normalize, normalize

Believe me, I have complete understanding for why you might not want to tackle that data junk drawer. That being said, I believe there are friendly, empowering, efficient ways to move through a data cleaning process. The first step is a mindset shift from thinking "we have already failed at this aahhhhhhh!" to "this is a normal, friendly, empowering way to take good care of our community!" Let's normalize data cleanup so we don't have to normalize data.

shape shifter

From a downloaded file with weird fonts and titles, wacky colors, no wrapped text, superwide columns, and repeating header rows, I was able to create a useable, sortable, shareable, printable, filterable, not-make-you-want-to-throw-your-computer-out-the-window spreadsheet. And you know what the best part is? You can too!

mixed messages

On one hand, data skills are impossible to learn (and we blame the individual).  On the other hand, companies tell us that advanced coding skills are easy to develop, 1, 2, 3!  How can these be true at the same time?  Who benefits from these messages?  It's classic capitalism doublespeak: make non-data people feel insignificant and intimidated, then sell us a solution to our problem.

I call BULLSHIT on these dynamics and offer 8 tips for wrangling a sloppy spreadsheet that you can use right away!