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Can Microsoft Excel Save Italy?

Newbie leader of Italy’s centre-left PD party Matteo Renzi thinks Excel might help get Italy back on track. Indeed, he wants Italy’s government to take the revolutionary step of adopting Microsoft’s well-known spreadsheet application, Excel, to help keep track of Italy’s objectives. Renzi really is the Great Reformer!

That a politician in 21st century Italy is suggesting the use of Excel demonstrates just how technologically backward Italy’s ruling classes are.

Actually, one wonders how many of Italy’s politicians know what Excel is. Some of the older members of Italy’s parliament probably think Excel is a model of car. It was, but the maker of the now extinct Lotus Excel car never had anything to do with the creators of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet application – yes, I am that old, folks. Sorry, I digress. I really should be celebrating Italy’s discovery, albeit several decades too late, of the joys of Excel.

Now that the existence of Excel has been officially acknowledged by Renzi, Italy can probably expect its government to create an Excel commission, once, that is, it has worked out how to switch on a PC. Before setting up the commission, Italy’s often technologically challenged members of parliament will probably need to fork taxpayers money out on the Italian edition of Excel for dummies. Italy’s over-burdened taxpayers, all three of them, will then have to pay for Excel training courses.

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Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.

Eventually, after 10 years or so of training, Italy’s politicians and their erstwhile family assistants may be able to use Excel constructively. Whether Italy will have gone down the plughole long before the politicians have got to grip with the joys of Excel remains to be seen. I’d love to see Italy’s supposed leaders come to terms with if/and/or formulas, that’d be a scream! One strongly suspects that many of Italy’s older politicos would probably think Excel’s goal seek function has something to do with football and then, after placing a few bets, attempt use it to predict the outcome of Milan v Roma footie games!

Foreign journalists can amuse themselves by asking Italy’s politicians and civil servants how to say spreadsheet in Italian, or, even better, how to say foglio elettronico in English. After asking that simple enough question, they can then stand back and watch the furrowed brows and be amused by responses like ‘electronic shit?’

So, if the commission is actually set up and the training courses are effective, Excel electronic shits may help save Italy, though not for 10 years or so 😉

As a matter of interest, this blogger has been using spreadsheets since the late 1980s, and is still using them now. Curious though it may seem, the creation of spreadsheets has earned me a few pay rises. Spreadsheets are incredibly useful tools, at least I think so. Not sure Italy’s managers would agree though.


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