Foreign Policy: How Not to Kill People With Spreadsheets

Remember how I turned around a hot take on the Twitter Bitcoin scammer in 24 hours? Well, James Palmer asked me for another!

Commissioned Monday, delivered Tuesday, and up this evening — How Not to Kill People With Spreadsheets: The U.K. government’s disastrous coronavirus error is another example of outsourcing gone wrong.

No cryptos or blockchains, but you may enjoy it anyway. I can write other things!

I was tremendously helped with this one by friends on Facebook, who all had Excel horror stories to tell. [Facebook]

Pass this story along to your favourite beleaguered bureaucrat — the secret takeaway is that Site Reliability Engineering is a whole new vocabulary for systematised backside-covering in the face of adversity. [Google]

One technical error slipped in during editing — LibreOffice doesn’t automatically fix Excel errors, it has alternate correct formulae you can use instead of the broken Excel ones. (I’ve flagged it to the editor.)

They also used a photo, and not the Heath Robinson picture I suggested. [Wikimedia Commons] Figure 1 (below): every business-critical Excel sheet, ever.


(I swear, DAGGER~1.XLS just slipped)

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