Life, Excel, Depth

Kenneth Dane Nielson

Zach Power

Writing 150

March 4, 2016

I have chosen to vocally present an idea using excel to express my view of the world and its issues. When we understand what lies beneath the surface of an excel cell we learn of the origin of the expressed number at the surface. Just as the information beneath an excel document expresses to its outside users how it became what it is today, we come to understand the depth and origin of current issues and “different” people as we look past the face value of everyday life and conversation and find what is hidden beneath an individual person or topic.

Excel can be viewed very simply. In fact, excel was created to express large and complex ideas in the simplest form possible. Above the surface, excel expresses very simplistic, even shallow, information. Consider the number “10” in an advanced excel spread sheet. Why is ten the number “10”? How was is created? What does it represent? When we dig beneath the surface of an excel spreadsheet we find a greater complexity, which explains to us how the final value of the cell came to be. For example, was “10” created by adding “5” and “5” or is it the product of “2” and “5”? At face value, without a little digging or explanation, this remains unknown to it users.

Excel is a wonderful creation that allows its users to interact with and connect many different individual logic and math problems. You can relate this to a human life by imagining every cell in excel as being represented by a solitary different experience in a person’s life; the sum of these experiences culminate into what the individual is today. Even the blank cells can be seen as experiences yet to come. Yet, when viewed at the surface we only see a product. We only see what they are in a single moment, we see neither where they have come nor where they are going.

Excel can also be compared with the emotional issues of today. Far too often we as American’s are too quick to judge a sign exposure to an issue without digging. For instance, in the political world I have heard many people say that they hate Donald Trump and/or Hillary Clinton, yet, when asked, they know little of the candidate’s policies or credential. They see only what is at the surface, only that which is being shared on Facebook or Fox news. If we knew who these candidates were deep down and what policies and goals made up their entire candidacy, I believe that many people would be surprised at who they truly support. This same concept can be seen in many other facets of our controversial world; for example refugees, genetically modified organisms, Gun Control, and homosexuality are often addressed, expressed, and argued over with little understanding of what actually lies beneath the “cells.”

My purpose in addressing the class with this excel presentation is to invite those participating to look beneath the surface of emotional social issues and to understand the importance of looking beyond the face value of others in order to understand them in true context.


“7 Fun & Weird Things You Can Create With Microsoft Excel.” MakeUseOf. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <>.

“10 Incredible Works of Art Made in Microsoft Excel.” Mashable. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <>.

“73-Year-Old Man Creates Magnificent Paintings Using Nothing But Excel.” Bored Panda RSS. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <>.

TEDtalksDirector. “Julian Treasure: How to Speak so That People Want to Listen.” YouTube. YouTube, 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <>.

TEDxTalks. “The Surprising Secret to Speaking with Confidence | Caroline Goyder | TEDxBrixton.” YouTube. YouTube, 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <>.

Note: The first three are examples of the use of excel in doing other things like art. The last two are TED talks which helped me prepare and I think the topic match their medium perfectly.