Elon Musk (1971)

Who needs Excel?

How 'thinking outside the box' can save money.

Who needs Excel? For a start-up company we received various Excel files with around 40.000 items, which needed to be imported into our database.


Initially, many would decide to use the Excel function library of their particular programming language. So did I.

But since Excel sheets can be very complex it turned out that just reading an Excel file would create a steep learning curve. The programming library contained a ton of different functions for even the most complicated Excel sheets, none of which we needed.


The workaround was very simple. Since the data in Excel had one row for each item, converting each of the 12 files to the CSV format (Comma Separated Values) made it way easier to import. No library needed at all!

Time saved

Probably two weeks.

You might now think "Okay, that's easy. I would have come up with that solution.". You might be right, but in my experience people often do not even consider a short-cut or a workaround when confronted with a problem like this.

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