Pierre Chiggles [Member Monday #13]

Hi Friends,

It is Member Mondays again and it is time for us to feature another Excel enthusiast that has been continuously helping and supporting our Excel Group and its members. And for this week it is PIERRE CHIGGLES. Pierre has been constantly helping members in our group and has been sharing his insights and some tips for anyone who needs his hand. With this join me in congratulating PIERRE CHIGGLES, Congratulations and Thank you so much for all the help and contributions you made for the whole Excel Community. We hope you will never get tires of helping and sharing your knowledge to us all. Your efforts are much appreciated. Again, thank you so much.

Like other members that we have featured in the past, we also asked Pierre some questions to let us know more about him and give us some advice that will surely help us. Here are his answers:

1. How did your start your Excel journey?

I Bought my first computer in 1984, a John Sands Sega, and I was hooked, I borrowed just about every book in the South Australian Library System that I could get my hands on to learn how to use it and to learn BASIC programming. I typed every program I could get and convert to the Sega, saving onto an audio cassette. (No disk drives back then) Shortly after a friend bought an Amiga, this was so much better than the Sega, that I too bought the A500 in 1985, soon after I learnt of this wonderful program (Lotus) that was basically a sheet of paper that you could do all sorts of things on. Being a software junky I would swap copies of programs with other people and eventually obtained a spreadsheet program for the Amiga, and could see the potential of this type of program. By the time I bought an IBM compatable in 1998, which came with “Works” I already knew a lot about spreadsheets, but still learnt more but only used it as a flat database or basic calculator, so that when I finally started working where Excel was being used I was already a cough cough expert, which would mean every time my employer asked “How do you do this?” I would have an opportunity to “Play” with Excel, and learn some more.

2. Why did you chose Excel?

I didn’t! It just happened. Excel would be purchased by businesses as that is what was considered the standard, (It’s expensive it must be better than the “free” alternatives), or was installed as trial software on new computers, so would always be what I used. But trials would expire. If I bought a second hand computer with a working copy I was in heaven.

3. How long have you been working with Excel?

I’ve been Playing with Excel on and off forever….. 20 years or so. Usually it would be when someone asks for help that I would refresh my knowledge, occasionally learning something new. About 5 years ago is when I really started using Excel daily in my role as a volunteer at a local community radio station, that I found many new things I didn’t know, so Google found me the answers I was looking for, and many other people asking for help in FB groups. The radio station roster, started out as a single sheet where every change had to be hand typed, and would take hours. Now nearly all changes, exporting to PDF, Emailing, Printing multiple copies, and more, can now be done in seconds with just a few clicks of the mouse. Now limited to changes to staff, or date they are not available.

Help others and you will help yourself also. Every time I found a request that had not been answered clearly, I would help out, every new or interesting “Help Me” was an opportunity to learn something new for myself also.

4. How has Excel for Freelancers helped you?

Every time someone posts “Help. how do I do this?” gives me a chance to learn more, and to help others while helping myself. At times this may be something I’m also working on, getting it so that I can clearly explain “How” to another is forcing me to be more through, and not cut corners.

To be honest I have only watched 1 of Randy’s videos that being on “How to charge for your time” or something similar. I plan on watching and working through more (when I’m not doing something else) so that when someone says “I’m doing the ???? and can’t get this to work” I will know what they are doing and be able to help them also.

 A large part of helping another is interpreting what they actually need from what they have posted. This can be very cryptic at times, but very rewarding when you get that enthusiastic “Thank you”

5. What are your goals?

Continue to learn and help others more. To get paid!!!! For the last 15 years I’ve been a single parent/grandparent and volunteer.

6. What advice can you give to our members?

Don’t stop “Playing”! Don’t stop learning! Teach someone else! Find a project that interests you, convert it from another platform (if applicable), improve it if you can. If it interests you then you will keep going with it when you bit a bump.

Find someone that knows less than you and help them learn. Help others in the group/s that you are in, thereby re-enforcing your knowledge, or learning something new along the way. If an answer has already been given, and accepted, but might not be presented clearly, then expand on it, give some credit to the other answer, but fill in the gaps. Test your answers, and show how you got there. If you know you are on the right path, but can’t get it to work, then say that also, and ask for someone to finish it, then test again. Breakdown and explain a complex solution into simpler steps.

Don’t get fixated on a problem, work on something else, sleep on it, take the dog for a walk, think about something else for a while, and come back later.

Remember Google is your friend, as are the groups you may be in, but they do not know what you want, nor see your problem. You must ask the right questions and show what you are trying to achieve, so be logical when you ask, change keywords if you need to.

To get quality answers and help, ask clear logical questions, show your own efforts to help yourself, along with screenshots or sample files of what you have, and the results that you desire. If a formula, or more likely a nested formula is not giving the answer you expect, then share that too.

Enjoy what you are doing, and “PLAY” with it.

Thanks Very Much,

Randy Austin

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