must match the correct State/Region

In Closing

Look for opportunities to alter the underlying process. This is the true reason that you have made your investments in Business Intelligence. There is organization altering power that can be harnessed with the information flowing out of your Business Intelligence environment. But that power will only be consistent over the long term when you begin to see KPI’s as the beginning of Business Intelligence, not the end.

KPI’s and the Hawthorne Effect – Part 1

You’ve done it !!kpis and the hawthorne effect

Your Business Intelligence (BI) system is humming along nicely. You have all the necessary gadgets in place – bells and whistles included. Ad hoc reporting keeps your power users happy. Your managers can dive into any metric and explore the data. And dashboards let your executives track their Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). All is well.

Actually, all is well only until a KPI misses the target (turning red). Now its time to get past the technology and actually manage your metrics. When a KPI misses the target, here is what usually happens.

  • Get on the phone
  • Have more reports run
  • Power-Users run multiple scenarios
  • Call meetings
  • Get the metric on everyone’s radar
  • Make it a standing item in weekly meetings

Basically — you give it a lot of attention – and rightly so. You put a Business Intelligence environment in place so that these items could come to the surface so you can manage them. As a result, the metric improves. You feel good about yourself. And why not? Your attention to the metric helped to improve it. You have the Midas Touch. This is why you get paid the big bucks. There is just one problem – The Hawthorne Effect.

Hawthorne Effect

Hawthorne Effect Definition

The Hawthorne Effect (link to more detail) is a term to describe the Hawthorne Works experiments in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In the experiments, the lighting was increased in a manufacturing plant to gauge the impact on worker productivity and as expected, productivity improved. The Midas Touch. After a period of time productivity returned to normal. When the researchers moved the lights back to normal wattage, an interesting thing happened. Productivity increased again. Basically, productivity increased when any number of things were changed, from variations in lighting to cleaning up the workspace, etc.. But the results were only temporary. Many follow-up studies have verified this effect. People just like it when you pay attention to them, but the improvement is only temporary.

Contrarian View of the Hawthorne Effect

Several years ago, Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics Fame) re-analyzed the data and discovered that the original experiments were not nearly as cut and dry as originally thought.  He suggests that the impact Hawthorne Effect from the original studies is over-amplified and not necessarily backed up by the data.  Click to view the study.

Cut To The Chase

If improvements are seen in your KPI’s only because you are giving them attention, then you should assume that those improvements are temporary. The improvements will be short lived unless you change the underlying process that is creating the results. Said differently, nothing changes for the long-term until you change the process. Most people look at Measurement Systems or KPI’s as an end-product, an alert that allows you to use your management skill to change the metric. However, the wise manager doesn’t see KPI’s as an end product of Business Intelligence, but rather as the first of three cogs that leads to long term improvement.

hawthorne effect

In the graphic above, KPI’s (Measurement/BI System) leads to Analysis (Root-Cause) which leads to to Process Improvement. Once your Process Improvement initiative is complete, a new set of measurement tools should be put in place to ensure that the results are consistent over the long term. Many organizations use Control Charts to track these process improvements.

So What Do You Do From Here?

In Part 2 of this series, we will explore your options.  More to come.

Out With The Old, In With The New

To Refresh Your Memory… It Used To Look Like This2015-06-19_23-28-36
Hey All.

Excel.TV is on a break until the start of the July, so I have been taking this time to get my house in order.

First things first. You will notice a fresh coat of paint on this website.

I needed a way to organize the site in a way that made sense to me. To be honest, when I first started this site, I didn’t know what I wanted it to be. I had a developed a product (some Excel Templates for Small Business Owners). And at the time it seemed like I should be writing articles that appealed to that audience. So it was a Small Business Owner’s blog for a bit.  Plus it interested me as well.

The point is, that it started out as some small business articles and Excel Resource pages.

But over the last few years, Excel.TV has taken off, and I am working on ExcelSUMO with some other new friends.  And it just seems more and more, like everything I was writing here was about my business growth.

