A 2002 music video turned a spreadsheet into a chat app, but the real-life ingenuity is even more inspiring.
At long last, the mystery of Nelly and Kelly Rowland’s use of Excel spreadsheets has finally been solved.
If you weren’t a fan of Nelly, a rapper best known for his hit single “Hot In Herre” in the early Aughts, you may not even be aware of a collaboration he did with Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland called “Dilemma,” much less the video that was produced to promote it. For those who saw it, however, there has always been one thing that didn’t seem to make any sense. Time magazine explains:
In his 2002 video for the song “Dilemma,” his love interest Kelly Rowland contacts him using the decidedly labor-intensive method of texting in a method usually reserved for accountants’ files (a spreadsheet). Nelly, however, stands by his decision nearly 14 years later. During an interview with Australia’s The Project, he even defends it. “That was the thing at the time,” he said. “That was the new technology at the time. It looks a little dated now, I can see it.”
Remember when Kelly Rowland texted her boyfriend via Microsoft Excel and got mad he didn't text back? pic.twitter.com/wmja5MehYC
— FunnyPicsDepot (@FunnyPicsDepot) May 26, 2014
In fact, the use of Excel here doesn’t look dated so much as out of place, with the words “WHERE YOU AT? HOLLA WHEN YOU ARE FREE” appearing across a series of spreadsheet cells. On the other hand, Nelly’s video reflects how versatile Excel users have long seen the product — and how many continue to see it.
Australia’s Pulse IT magazine, for example, recently came across an ingenious way of using Excel that could not only automate and make labour-intensive work more efficient, but potentially save lives.
“A team from the Northern Territory’s Top En Health Service is using a clever, in-house designed system that combines reports from the pathology and prescribing databases in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, processes them through a series of rules and is then able to identify potentially life-threatening drug-bug or dose mismatches,” the article said. “The system is also capable of creating an individualized report for each prescriber showing them where or why things might have gone wrong.”
At first, this might seem as incongruous as Nelly’s use of Excel. After all, aren’t spreadsheets routinely called cumbersome, antiquated and unfit for sophisticated analysis from all kinds of “experts?” Instead, Top En Health Service offers a good reminder that Excel can be a platform for innovation, speeding up decision-making and ultimately making better decisions. This is becoming even easier for areas like finance, sales and marketing organizations. The only dilemma is how quickly you can move to start enjoying the benefits.