Chapter 16   The Cell Master.  Laurent Longre  from Lyon, France

interview date:2.Sep.2003
Please introduce your self. You may be as thorough as you wish. Feel free to include or omit any detail about yourself.
I am 35 years old and I live in Lyon (France). I have a diploma of applied statistics and a diploma of political sciences.
I worked during 7 years in a public health association as statistician. Now I am developing a management software with 2 collaborators.

I used for the first time a computer toward the age of 12-13 years. I programmed some games in ASM (Z-80).
I translated "manually" the mnemonics in hexadecimal codes. It was awfully difficult, but taught me to be very rigorous.
Later I abandoned this occupation because I preferred music, literature, philosophy... I recovered the pleasure to program several years after.

When do you remember using Excel for the very first time? Can you remember any specific details from that first time?
I think that it was at the end of the year 1993.
I applied for a job and I pretended to my future employer that I worked with Excel since many years, which was required in this office. In fact I had never used it and I only knew that it was a calculator. When I got this job, I read the 500 pages of the manual in only one night. : -)

When do you remember writing your first formula or VBA code for Excel?
My first formula in 1993, my first VBA code one year later.
I was not very interested by formulas, except when I discovered array formulas and custom functions.
I quickly discovered some undocumented uses of OFFSET, FREQUENCY, INDIRECT, COUNTIF and so on. In 1995 or 1996 I discovered the newsgroups and I had the pleasure to share experiences with great "excelists" like Stephen Bullen, Jim Rech, Chip Pearson... There was a lot to discover on Excel at this time. Maybe some features that its authors had not even considered?

On average, how many hours per day do you spend working with Excel formulas and/or VBA code?
More than 8 hours per day when it was my work tool. A lot less now because I essentially work with VB.NET.

Which do you find most rewarding to work with: Formulas or VBA in Excel? Please tell us why?
With formulas. I agree with Aladin, Excel is always and essentially a spreadsheet, although Microsoft seems to forget it (nearly no built-in function has been added or updated since Excel 5). Formulae require IMHO more cleverness. XLL's are also rewarding, but not very popular. Nevertheless I like VBA too !

If you were going to give a novice, just starting out with Excel, some advice, what would it be?
"Always keep in mind that Excel is not a boring calculator, but a funny game." : -)

Please provide a sample of your first work (either as a formula or vba code) in Excel and tell us about it.
Sorry, I don't remember, it is too long ago. :-(

Probably = A1+A2? :-(((((

What is your mental attitude when you are preparing to write formulae or VBA code? And what is your working environment?
My mental attitude? Well, a sort of mental kama-sutra, I think. :-)

If there special preparations that must be in place before you can begin, what are they?

Pfffff, it is too difficult to answer this question in English.

Do you speak French? : -)

Finally, please give us something to think about - a reminder of your words here; a phrase that has helped you; a link to your own website. Anything that you think is important for the readers to remember.
My Web site:,, And a nice quote of Doug Larson : "Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."

Thank you very much for answering the questions.

This Black belt is yours...

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