Launch Excel – The Personal Story

Last updated on November 14, 2011 By

Launch Excel is a website about learning and using Microsoft Excel. Most of the contents you find here comes from me – Victor. You’ll find that Launch Excel is not a tips and tricks site, though let me say I have nothing against blogs that show you tip after tip after tip – they’re neat and definitely have their place on the internet. No, instead I have a clear vision that Launch Excel will be a site to help you use Microsoft Excel more effectively through videos, mind maps, downloads and focused how-to articles. If you want to find out the story of who’s behind Launch Excel, read this article.

Simple Beginnings

Hi, my name’s Victor and I used to work a regular day job in the finance department of a world class UK technology company headquartered in Cambridge, UK. There were many things I liked about my job but the thing that kept me interested day after day was working with Microsoft Excel and learning new ways to use Excel. Early in 2011 I asked myself a question that drove me to search the internet far and wide:

What is the best way to learn Microsoft Excel?

I came across dozens of good Excel tutorials on Youtube offering entertaining educational material. And of course I found some great Excel websites and books. So I decided to start my own blog and write an article about learning Excel to try to capture some of what I found. You can read that article “The Best Way to learn Excel” by clicking here.

On my search I discovered some eye-opening stuff

On my search I discovered eye-opening stuff. For example the “up-side-down” classroom concept that was being promoted by online learning provider Khan Academy,

where students view online lessons at home and do “homework” problems in class where teachers are there to help. Although this wasn’t specifically Excel training, I saw that the concept of online lessons had a lot going for it – for one it’s possible to view, fast forward, rewind and repeat an online class as much as you want. Try doing that with even the most patient classroom teacher!

Birth pains for Launch Excel

I was doing alright in my day job, but felt a strong call to do something more with my skills with Excel. I felt that I could add something more to the online Excel conversation. Having used Excel for a decade, I’ve had time to collect some ideas and thoughts about how to learn Excel. In fact there are many things I wish I had known about Excel at the start of my finance career, and I only found these out after years of work thanks to the power of Google searches and the generosity of online writers sharing their knowledge of Excel.

Towards the end of 2011 I decided that I would pursue the ever-stronger calling of Excel, and so I handed in my resignation letter, left my comfortable 9 to 5 day job and headed into the big unknown. This wasn’t an easy decision to make as my day job had been my sole source of income. Plus my wife and I have an adorable 3 year old son to look after.

“No income” + “Lots of expenses” = “Time to hope and pray!”

I know that there are a lot of you out there who can benefit from guidance on how to learn and use Excel, and that knowledge keeps me working on Launch Excel.

Prior to setting up the Launch Excel website I did not have any experience running a website. So I plunged myself into learning about WordPress and web hosting and HTML and site design. I spent lots of late nights trying to get things off the ground and create a friendly site that would be easy to navigate. HTML, WordPress, FTP programs were all swimming in my head. For a chartered accountant trained in finance and Excel, this was way outside my familiar comfort zone.

A new Hope: Headway Theme

Eventually I found the Headway Theme for WordPress. This gives web designers the power to customize the look and feel of their site with simple drag and drop actions. What a lifesaver! I highly recommend looking into this Theme if you are interested in creating customized WordPress sites. There are other great WordPress themes out there such as Thesis, but I went for Headway for its drag and drop simplicity.

Check out the Headway


Special Note (Nov-14 2011): The creators are about to release version 3.0 and will increase the price from November 26th (the day after US thanksgiving). To find out more about Headway before the price increase, I would advise you to check out their site, click on this link to visit it.

From the Headway Theme site you’ll see videos of the Theme in action. If you make a purchase on the Headway site after clicking through any of my affiliate links on this site, I will get a small commission from Headway. But please know that I only recommend 3rd party products that I’ve used and trust myself. In fact I’d only recommend a product on this site that I’d recommend to my close friends.

My passion for learning about Excel and sharing this knowledge with others keeps me going with Launch Excel – I want to make this website into the place to be for people who want to use Excel more effectively.

If you have any comments or suggestions on things I could do or tools I could use to improve the website, I’d be happy to know. Leave your comments below the email form.

What to do next

If you haven’t read the article that started it all off, go on and check it out. You can read that article “The Best Way to learn Excel” by clicking here. In a future article I expand on the vision for Launch Excel and hint at what’s on the horizon.


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Hey, I'm Victor Chan

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