You know… Things I Wanted To Write About

I have also come to notice that so much of my Business Intelligence and Analytics background is absent from this site.  But it is such a large part of my life, that it should be here as well.

So… these are early stages

But I think I’ve finally decided what this site is meant to be.

I will not likely build out Excel tutorials in a massive way on this site.  Still deciding between Excel.TV and possibly another site for that.

But if you are a struggling entrepreneur – particularly in the Excel community.  I invite you to follow along.

As there will be much more coming in the near future.

Until next time…

Be A Champion

Rick Grantham

PASS Business Analytics 2015 – What a Ride

The 2015 PASS Business Analytics Conference has come to a close.

I was a speaker at the conference, discussing two topics:

  1. Guidelines for Creating Effective Dashboards – This talk was all about PROCESS.  If a leader in your organization asks you to create some dashboards for them, what process should you follow from requirements gathering to mockups to delivery.
  2. Creating an Effective Reporting Strategy – This is a 10,000 foot view of how an organization should tie together reporting, analytics and process improvement to maximize adoption of their tools.

So that was the OFFICIAL business for being there.  Now that that’s over, let’s get down to business.

Some Pictures


The long plane ride from Jacksonville, Florida to California


Chandoo and Me. This was one of the first pics of the conference. It was as if I jumped on the airplane just to get this pic with Chandoo

Excel TV was Well Represented


Look Mom! They Think I’m an Expert


Oz and Me


Excel TV listed as a Media Sponsor for the Excel-eration Longe


More Excel TV Promotion




Me, Denise McInerney and Jordan Goldmeier having lunch during the Jump-Start Day

What an Event

Thank you to everyone involved in the event.  From statisticians that I met from MiniTab, to fellow BI professions, and the biggest collection of Excel MVPs that I have seen in one place (minus the MVP Showcase).  This was a great event that I was happy to be involved in.

Mico Yuk & Dan Fylstra

One of the keynote speakers was Mico Yuk.  I met Mico several years ago at another conference, and she was gracious enough to come and get to know us all in the Exceleration Lounge at PASS BA Conference.  Just two days ago we also had her as a guest on Excel TV  Here is the video…

We were also fortunate enough to meet the the original marketer for VisiCalc – Dan Fylstra.  Its not often that you get to interview someone who has their own WikiPedia page.  Dan was gracious enough to come on our show.  Here is the episode.

And even more interviews

While Excel TV was at the Conference, we supported PASS by facilitating interviews for several of the presenters and vendors.  Lots of really good people.  Here is a summary.

What did you think about the conference?

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.

1 Power BI Resources

This page is my cheat sheet of Power BI resources.  This is where I will maintain my list of Excel BI books, websites, blogs, download links, cheat sheets and training.



  • Ken Puls and Miguel Escobar
  • Power Query Workshop – 1 Power Query e-book – 8 hours training – 6 Hands-on Labs – 3 hours Q&A



    • PowerPivotPro – Rob Collie was one of the founding engineers behind PowerPivot at Microsoft during his 14 year career in Redmond. He offers classes to get you up to speed on PowerPivot. This site is the center of the PowerPivot Universe (outside of Redmond, or course)
    • SQLBI – These guys – Marco Russo and Alberto Ferrari (awesome name 🙂 ) – write the books you read. Several books and online PowerPivot classes.
    • The Great PowerPivot FAQ – Loaded with content from all the thought leaders on PowerPivot. Bookmark this page.
    • Javier Guillen – PowerPivot and SSAS Blog
    • Dick Moffat’s Spreadsheet BLOG – Recommended by Winston Snyder. PowerPivot, BI, etc. This BLOG hits on a lot of topics that I like.
    • Javier Guillen – PowerPivot and SSAS Blog
    • Chris Webb’s BI Blog -Analysis Services, MDX, PowerPivot, DAX and anything BI-related

Excel Business Strategy Update

2015-05-04_12-19-03I am back from the 2015 PASS Business Analytics Conference.  The Excel TV team was there delivering presentations and providing video content and support for the conference.  More on that in the next post.

