Chandoo's long journey of making people awesome with Excel
Purna Chandra Roa aka Chandoo is the founder of Chandoo.org, which helps people get better at Microsoft Excel. Chandoo launched it in 2004 as a blog, primarily to share new ideas about Microsoft Excel and discuss about the problems he was working on. He is an alumnus of IIM Indore and had a short stint as data analyst in TCS before he decided to take up Chandoo full time in 2010. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in 2009 for educating about Microsoft Excel.
How has your entrepreneurial journey been so far?
It is really exciting. Even as a kid, I always thought that one day I should start something on my own and be my own boss. But when I went into my MBA program, there was a lot of competition. On completing MBA, certain constraints had me looking out for a job. I joined TCS, but my passion never died and I thought one day I would be able to do this. So I worked with TCS for 3 years and quit. So the entrepreneurial journey is something that have been building up even before it started. So far, it has been really exciting and lots of positive things have happened.
How has Chandoo.org helped readers get better at work?
If you go to our website, you’ll find some information about products there. But what we try to do is, we make it a point to publish new things about Excel. With all the new tips and articles, we focus on first helping them learn something new and impress their bosses or their colleagues. I believe that every day, we are helping thousands of people to learn Excel and be superstars in their work. This is what we try to do.
What inspires you to help others with Excel?
We are not here to earn money or make billions of dollars. We are here to help others become awesome at Excel. So everything we do revolves around that. We try to find out whether something that we do will help people become awesome at Excel or not and we focus our efforts in that direction. And as I do it, every day, I keep learning new things.
What are your product offerings?
I have two e-books, which talk about Excel functions and features. We also have ready to use set of Excel files, which can be applied to any area. We have templates on project management and program management. These products help people do their work better and quickly get results without understanding a lot of Excel or building it themselves. Especially for a professional like a project manager who has lot of responsibilities and don’t really have the time to build the tracker or a report or a template, these templates are very useful. That’s the main area that I address with these templates.
We also have online training classes, where we train people on how to work on Excel, reporting on Excel, creating dash boards etc., all sorts of Excel-related technologies in a step-by-step manner.
How can learning Excel help an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, you don’t really have much time or energy to go into many minor details. That said, there are a couple of things that any founder or CEO needs to keep track of. For example, they need to have a good view of their business and understand what is going on and where they are succeeding or failing, which product is working better or where employee’s productivity is low. These kinds of things are important. As my boss used to say, you can only manage those things which you can measure. As you build small teams, it becomes increasingly important that the founder builds a comprehensive report of business and regularly tracks it. They can make a lot of decision themselves using Excel, rather than having it from someone, which takes a week for a report to come to your desk.