Let Me Bore You: Spreadsheets

And it's time for another entry in our practical yet boring columns.  This time I'm going to discuss another exceedingly common and boring thing that's worth knowing how to do in your career.

That thing is Spreadsheets.  Yes, spreadsheets.  Excel.  Columns and rows and sums.  Those things.

And as exciting as they are not to many people (personal note: *I* love spreadsheets), they are something you're going to want to know a lot about, and they're something you're going to want to use.

So.  Let's get boring.

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News of the Day 5/15/2009

A look at the jobs of the future – Erring towards green jobs, but with some interesting insights.

How a Gen Y'er got a dream job in the recession – Some useful personal insight – and he landed a very geeky job!

In parts of Chicago, home foreclosures are now more due to job loss than subprime – Interesting for stats geeks, and a reminder that with multiple crises on top of each other, the effects of one are hard to measure if you just assume.

Web Startups may not need as much from Venture Capital any more – An interesting theory – that is easier to start up, easier to sell off, and in general a case where companies work much faster than they used to.  If this theory holds water, it means more companies are leveraging existing routes, support, markets, and tools – which in turns means existing systems (Salesforce.com, Apple's iPhone Apps store, etc.) in turn become more important to the economy.

Video Games:
Venture Beat's Top 12 trends in video games – Very in depth (and rather positive for the cautious VB).  One of the things I didn't consider is the role of 'backfill' in gaming – which is a huge market I think some are exploiting without knowing it.  Worth reading if you're in, want to be in, or interested in the industry.

Game sales take a hit in April – This may or may not be a sign of a trend, so I present it more as a curiosity and a warning.

– Steven Savage


You've got a lot of tasks to do.  A new resume.  New web page.  A better business card design.  Research.  You're overwhelmed.

So, professional geek that you are, you should consider what I call Fansourcing.

Fansourcing is my name for using your fandom connections to outsource business tasks (or other tasks) and make your life easier – and benefiting your fellow fans.

Your fellow fans may have the skills you need – perhaps even ones they use professionally – to accomplish tasks you don't have time, energy, or skill for.  In fact, you may not have even realized just what they can do – and what they can do for you.

* The person maintaining your club website could help you with a personal site.
* The artist you know may help you with flyers for your band or a design for your new business card.
* The person doing all the schedules for your con booklet may also have the publishing knowledge to help you with a great resume.

Right now you probably know a lot of people that can help you with non-geeky tasks.  You can provide them assistance in return, money, or even a reference for their own business or job search.

On the flipside, don't be adverse to being fansourced yourself, or even volunteering for it.  Fansourcing lets you build contacts, skills, friendships, and maybe even your bank account.

So, before you look outside your circle of friends, fans, and geeks to outsource something, consider a look within – you may be surprised.

– Steven Savage