Excel-killer watch

This stuff has been popping up in my spreadsheet-error news feed, and these companies usually either find a special niche where they can eke out an existence… or die themselves. [or get bought out by Microsoft, but I haven’t seen that in the Excel-adjacent sphere]

I don’t mind sharing their start-up hype:

Excel and Google Sheets can only address pure ‘number crunching’ in a limited way. A new UK startup, Causal hopes to tackle this issue and has now raised a $4.2 million seed round led by Accel. Existing investors Coatue, Passion Capital, Verissimo Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Varadh Jain and others, also participated. The raise brings Causal’s total funding to $5.5 million, which the company will use to grow the engineering team and launch on Product Hunt next month.

Despite the fact that spreadsheets are crucial to normal business operations, there are multiple use cases for sales teams, finances teams etc, all of which are very different. Causal hopes to address these with a more data-driven, collaborative approach.>

Founded in 2019 by Taimur Abdaal and Lukas Koebis, Causal is “aiming to replace Excel” by starting with the spreadsheet’s foundation: formulas”. Causal says its formulas “read like plain English” such “as Profit = Revenue – Costs” and also claims it typically takes “100x fewer formulas” in Causal to build exactly the same model in Excel.

… except you can do formulas like that in Excel, if you use named ranges or, even better, data tables.

Good luck, guys.


“The value that is returned when you identify the position of a value in an array and then look down a different array for the same position and then move to the right five columns”


And here I was, thinking, “who even wants Excel on their watch? That screen is TINY!”


Mistake-prone humans with spreadsheets are just willing to do things at a price point where poor quality is tolerable.

1 Like

Yeah, I was thinking about the ambiguity of the thread title…

… and went with it anyway

And what is the formula for that??

1 Like

this is the trend of constantly dumbing down software coding to the lowest common denominator. and the lcd is also trending down

at my former company (non insurance), I was mocked for being good at excel (“this is Chewie, he’s an excel guy haha”). Everyone was on the Tableau bandwagon. And I was actually better at Tableau than 90% of the peeps there

1 Like

I’ve tried Tableau, and didn’t much like it, but then my company doesn’t have a license.

We do have Power BI, and I can use that if need be.

Tableau is for people who like visualization and bells and whistles over interpreting numerical results

management vs donkeys

There’s definitely a difference in preference based on whether you’re the one who has to build the stuff, or you’re the one playing around with the results in a dashboard.

And I’m dropping this here, just because:

“Twenty years from now, we’ll still have Excel… but it will be a much smaller user base,” predicts Louise. To thrive (rather than just survive), she says Excel needs a “dramatic makeover” to appeal to a broader swath of novice and intermediate users.

But don’t expect veteran finance executives to give up their devotion to the treasured spreadsheet program. As most would probably say, “Excel is not perfect, but it’s ours.”

I think I shared this one before

Here’s yet another “stop using Excel!” article

Okay, this made me laugh:

  • Disparate data sources equal data chaos: You can’t accurately measure or analyse your data without bringing it all together. ’Data chaos’ occurs when your data is disparate and difficult to merge. Manually copying and pasting data from spreadsheet to spreadsheet is time-consuming, manual, and very frustrating. It can be prone to human error, like in the case of Fidelity Investments, whose error of missing a minus sign led to a $1.3 billion loss being reported as a gain and a mistaken year-end payment promise to its shareholders!

That “error of a missing minus sign” was from… 1995.

Seriously, you couldn’t use a more recent example? Or maybe people have improved their processes, so this doesn’t happen so much anymore… I mean, obviously Excel (or Lotus 1-2-3) managed the bad press, as did Fidelity.

Then there’s this:

Moving away from spreadsheets will also help your employees avoid opening malicious spreadsheets from hackers. It’s well-established that most cyber-attacks start with an email, and 48% of those emails have a malicious Office document like a spreadsheet attached. If your people don’t have to rely on sharing data in Excel, they can more easily spot suspicious attachments.

I’m much more likely to have a PDF attached to an email, or even a Word doc, not a spreadsheet. I am skeptical that spreadsheets per se are the problem here.

Jeez, I could write a better article against spreadsheets.

This is the company of the author:

It seems the company itself has no issue with the Office suite:

having used both excel and tableau, I would say excel is more like a sketch pad and tableau is more like a canvas.

also, u can’t do any kind of real modeling in tableau, it’s primarily for visualization and slice and dice

so true, and whether you’re the one interpreting the numbers or the one presenting them to upper management

The article “Excel Never Dies” reminded me about the historical spreadsheet wars and all of the programs that ultimately could not sustain themselves like Quatro Pro, Supercalc, Symphony and Lotus 1-2-3.

I am not normally a conspiracy theorist. But I was using several spreadsheet programs in the late 1980s and 1990’s. The facts were evident to me: Microsoft first cornered the market on operating systems with Windows 3.1 by 1992. They had a spreadsheet program called Excel to market, even though Lotus 1-2-3 was the market leader at the time. But somehow, L-123 just wasn’t stable in a Windows environment. It crashed a lot. Funny how Excel didn’t crash nearly as much. Coincidence? Or did Microsoft have a vested interest in preventing L-123 from performing in a stable fashion in Windows? I don’t think Excel “won” the spreadsheet wars by being a far superior product. I believe it outlasted the others by virtue of Windows being built around Excel stability.

1 Like

Excel >>> Apple’s Numbers

I can’t seem to do anything with Numbers besides manually typing stuff in