While I was there, I got to meet a lot of people that I only knew from their facebook profiles and twitter handles.  It’s a crazy virtual world we live in nowadays.  On several occasions, people mentioned that they were following the decisions that I am making with my online business. My goals, etc.  As it is helping them to think through their own situation as they transition from “working for the man” to “being the man”.  I am not going to give a blow by blow update of every goal, but rather an update on important items that are impacting where I am putting my focus.



At the beginning of the year, I started an LLC.  This was primarily so that I had a little personal buffer as I (I mean the LLC) enters into contracts.  As I expect this may happen as the year progresses.  Company is Tagrilla LLC.  Tagrilla is the combination of Taguchi and 500 lb gorilla.  Precise and Bold.  It works for now.

Virtual Assistant

I have had a part-time virtual assistant for about 3 weeks now.  She did many of the videos from the Carl Pepperseed episode and several of the PASS BA Interviews.  I gave her tasks that generally took me 8-12 hours a week.  Additionally, I am in conversations with an Excel guy to take the Excel TV tips and turn them into blog posts.  We have about 50 in backlog.

Excel TV

Social Accounts

Our social accounts are progressing pretty much on target except for Youtube subscribers.  I set a stretch goal of reaching 4k subscribers by years end.  We are trending a bit closer to 3k.


Email subscribers are growing at a pace that is consistent with my projections.


The visitors to the website are slightly above my projections.  Our pages viewed per visitor dropped a ton when I introduced the new theme in January.  That is starting to creep back up now.  Basically the Excel.TV domain is in good shape and growing decently.  Its not making money, but I will get to that later.  As money needs to be made to pay for the virtual assistants. I have been adding a lot of content to the site.


Excel TV as a brand and as a URL is in decent shape and is growing at a decent clip.  We are getting invited to participate in more and more conferences.  We are not at critical mass.  Far from it.  But things are progressing nicely on this front.

Non – Excel.TV

My focus on Excel.TV has come at a price.  Although my Small Business Champion Bundle Templates are on target to meet the annual goals, I have not accomplished anything.  My success there is just inertia from the previous year – plus a bump in my Youtube rankings.  I haven’t added a single video to support that bump.  It just happened.


With Excel.TV on target to meet its projections, and with the Virtual Assistants in place, I should be able to decrease the effort that I put into Excel.TV.  This means I will shift my focus to product building.  There are two products that are currently in development.  #1 is another series of templates.  #2 is a training product that I am partnering with someone on.  Need to bring both of these to market this year.


This website ( is roughly flat month over month.  Not much of a surprise as my effort was diverted to Excel.TV.  As I move more of my mundane tasks over to virtual assistants, I will start adding more content here.  Here is the problem as I see it…

  • Jordan is from, he is an author and an Excel MVP — and is also on Excel.TV.
  • Oz is from, he is an author and an Excel MVP – and is also an Excel.TV
  • Rick is Excel.TV

When linking to Jordan or Oz, you are most likely to link to their respective websites.  For Rick you are more likely to link to Excel.TV.  Which isn’t a problem all by itself.  It was done by design.  But that will need to change as I progress.  Where is my home base, not Excel.TV.  That requires shifting my focus as the VA’s get in place.

My Focus

I have been struggling with this for a while.  What is my focus within the Excel community.  What do I want to be known for.  If right now I am known for the Excel.TV gig, then that is fine.   But here is what I mean…

  • Jordan is a data visualization guy
  • Oz is a clean data guy
  • Zack Barresse, Kevin Jones and many others are data automation guys (application builders)
  • Rob Collie is the PowerPivot guy
  • etc

So that’s been the struggle.

During the PASS BA Conference, I was fortunate enough to have lots of conversations that framed my thinking on this.  From beers with Zack Barresse (“so… do you know VBA?”) to quick chats with Rob Collie (“Help me understand the connection between a BI guy and Excel TV?”) and tons of other little conversation.

You know… if you get beyond the Excel Resource pages (best excel books, best excel websites, etc) the most successful things I have done are not where I am trying to teach you how to do a drop down in Excel.  But rather where I am bringing my background in Business Intelligence and Analytics and applying it to Excel.

