This is an update about the lack of updates. Sorry to disappoint, I know you saw a new post from David @ Work pop up in your RSS reader and got hot and bothered for some Excel knowledge.
Much to my surprise, people more important than me became aware of my modest Excel and design skills and decided to put them to good use. If this sounds like something that you'd like, I assure you it isn't, but if you're compelled to put your own hand on the stove just leave a bunch of Edward Tufte and Stephen Few books sitting around your desk. I'm pretty sure that's what gave me away.
Back to the point, I now have the task of redesigning nearly every single template that our analytics department uses to be cleaner, more concise, more flexible, more informative, more intuitive, and more aesthetically pleasing. I know enough to fully comprehend the terrifying scope of this task, but not enough to competently complete it. I guess I should probably read all of the books I have sitting around my desk.
So for the next several months I'll be up to my eyeballs with this stuff. All of our clients are different, so we have to account for plans without vision, without dental, with multiple plan designs at multiple locations, with HRAs, with only a few years of experience, and--most problematically--without 12 month plan years. There go all of my mod 12 formulas...
What does this mean for the blog? I won't be updating it. I'm already thinking about the redesign project every waking minute and I'm spending all of my free time reading non-fiction books. I don't have the time or the enthusiasm to keep writing about Excel on top of all of that.
In all seriousness though, this is an exciting opportunity. The transition might be a ton of work, but once the project is done we will have, unquestionably, the sexiest charts in the entire industry. That's my motivation. Because of the nature of our work, the goal of our analytical exhibits isn't just to tell a story with the data, but also to market ourselves to existing and potential clients and reveal our competitors for what they are: amateurs. To paraphrase Batman, this isn't a spreadsheet, it's an operating table. And I am the surgeon.
I do plan to revisit the blog when my life permits. I have an article in my head about creating Conway's Game of Life in Excel using circular references that needs to be written at some point.