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September 23, 2023

The Very First Microsoft Excel Ad Was Even More Clairvoyant Than Anyone Could Have Known

Human beings spend, on average, a third of their lifetime sleeping. They spend six total years eating, four years cleaning the house and a little over a year on the toilet. 

If only someone would do a study to determine how many years the average spreadsheet jockey spends with their nose buried in multiple Excel sheets. I'm willing to bet it definitely surpasses time spent in the can, if not time spent in bed.

Stuff Accountants Like sums it up perfectly:

If you were to approach an accountant at work, you will find multiple excel spreadsheets open. Even more spreadsheets can be found if they have a dual monitor setup. Accountants feel more comfortable with Excel than most things in their lives.

When the first PC version of Excel launched in 1987 (following the unsuccessful release of Microsoft's first spreadsheet program called Multiplan in 1982, which couldn't compete with the then way more popular Lotus 1-2-3), it is doubtful that even Microsoft realized how important Excel would become to many accountants who now proudly call themselves Spreedsheet Queens and Excel Ninjas. Sure, they knew accountants would use it but did they realize how obsessed with it some would become? Some Excel-happy accountants even feel compelled to have discussions about just how much they love Excel, and I'm sure conversations along these lines are going on in a cube near you as we speak. "Bro, where should we have lunch?" "I dunno, but I have an Excel formula to figure it out!"

So when I stumbled across Excel's first ad, I couldn't help but feel that perhaps Microsoft did completely understand the power of Excel and how it would shape the lives (or lack thereof) of accountants everywhere, cluttering up dual monitors with hundreds of thousands of rows of sweet, sweet numbers even 25 years later.

(via Retronaut)

"Microsoft Excel. The soul of the new machines. And the heart of a business solution that will make as much sense five years from now as it does today."

Next time you wander by a colleague completely hypnotized by row upon row of data, remember, the new machines have a soul and it is Microsoft Excel.

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