In this installment of Teacher Feature, we sit down with Excel Whiz(ard of) Oz to put a face to the man behind the data curtain. He’s got opinions on everything from why you should take his Excel class to finding work/life balance to Sriracha. Read below to hear more:

Excel can be scary for some people. Why should they take your class?
They should take my Excel class because we’re just Dabbling in the safe, warm waters of Excel. No pressure. One student commented that it was beneficial just to see how someone else uses Excel, and be inside the head of someone as they develop a spreadsheet.

I use practical examples and cover a lot of material to provide insight to possibilities. After the class, a person may not remember how to nest an IF statement inside a VLOOKUP but they’ll know that it exists, what it can do, and have a decent shot at searching for details on how to recreate it.

One student emailed that she’s saving hours now by using pivot tables. Another student is using dropdown boxes and formulas to manage inventory.

They’re 2 people who are now fearless! They’re getting out there in the open ocean!

Have there been any Excel projects you’ve created that you’ve been particularly proud of?
One is a timesheet that not only calculates time worked, it separates break time from work time. It warns if the user tries to load in an end-time that’s earlier than the start-time

The biggest trick: the timesheet checks up to 25 periods of time to ensure that none are overlapping. The employer isn’t going to double-pay if a person claims to have worked 9am to 10am with Client A and 9:50am to 11am, with Client B. No No No! The spreadsheet is designed so that the “submit” button is disabled if someone has overlapping time periods.

That client’s payroll processing dropped from 6 hours down to 90 minutes per week.

Another example is an inventory control system that you can see a demo of on YouTube, here.

One feature is that the system won’t allow someone to request an item that’s not in inventory. If there are just 2 chairs, a user can’t ask for 5.

Major accomplishments?
– Graduated in the 2nd half of my high school class and ended up going to Harvard for grad school
– Founded an international nonprofit
– Harnessed my ADHD for doing good: Excel and Data Management

You have 140 characters to sell us your Dabble class. What do you say?
Excel Formulas! $20 and 2 hours gets you great ease in working with your data. Come see what Excel can do for your efficiency & sanity.

How do you juggle your career and hobbies and find work / life balance?
This is a rough one.

I work in an area that I’m passionate about. I could work during the day and then work on Excel-related blogposts all night. But I’ve got firsthand experience with having been completely burned out by a passion.

One thing I do is keep separation. If I’m working, I’m not watching television. If I’m not working, I consciously give myself permission to be out, to sit in front of the television, to go to a cafe and not take my computer. Sometimes, I’ll accept an invitation to an outing that’s not particularly interesting but I’ll do it to get out and be social and away from spreadsheets and data.

There’s got to be a conscious and clear boundary.

And just for fun … What’s your definition of happiness?
Anything that feels good on my tongue: bourbon, sriracha, flan, a maduro cigar, coffee with cayenne pepper, and Indian cuisine. Oh, yeah!


To learn how to make spreadsheets that are both practical AND sexy, sign up for Oz’s Workshops Formula class here

Oz du Soleil describes himself as a Data Mercenary with more than 10 years of experience with Data Management and Microsoft Excel. In 2008 Oz founded a nonprofit, he also has a passion for custom made hats, playing bass and spicy food.