1978: Spreadsheets = Sorcery

Hjalmar Gislason
Mar 17, 2019 · 2 min read

This post has also been published on the GRID Blog.

The “father of the spreadsheet” — Dan Bricklin — recently presented remotely for a group of college students at Carnegie Mellon.

The video is just over an hour long and includes a lot of interesting information for fellow data and spreadsheet enthusiasts. In case you don’t have the time to watch the whole thing, at least check out the core of the VisiCalc demo between 12:45 and 23:30 or so:

Click the screenshot to go to the presentation

Two things stand out for me:

  1. Imagine what kind of sorcery this was in a day and age where all calculations were done using paper, pencil and an electronic calculator!
  2. It’s amazing how many of Bricklin’s early, and sometimes somewhat arbitrary, decisions on syntax, format and interaction still survive in today’s spreadsheets.

GRID’s mission is to empower people to think and communicate on the fly using data and numbers, as naturally as they do with words and text.

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GRID — the new face of spreadsheets

Thoughts about the nature, ubiquity and importance of…

Hjalmar Gislason

Written by

Adventures in data. Founder and CEO of GRID (@grid_hq). Proud data nerd. Curious about everything. Founder of 5 software companies.

GRID — the new face of spreadsheets

Thoughts about the nature, ubiquity and importance of spreadsheets — and how to improve them.

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