If I have something that works well I don’t really have any interest in learning something new. It is not that I don’t like to learn. It is just that it took me years to become an efficient user of Word and Excel. I am that person that knows all of their obscure features and uses them. In a business plan that some friends and I just wrote up, I put together the spreadsheets for the financial plan. It was full of detailed formulas that allowed us to change the retail or wholesale price of our product in one place and have the information propagate through the entire five year mock up. It allowed us to adjust our assumptions for the amount of product sold in January while the spreadsheet formulas automatically amended the production hours worked, cost of raw materials, and income made. It was pretty nifty, if I do say so myself.
The point of this is that I come into this wanting everything I have had in the past with the additional capability of sharing these documents more efficiently and any cool new toys that they want to throw in. While I am excited about great new ways of doing things, I am realistic about what it takes to make me a true convert.
Using the tools that I know
After playing with Google Docs and Zoho, the majority of things match up with Excel and Word. One notable exception for me is both are missing the formula feature that uses color to match cells up to the formulas. It is not something that I am willing to be without if I am seriously putting together a spreadsheet.
But then there are some things that are more convenient than my ol’ MS Office Suite 2003. In Zoho, there is very little searching for capabilities like center align or date formatting. Everything is there and super easy to use. In Google Docs, they provide the ability to sort your columns at the column headers without having to add in the capability. Also, they have a section called “gadgets” which seems fun…there isn’t anything in there that looks immediately essential…but there is entertaining stuff like an image that is linked to a field that shows an image of a stack of money associated with the field or gauges that show the red, yellow, and green zones along with a needle pointing to the appropriate value. There is also a Form feature that I think has the potential to be very handy.
Sharing these tools with others
So, I haven’t tested this as much as I would like…..but I do like that my friends, one of which has a Mac can look at the spreadsheet. Also, if I had thought of this a little earlier it would have saved on copies galore of the business plan floating around.
Cool new stuff
I’d like to go into this more…but I have already been entirely too wordy (as usual). So, I am just going to point out that I may be a convert to the day planner and task lists on Google. They link to my iPhone and I don’t have to populate my iPhone with all of the contacts and Outlook items associated with work as that would just be too much. . I love lists. I love my iPhone. I do believe that this is a match made in heaven.