Prolific author Bill Jelen has written 34 books, and also is the publisher of the Holy Macro! branded books for Excel and Microsoft Office. He is perhaps most known for his active work on MrExcel.com, a site that not only features 450,000 Excel Q&As, but also offers tutorials, resources, a message board, and a wide variety of services (including live ‘Excel Emergency’ phone support). Five podcast episodes are produced weekly for the site, which usually receives 3,000 views on the day of release, followed by an estimated 10,000 views over the first month. In a typical episode, a viewer question is introduced, followed by a demonstration on how Excel can help solve the question at hand.
“I encourage the process to be interactive,” says Bill, “People can send in questions for future episodes. They can also win one of my coveted ‘Excel Master’ enamel pins for sending in a better solution than the one that I’ve shown in a podcast.”
For daily inspiration, Bill is powered by hearing from users who have found his tips to be useful: “I love the e-mails from people who say that they used my daily tips to improve their Excel skills and then turned that into a promotion or a better job. I get one of those e-mails every month,” he reports. In addition, Bill receives much gratification from “…doing a seminar in front of 100 accountants who use Excel 40-60 hours a week, showing them a trick, and listening to 75% of the room gasp.”
When asked to provide advice for other MVPs, especially when it comes to providing feedback, he recommends, “You have the incredible privilege of being a voice for customers who use the product every day. Look for the golden nuggets – those incredible ideas that would make the product dramatically better and politely pass those onto the Excel Project Managers who can get those ideas on the white board. Some ideas will make it to the product. Most won’t. But you have the unique privilege of being able to get ideas to those who can make the call if it is in or not.”
In between Office releases, Bill keeps busy by promoting his books, as well as presenting at seminars, web and podcasts.