  • Example 1 – Monte Carlo Simulation in Excel – has been a popular Excel TV post – and is our most successful Youtube video.  3X more traffic than anything else we have done on Youtube.
  • Example 2 – My Guidelines for Creating Effective Dashboards post from PASS – when this was released last week, it multiplied the traffic on Excel.TV by at least 5 and resulted in our most successful days of traffic to the website.

So I think that is where I would like to focus.  Expanding my business intelligence background and applying it to Excel.  PowerPivot, Power BI, DAX, etc.  I think I have a lot to offer in this area.  Bringing my 20+ years of BI experience to bear on these tools seems like a smart way to go.

It also creates a strong alignment with my employer.  Who will create opportunities for me to do webinars, etc on the subject to the extent I do it under their brand.

More to come.

2014 Report and 2015 Goals – Raising Performance

2014 was a great year for brand awareness. This time last year, Excel.TV did not exist. Although I expected to build out Excel TV eventually, I didn’t see it as a near term thing. I thought that I was going to spend most of 2014 building out Excel training programs and possibly start to build out a massive Excel site/blog/community. Then later I would get to Excel TV.

Looks like I am still heading in the direction of building out products and a massive online presence, but the tactics that are getting me there have changed. The path to my destination has changed. The journey is an interesting one, and it reminds me that I must be MOST concerned with my #1 goal… which is to work for myself, full time. Deviations in the path are only taken when the deviation moves me closer to my goal. I’m a “path of least resistance” type guy. I don’t believe in “magical thinking”… putting it out there to the universe, etc. But I do think that as your brain is more focused on a goal, that you become more AWARE of things that are aligned with that goal. Those things were likely always there… but now you see them in a way that you didn’t before.  You are poised to take advantage of them.

What holds most of us back from achieving everything that we want out of life is our belief system. What we BELIEVE we are capable of. And here is the thing… beliefs are REALLY HARD to change. Some people go to a Tony Robbins retreat, just so they can be immersed in a new belief system for many days… plus walk on coals… just to change their belief system of what’s possible. A longer option is what I do… which is to end every day, noting the things that day that brought me closer to my goal… what happened positively? Remind myself daily that things are unfolding for me… Until I believe it. Believe that I am worthy and I am on the track to what I want.  So, let’s discuss that track…

2015 Performance Goals

Process and Structure Goals

Corporate Structure: in 2014 I set up a sole proprietorship (dba).  This will not be sufficient for 2015, as I will need to enter into contracts with people.  So all of my properties will be part of a corporation (likely a LLC) in 2015 — possibly as early as next week.  This will include the Excel.TV and ExcelSUMO related properties belonging to the corporation instead of me personally owning them.  Excel.TV may be rolled out as a separate corporation at some time in the future. GOAL: incorporate in 2015.

Employees: in 2014, I personally edited over 170 videos for Excel TV. I cannot and should not do this in 2015.  Video editing is not a wise use of my time.  I have a process in place, I now need to hand it over to someone else.  This likely won’t be an “employee” but rather a virtual assistant, likely in the Philippines.  I will need to research this over the coming months and bring someone onboard that will allow me to scale. GOAL: Do no video editing personally by the end of 2015.

Partner with Industry Leaders: Partnering with Jordan Goldmeier and Oz du Soleil on Excel TV has been a good thing for all three of us.  It has helped raise our profile in the Excel community and has given us all a platform that would have been more difficult if done alone.  I/we also worked with the ModelOFF organizers in the 4th quarter and was in NYC as part of their Financial Modeling World Championship.  In 2015, I will look to further partner with leaders in the Excel community to build products and services.  GOAL: at least one additional partnership in 2015 for an Excel related product or service.

