Oz Du Soleil brings joy and excitement to Excel
Oz du Soleil, an Excel MVP, is a true Excel hero and easily worthy of wearing his underpants on the outside of his pants… a true superhero in the Excel communities. His superpower is bringing charisma, storytelling, and flare to Microsoft Excel. From videos, to training, to presentations, he continues to bring a sense of excitement to something that many find dull. I got the chance to call him and ask him some questions relating to his interactions with the wider Excel community.
What was your motivation to start with the lively content side of Excel?
“I remember my very first video, I didn’t even like my voice, so I did a silent video just using my mouse to point out what needed to happen. I realized pretty soon that I hate watching videos like that, and I don’t want to make something that I wouldn’t like to watch. I would rather hear someone, even someone with an annoying voice, talk to me like “watch cell C9, I’m gonna go over here and drag this” because that helps me. At the time I was doing some improv and stand up stuff, and I decided to implement that into my videos. I started to do more with storytelling. I was working on this old free video software, and I couldn’t even do picture-in-picture and there were very limited transitions but I was digging it, and people really started to respond. But I also decided that if I’m going to do this regularly, I have to enjoy it as well.”
Of course we all know doing something you love is important, but from my experience content creators run into creative ruts, so I asked him:
Where do the ideas for new videos and content generally come from?
“I kinda pride myself on starting off my videos with “Here’s Uncle Oz back to warn you for this or that,” that’s so important because I think it’s not talked about enough. I try to warn people for the pitfalls and what to do when something does go wrong or doesn’t work the way you want it to. I run into all kinds of problems in my own consulting work, video tutoring, and on the forums. I feel like I have a good connection with my audience and really try to talk about and work through real life data situations that they might run into.”
I love that Oz takes real situations that he runs into and sees other people run into and builds his content around that. I assume he’s heard and seen some pretty crazy stuff so I asked:
What’s one memorable interaction you’ve had with someone in the Excel world?
“I went to Bulgaria and I was going to teach a masterclass. Before the class there was this guy and he was all excited, he said he had managed to get a ticket just that day because he had just found out I was teaching. He said to me just before the class “after this class we’re going to get to wear our underpants on the outside of our pants right?” I just started laughing so hard because he was referencing an old video I’d made where I said, “after this video you will be a real Excel superhero and you will earn the right to wear your underwear on the outside!” That just stands out to me, I think about that a lot, the global Excel community, that I can go to Bulgaria and have people quote stuff back to me from my own videos.”
Beyond amazing as an affirmation of the fact that not only is Excel a global community, it’s also a fun one! But still, Excel has a dated, old school connotation to it for me, and that doesn’t match Oz’s lively character, so:
Oz, why do you continue to work in Excel?
“Well for me it’s not about Excel, it’s about the people. Excel is this tool that so many people around the world use, whether they like it or not, and that’s what they use, that’s what I use, it’s my career. For me to bring that joy and excitement to Excel it just makes sense, not because of Excel but because that’s the best way for me to reach people.”
I loved this approach and it surprised me a bit. His focus really is to connect with people, help them, and enjoy himself in the process. I felt he must have learned this from somewhere, had some example of what it looks like to help others:
You help so many people, but who helped you in the beginning?
“I would love to shout out Jordan Goldmeier and Rick Grantham from Excel TV for bringing me in when I didn’t know that anybody knew who I was. Also a big shout out goes to Bill Jelen for being an example to me of what was possible as far as making a career around Excel with books and content. When I first reached out to him I was in a tough spot financially and I was able to trust him and tell the truth. I asked for advice and guidance on getting more clients. He said he didn’t have advice on finding clients, his world is writing books. He ended up giving me a chance to update one of his books and that’s really kind of where it all started.”
This was quite emotional for me and it was clear to see Oz du Soleil really respects and appreciates those that invested in him. He went on to share that he really appreciates that Bill was upfront in sharing that his own success had a few moments of good luck. Oz explained that this was so much more helpful for him than all the “romanticized” ideas of success that you see in movies.
It looks like Oz has had many moments of good luck himself, with 26 thousand followers on his YouTube channel, Excel on fire, he’s an author, a trainer and instructor with courses on LinkedIn, world renowned speaker, and a Microsoft Excel MVP. Find out more about Oz du Soleil here and follow him for more incredible content!