Ed Chivers [Member Monday #6]

Ed Chivers

Hi Friends, welcome again to our #MemberMonday’s. In this week’s spotlight we are featuring someone who has been helping out members in our group from the day he has joined.
Since then he has been sharing his knowledge in Excel and helping out other members in their excel problems. Though he’s been quite busy recently, he still makes time out of his schedule to help out whenever he can. And this, my friends is:
Thank you very much Ed for being one of those who we can truly count on to help our members with their questions and issues. Your contributions and support to the Excel community is highly appreciated.

We also asked Ed some questions about his Excel journey and some tips he can share to us all. I hope we can all learn from his advice. Let us take a look at Ed’s answers:

1. How did you start your Excel journey? 
In the 70’s I worked for a computer manufacturer and began financial modelling using modelling software to estimate large ICT contracts and cash flow forecasting. In the early 80’s I was an early adopter of Visicalc spreadsheet on Macintosh computers, then later, using PC’s I switched Multiplan when it came out (Excel predecessor). When Multiplan morphed into Excel in 1987 it remained my tool of choice.

2. Why did you choose Excel? 
The ease of creating models for estimating complex models for labour, vendors, software, computer components, and ongoing services. In the early days, it was the best because it was so easy to have multiple sheets, to cross link sheets and also workbooks. (No VBA in those early days).

3. How long have you been working with Excel? 
I have been a heavy duty / advanced user of Excel since Microsoft released it.

4. How has Excel for Freelancers helped you? 
Firstly, I enjoy helping others and I get satisfaction seeing them grow. A bonus is learning something new almost every week from the questions and answers within this group. Some questions make me look at things in different ways, requiring alternative solutions to my normal approach. I found the same thing when I taught programming in the ’70s and ’80s!. Questions asked by pupils helped expand my skills and knowledge of programming languages, structuring code and system design.

5. What are your goals? 
Get a company to buy me out of my software business so I can retire!

6. What advice can you give to our members?
For anyone in the early stages of learning Excel or VBA I recommend:
a) Read and digest every question posted in this group and the answers that are provided. Your skills will improve rapidly.
b) Focus on learning things you need now and the very near future. Learn them well, so you can do them quickly, easily and accurately.
c) Understand the range of capabilities of VBA / EXCEL functions so you can make a decision about the best solution for your customer. Understand the capabilities, but do not try to learn everything about Excel. 
d) Create a knowledge workbook. Save useful VBA code that you write and Add a sheet for tips and solutions to things you feel may be useful at some point in the future. My tips sheet is over 1000 rows, covering many subjects I think I might need (and many of which I have since used). I only scan the code of solutions for the flavour/quality of solution. I don’t spend time learning them. I research the detail when I need it.
My tips sheet has 3 columns: 
– title of the topic – worded so I can filter for subjects, 
– the URL 
– and maybe / or a VBA snippet/sub

Thanks Very Much,
Randy Austin

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