Web Assets and Collaboration

Web Assets: Coming into 2014, the only asset that I owned that was built out was this website, and  During the year, I purchased a premium domain, Excel.TV for a premium price.  I picked up for a minimal price.  I also purchased other top level domains as they became available, but haven’t done anything with them to date, these include Excel.Social, Excel.Careers, Excel.Wiki, Excel.Agency and Excel.Zone.  These aren’t built out nearly as much as they could be, as we used the Excel.TV Youtube Channel for most of the 2014 build (and I don’t own Youtube)  Using as a guide, is worth $1,850.  Excel.TV is worth $1, is worth $124 and is $103.  I get that these values are arbitrary… but at least its something to start with. Goal: 2015 Total Value = $10,000 as the goal is to go exponential this year.  2014 was $3,116

Social Accounts:  Made a lot of traction here in 2014.  I am not going to quote the social sites…  as FB followers were through advertising and the results I got were shady at best.  Perhaps I will start to track “engagement” instead of followers in a future year.  But for now, lets focus on the social channels that are organic and are being cultivated:

Will also continue to experiment with newer accounts at About.Me, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Lead a Tribe: Grow groups and communities.

Traffic: Not a great year for traffic.  I am doing really good with Google Rankings related to Excel Books, like “Best Excel Books”, “Advanced Excel Books”, Excel Books”, etc. and starting to move up the rankings for things like “Excel Training”.  These terms set me up nicely for the development of future products (and affiliate sales), but I do not want to rely on Google for traffic.  As a total for all my sites:

  • Sessions (visits)
    • best month – Nov 2014 = 4,667
    • 2015 best month goal = 12,000
  • Users (visitors)
    • best month – Nov 2014 = 3,865
    • 2015 best month goal = 10,000
  • Pageviews
    • best month – Nov 2014 = 9,324
    • 2015 best month goals = 30,000

The pageviews per visit were lifted dramatically by Excel.TV.  When people come to the site, the click on several pages and check out several videos before leaving.  Excel.TV can (and should) be a driving force for growth next year.  We must build out the site to be MORE than a Google Hangout.  More than just a place where we occasionally blog and categorize our videos.  The google hangout videos will be a smaller and smaller piece of the site as we continue to grow.

Email List: Currently about 250 people signed up for various email lists.  This must expand to over 1,000 people in 2015.

Products and Sales Goals

I will come back to this product and sales goals area a few times over the coming weeks and provide better goals.  The truth is that I have built ZERO products last year.  My entire year was getting Excel.TV off the ground.  Well, its off the ground, now I need to circle back and build out products.  I need money from products to feed the business growth.

Excel Templates: I own where I sell a series of Excel templates for small business owners.  I built them in 2013.  The site was down for 2-3 month in 2014 due to a server crash.  36 sales in 2014.  Goal = 100 sales in 2015.


  • My best month for Amazon sales was moving 68 books/products, mostly from my Excel Books page.  2015 Goal is to have my best month selling over 200 books/products from Amazon.
  • Rarely make more than $100/month from all other affiliate sales combined.  I should be making at least $0.50 a month from everyone on my email list.  So this number should be $500 a month by the end of next year.  Goal – Have at least one month where I make $500 in affiliate sales through my email list.

My affiliate program:  I have not built out my affiliate program yet.  ZERO dollars from sales.  Need a successful product first.  No immediate need to build out affiliate program.

Video Training: I have yet to release video training.  However, this is part of my central strategy in 2015.  The goal is to release 2 video excel courses in 2015.

Books:  I have not written any books and have no immediate plans to write one in 2015.  However, I was mentioned in 2 books in the last 12 months.  In Jordan Goldmeier’s Advanced Excel Essentials book I was mentioned in the “Acknowledgements” section .  In Oz du Soleil’s book Guerrilla Data Analysis v2, I wrote a testimonial for the back cover of the book.

