Happy 25th Birthday Excel – watch the geeky start to this incredible application

How many of you actually noticed or read in the press that Microsoft Excel turned 25 years old recently. No? me neither! What is it about this application that it very easily doubles as a  ubiquitous source of productivity around the globe while typically just masquerading as just another innocuous spreadsheet application. What is it about Excel that every business is so hooked on it, from the Mom and Pop shop where we do our dry cleaning or buy our fish and chips for our family,  to the multi-national conglomerate that runs its global budgeting and reporting infrastructure on a sophisticated and entangled web of linked workbooks and worksheets. I know there will be CFO’s out there that will snigger at the suggestion that a respected corporate would possibly think about using Excel as their base, but I have seen it all too often, and yet everyone is in denial about it. It’s like the brother in jail that no one wants to talk about.

If it weren’t for the computer geek pics reflecting the innocence of Bill Gates in the 80’s in this short video on the first 25 years of Excel, I would swear that he actually started out with intentions of being world’s most powerful drug boss. Excel his drug, it’s distributed via PC and inhaled and ingested in so many ways it is inconceivable to even try and comprehend its effect on a user. His cartel spans geographies, societies, institutions and groups the likes of which Mexican drug lords can only dream about. I am fortunate that I work every day with very smart people that know this application exceptionally well and I am constantly awed by how little I know and at just how powerful Excel is – if I’m lucky my knowledge probably doesn’t extend beyond 5% of the full features and functionality of the application.  

So where to in the next 25 years? Is it thinkable that there may one day come a time that Excel gets out-played in the spreadsheet space, not likely, but never say never in software. Love them or hate them , Microsoft have in Excel a pure gem of thought leadership, technical advancement, clever functionality and increasingly sexy and simple stuff for end users. It’s a tough addiction to break.

Happy Birthday Excel..