“Where do you get your inspiration from?” [Solution Saturday #10]

Hi and welcome to another #SolutionsSaturday. I get this question quite often and I am happy to take this opportunity to respond. Many people who have seen my applications and videos have often asked where I get my inspiration from. Many have never thought of Excel as a way to create these solutions. I can break this inspiration down into 3 main points: Curiosity, Listening and Thinking Outside the Box

  1. Curiosity – To be honest, my inspiration comes from everywhere else, other than Excel. I have always had a passion to see how things work and even when I was young I would take them apart and see if I could put them together again.  So much of it is just simple curiosity such as “Can I do this in Excel?” It is that same curiosity that I often find myself looking behind the counter at the store to see what software they are using , or even at a restaurant to see how they input orders. I love to see amazing designs, and when I see great solutions with beautiful designs, my first thought is always “How can I create this solution in Excel”. So a lot of my inspiration comes from being observant and just watching how things are done.
  2. Listening – The other part of my inspiration comes from just listening to others. When people talk about their pains and problems, many people will often tune out, but that is the time I tune in. While many problems are beyond software or my abilities to solve them, I am always listening for pains or problems that I think might be able to be fixed. I will often make a mental or physical note of the pains and possible some ideas on their solution. I then have a nice collection of pains & problems coupled with possible solutions for future programming ideas.
  3. Thinking Outside The Box – Excel is actually just a tool that I use to create my solutions. I don’t think of Excel as a spreadsheet program or a grid with numbers. I think of Excel as a blank canvas in which I can apply my ‘Useful Art’. Keeping this open mind about the possibilities instead of closing myself into the basic uses of Excel, gives me the ability to come up with a lot of interesting, and sometimes crazy ideas. Not all of them are great, but it never stops me from trying.

I hope you as well can gain your inspiration from this short article, regardless of your canvas, I would love to see the art and solutions that you are creating.

Thanks so much,
Randy Austin

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