About

I help intermediate and advanced Excel users to beat deadlines by following proven formulas, macros, pivottables blueprints backed by a deep understanding of core concepts…without spending a fortune in Excel training

My no-nonsense approach for beating Excel

For me, Excel sucks and here’s why…

…Excel locks us in. We strive to break free from soul-crushing deadlines but Excel fosters data consumption, data corruption, and data overload.

And Microsoft keeps us learning a myriad of functions and commands we might never use.

I don’t want to be an Excel expert. I write fiction and non-fiction, I want to devote time to learn to play guitar, I want to spend more time with my kids, I don’t want to be a frustrated wannabe surfer or writer or guitar player. And I am sure you too want to experience life fully!

We need to escape this trap using macros, blueprints, pivottables, etc…and a simplified approach.

My community is formed by people who want to simplify their workflow and be ahead of deadlines…and yes, be respected as authorities.

We enjoy learning but we have a practical sense as well.

You are going to get the respect of your boss and peers when you use Excel to get things done. Most people don’t care about your Excel knowledge if you can do a cartoon with macros, or if you read all the Excel books or watched all the Youtube tutorials. Your boss and coworkers (and you) care if you deliver results. That is true Excel power!

This needs a different mindset and skillset.

Here’s my no-nonsense approach to mastering Excel.

  1. Learn the Excel and computer fundamentals that keep your mind clear and responsive to challenges
  2. Develop the Blueprints to systematize your knowledge and results
  3. Learn Excel using simple language and analogies you can understand and enjoy

How my Excel journey began

Being a full-fledged Excel user changed my life. I gained the confidence to face complex projects. I started beating deadline after deadline. I became able to express myself through data. And I gained the respect of important people in my corporate career.

Being entrepreneurial-wired, I quit my job at this big multinational construction company and started my first business, an infobusiness that helps professionals become full-fledged Excel users.

In this little corner of the world, I became John Franco, the Excel author of many courses like Master of Macros, Master Of PivotTables, Master Of Megaformulas, How To Design Excel Dashboards, The Essential Library Of Excel Macros For Busy Professionals, How To Save Maximum Time In Excel With Minimum VBA Knowledge And Macro Coding, etc.

Since 2009, I bring a fresh and intuitive approach to teaching and learning Excel online to more than 10000 subscribers and more than 1000 customers from all over the world.

I was born in Ecuador, married with two children.

The story of the Excel Guru Blueprints community can be traced back to 2009 when I started my first Excel training site called excel-spreadsheet-authors.com, which evolved into excelcream.com, and then into wizdoh.com and then into excelgurusacademy.com on July 2019 and then into excelgurublueprints.com on Dec 2019.

My subscribers remember I have quit teaching Excel many times on my quest to pursue my other passions, writing fiction and non-fiction, farming, developing software and starting new businesses, traveling. Patience is not my virtue. I realized that I should focus on one business at a time. And that I should finish the job first before moving into something else.  My Excel job is not finished yet so here I am.

In just a moment, I will share with you some details of how I fell in love with Microsoft Excel and spreadsheet thinking…

Here’s what shaped my Excel passion and skills…

This is the story of how I arrived at this level of mastery and confidence. So, please read on.

Turning point #1 – My Excel-maven boss stretched my Excel limits

For over seven years, I worked as a Civil Engineer for a Brazilian construction corporation, one the 50th largest construction contracting firm from around the world according to Engineering News Record 2008).

During that time, I had an Excel Maven Boss named Nilton. He was one of those old-school Excel gurus who was capable of building advanced applications and dashboards without using VBA. He preferred the keyboard more than the mouse to navigate his workbooks. He hated pivottables (because he never understood them) and hates the company BI corporate software to the point of wanting to tear it down. 

His almost “religious fervor” for Excel, his amazing knowledge, and the prestige and power of Excel gurus in the office, were the source of my great interest in Spreadsheets.

Turning point #2 – Big Excel projects took my skills to the next level

To be hired by this company, I was challenged to improve an Excel Spreadsheet model done by a Brazilian expert in the field of pipe networks. It was a specific improvement for calculating and optimizing diameters in a large pipe network of an Ecuador Government Irrigation Project.

I was 23 years old.  It was more than scary! If the pipe network size were optimized by my spreadsheet model, then I would be hired…

With my Excel level, I was unable to get it done but I was determined to get the job, so I started to research and study how to make it. I worked hard to build the model, I learned a lot from the professor’s model. To be brief… In the end, the model performed the iterations, but the optimization was far from the company’s goals. Anyway, they saw potential in my work and I was hired.  This initial contact with spreadsheets was very challenging but a great source of education for me, and so this is how I discovered the power of Excel.

Turning point #3 – My life got better and better

During all these years I experienced the professional benefits of using Excel. Being skilled in Excel gives you a tremendous advantage at the office, career and in your personal life!

  • I was promoted
  • My job satisfaction increased because I automated all the boring tasks and left the meaningful duties for me
  • I got many many promotions due to my efficiency to work with data and information
  • I started my Excel blog (I had the confidence to quit my job)
  • …and so much more!

CRITICAL TURNING POINT! – I started creating fool-proof spreadsheets

Before working for this company, I used to work with small projects, where I was the single person involved in the data collection and presentation. I structured the data to suit my needs, I prepared the reports the way I wanted. This comfort disappeared when I started working with multiple users manipulating and requesting data.

No matter how hard I worked, the changing-information ruined my work. Then I developed my “Excel dynamic mindset”. Since then, I can deal with change very effectively…

  • I started using VLOOKUP to find information even when people moved it from row to row, column to column or sheet to sheet
  • I started using VBA macros to make incoming-data complies with my preferences, to produced consistent output every time and more
  • I wrote Excel formulas only once and they kept working even when users change parameters or move data
  • and much more…

The aftermath

Since then, I became a very loyal Excel Lover and Enthusiast!  Having always been very entrepreneurial, I quit my job at Norberto Odebrecht to devote my full passion and knowledge of advanced Excel methods, and share it with others around the world who can benefit from it.

Read my in-depth Excel articles or join my Excel Guru Blueprints Community.

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