Speaking at Conferences:  I typically speak at 2 conferences a year.  This year should be no different.  Goal: Speak at 2 conferences

Life Goals

Improve Fitness: I spent the last half of 2014 starting down this journey with 3 months of P90X3 and 3 months of the Body Beast program.  I want to continue down this path and will use my own “made up” metric to track my progress publicly…  abdomen size divided by arm size (bicep).  I started July 2014 at 43″ waist and 14″ arm for 3.07.  I will end 2014 at 43″ and 14.75″ for 2.92.  If I could end 2015 at 40″ and 15″ that would put me at 2.67.  So that will be the metric…  2.67.  Which will require getting stronger and losing some of the belly. Goal: 2.67

Decrease Consumption: In 2014 I stopped using cable TV.  I bought an Apple TV, a Netflix and HULU Plus subscription, and a digital antennae.  Also turn off the central heat and air when I am out of town traveling.  Electric bill is cut in half, and with my monthly cable savings, I buy new TVs, antennaes and Apple TVs.  In 2015 I will take this to an entirely different level and get COMPLETELY out of debt.  No mortgage, no car loan, no credit cards.  Nothing.  I will need to sell my house to do this.  More details on this goal are found here. Goal = Zero debt.

Zen Out: I meditate.  I use the Holosync program and try to meditate whenever I can.  In 2015 I will complete Purification Level 3. Goal: Complete Purification Level 3.

2015 BIG Goal – Lowering the Hurdle

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  Maybe its because I don’t like admitting I’m wrong.

I don’t like viewing life… or a task… as something I need to OVERCOME.  It feels like a “defeat driven” way to look at the world.  I don’t care for it.

As a new year approaches, I typically look for one big overarching theme.  And if I can accomplish that one thing, it will be a good year.  Its not a resolution.  It’s a goal.  So we will hit the one thing, and then speak about SUPPORTING goals (mostly business goals) that are a bit more tactical in the next post.

That One BIG Thing

There are several steps that a person must take in transitioning from being a person who trades their time for dollars (employed by others = my current state) to being a business owner with a passive income (build stuff once and make money forever = my goal to work for myself).  You must develop a business, make products (or sell other people’s products), make enough money to replace your current income at your day job, etc..

I am fortunate that I am highly employed at my day job.  Its a job that I love and I am highly compensated.  I am not a 1%-er, but I am close enough.  That’s a double edged sword.  I have big-boy bills and a dependence on that income.  I need to minimize my life.  Get my financial house in order.

Owe No Man Anything But Love

That’s something that has really been gnawing at me lately.  Owe no man anything but love. Its taken me 45 years to reach this point.  Realize that we all inherit some type of institutional-type thinking.  We get it from our parents, because they got it from their parents, and so on and so on.  For me, the life picture went a little something like this.

  • Graduate High School (barely…  thanks summer school)
  • Graduate College (at 30 years old, but that was a different New Year’s “resolution”)
  • Get a Job (finally something I’m good at)
  • Get Married (something I’m bad at)
  • Have kids (I have plenty… anybody want one?)
  • Get a Mortgage (debt, debt, debt)
  • Be a cog in the wheel of society (that’s me)

11459469_sAt 45 years old…  something about that life view really bothers me now.  I’m not fond of quoting Oprah Winfrey.  Not because there is anything wrong with her…  it’s just that you lose “man points” when you quote Oprah too frequently. 🙂  But I once heard her say something like this…  “If you are lucky, you start figuring yourself out when you are in your 40’s…  If you are LUCKY.”

I Guess That Makes Me Lucky

And I guess I feel lucky too.  Also pissed that it has taken me this long to question my world view on so many things.  I’ve come across two financial teachers recently that have helped me with coming to this goal, Dave Ramsey and Jim Sammons.  There are religious undertones to these teachings.  So if you are not inclined to such things… too bad.

Click to View Book

Click to View Book

Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey’s books teach more about a particular series of financial steps that should be taken.  A specific order.  Once you take those steps you are on a path to your “Total Money Makeover”.  Its more of a recipe book.  But is a good read and makes sense.  Should you sell your car, or keep that car payment for the near term?  Dave will let you know.  And also tell you what type of mortgage you should get, if any at all… and at which point in his sequence you should pay off your mortgage. Its good reference material.

Jim Sammons

Jim Sammons.  I came across this guy because I was googling Jim Bob Duggar.  He’s the patriarch of the family with 19 kids. Here in the USA, he has a TV show with his wife called 19 Kids and Counting.  Anyways, I was stalking him on the internet because I was intrigued that this guy has no debt.  He has a huge family and pays for everything cash.  He is not a burden on society at all… even with all those kids.  A little internet searching brought me to Jim Sammons.


Jim Sammons Men’s Manual

It end up that Jim Bob attended one of Jim’s 17 hour programs on Financial Freedom, and decided that he needed to change his path.  He sold his house, got out of all of his debt.  And started his financial life anew.  I signed up for the videos online and have been watching them as I have free moments at home.  Here is the link to the videos. This is not a recipe… not step 1 step 2 like the Dave Ramsey books.  But is instead a series of financial principals based on biblical teachings. In one of the early videos, be speaks of owing no man anything…  but LOVE.  I really like that.  I like it a lot.  What a positive thing to say.  Better yet, what a positive way to live.

This Also Fits in with my Business Goals

Living a more simplistic life.  Minimizing my money outflow.  Downsizing my lifestyle.  Decreasing the monthly financial hurdle I must leap to work for myself full time.  Decreasing my dependence on my day job.  It all kind of fits together.  So…

2015 = Cash Only

This will require selling my home.  A place that I have lived for 13 or so years.  I have owed mortgages since I was 25 years old.  This will be a big deal.  With selling my home, I will pay off all mortgages, installment loans and revolving credit.  Excepting Child Support & Alimony…  I will end 2015 owing no man anything but love.

Since I have been coming to this mindset over the last few months…  family and friends have come out of the woodworks to help me with fixing up my home.  Its like I am aligned.  Which is really cool.

This may seem like… “Uh… So What?”

But as you read from other entrepreneurs like Chandoo, you will also see a similar theme.  Here is a quote from Chandoo’s StartUpDesi blog

Consume less: I am ok with our consumption levels this year. We drove less than 2,000 km this year (if you include our driving in USA, it would still be less than 8,000). We also cooked and ate most of our meals. We relied our garden to grow green vegetables, bottle gourd, guavas, chikoo etc. It was immensely satisfying to eat food grown in our garden. Our electricity consumption is ridiculously low too. I am happy :)

How About You?

What big changes are you making in your life in 2015 to better prepare you for your goals?  Are you changing your life’s trajectory?  Let’s hear about it in the comments.

In the next post we will discuss lower level business goals as I further build out my business presence online.  Including webstats, etc.  Stay tuned.

Be A Champion

Rick Grantham

Teach Me Excel – Webinar of the Excel Landscape

If you have watched any Excel.TV episodes, then you are very aware of my co-host, Oz du Soleil.  Oz is the host over at

Oz is an Excel Consultant, Trainer, Author, and Entertainer.  He is best known for taking complex Excel problems and breaking them down into digestible morsels so that you can immediately act on them and “keep your ass out of the fire.”  He is especially passionate about data quality and has contributed to a book on this topic.

Getting an hour of Oz’s time will run you $60 just for online coaching.

But next week, Oz is doing something really cool

Oz is offering an online webinar on the Excel landscape. Cool topic from this dynamic speaker.

Excel: What it is and what it can do

Quote from Oz on what you can expect.

Why is this course important?

“Teach me Excel”

I’ve been hearing that a lot over the years and the request is driven by a need to learn Excel to change careers or land that first job. But Excel is so vast.

This webinar is designed to provide an overview of Excel from the most basic to the intensely complicated. The goal being: if we can take a step back and look at the many ways Excel is used, a person should

1. Get some ideas of what they might want to learn about Excel.
2. Discover features that they might not otherwise find in their current use of Excel.

We won’t focus on the micro level. This will be a rare macro level view of the Excel landscape.


The Webinar will be held on Saturday, November 22nd at 8am Pacific PST

What’s Next?

Oz will discuss this a bit on Excel.TV Episode 19 this Tuesday at 9pm Eastern.  So Check it out.  Also…  Sign up to get my Excel Updates.


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