Rich Lopez, aka the “QuantrixAuthority”, Creates YouTube Channel for Quantrix Users

We are always amazed and gratified by our customers’ passion for Quantrix Modeler, but Rich Lopez has taken it to the next level. By day, he works in the finance department of Litehouse Foods, but by night he is YouTube star The Quantrix Authority. His series of three- to five-minute-long how-to videos helps others get the most out of using Quantrix’s multidimensional modeling software, from learning how to snap two matrices horizontally to a canvas, to the benefits of using Timeline for recursion in a model.

How did you get started with Quantrix?

I was introduced to Quantrix when I worked at clothing retailer Coldwater Creek. I used it to build an allocation tool to manage inventory at our 350+ stores. When I moved to Microsoft’s interactive entertainment division, a co-worker and I built a distribution model to ensure that we were getting the Xboxes and games shipped properly. It was during some of the really big

Rich Lopez, the Quantrix Authority
Rich Lopez, the Quantrix Authority

Microsoft launches, like Halo 4 and Windows 8, so we build scenarios for everything we had to manage during the holiday season. We were able to model it down to the daily levels. Quantrix saved my bacon at that job – I could not have done what we needed without it. Now I use Quantrix for financial modeling and capacity modeling for Litehouse.

What inspired you to start making video tutorials about Quantrix Modeler?

I leaned a lot about using Excel from a guy on YouTube called MrExcel. Bill Jelen has more than a thousand videos, and I used to watch him every day. I am a pretty advanced Excel user, but I love Quantrix more. After seeing what MrExcel has done, and seeing how his expertise helped me, I thought I could do something similar to help others with this fantastic software.

How do you choose the topics?

My first video was about the first feature I learned in Quantrix – “Using As.” My mentor taught me that when I started at Coldwater Creek, and it’s basic functionality in Quantrix. Some people at my company are struggling to use certain features of our Quantrix Models, so I’m starting to create videos on topics that will help them.

Who are you targeting?

I am pretty much reaching out to beginners and intermediate users. I am very open to questions – after my second video, I got an email from a Quantrix user in the Ukraine. Just this week someone asked me about using DataLink with .csv files, so I made that video. Whenever someone asks me a question, I try to answer it.

How many videos do you plan to make?

MrExcel has more than 1,000 videos and a forum that everyone knows. I have eight videos online now, and if I get to 100, I know I will have really accomplished something.

I’m following you on Twitter. How famous are you?

Ha ha! On a scale of one to ten, I am probably a “one” in real life. But in the Quantrix world, I hope to one day be about an eight! I am having fun with the videos, and with my Twitter account (@QuantrixAuthor). I have legitimate Quantrix users following me, and I feel like I am rubbing shoulders with some real legends. Some of these people are such power users, and they are telling me to keep making videos. Their feedback is so positive, and it’s great.

Final question – what was your “aha” moment using Quantrix?

It happened at Microsoft. I remember being called into a room by eight managers and having them tell me they needed some specific information, and they wanted it in three days. It could not be done in Excel, so we just pounded out a model in Quantrix. I stayed up until two in the morning a couple of nights, but I developed a model where if the managers wanted to add another distribution center, product line, or launch scenario they just could select a category and hit “enter”. That was it. And I realized then and there that Quantrix Modeler was the coolest tool that has ever been made. Quantrix Forever!

Quantrix Offers Collaborative Environment for Essla International

Essla International is a Quantrix partner, and recently started using the business modeling solution to help its clients with budgeting and financial forecasting. At the 2014 Seminar by the Sea, Ernesto Seijas took some time to share his experiences using Quantrix.

The company had several criteria in mind when it was looking for a new software solution, including connectivity to databases, the ability to manage a lot of data, and multidimensional views and found Quantrix to be the best solution.

In addition to meeting everything on the company’s wish list, Quantrix offered a more collaborative environment. “We can have 20, 30, 50 users inputting data – that’s a major difference,” says Seijas. Other benefits include the speed of calculation and reporting.

Seijas also likes Quantrix’s graphical canvas, as it enables him to display what-if scenarios in a dynamic presentation. This capability enhances the impact of Essla’s work, particularly when sharing with management or company boards.

“Quantrix has the best of many of the software [packages] in the market,” says Seijas. “You have the multidimensional approach. You have the data gathering and databases. And you have the reporting and the [fast] calculations.”

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Is that Season Pass Worth It? Quantrix for Personal Finance

One thing I love to do with my family is to go Alpine skiing. With Quantrix’s HQ in Maine, we can take advantage of some great ski areas. Each year we make a point to ski Sugarloaf, Mt. Abram, Black Mountain of Maine and Shawnee Peak. I even maintain a personal ski blog about our family skiing adventures. Our favorite mountain and where we have a season pass every year is Saddleback located in Rangeley, Maine.

Quantrix's Mike Salisbury finds some fresh stuff on a bluebird day.
Quantrix’s Mike Salisbury finds some fresh stuff on a bluebird day.

Each year about this time, ski areas offer “Early-Bird” pricing on next year’s season pass. The analysis for buying a season’s pass is very multi-dimensional. There is season pass price, purchase time deadlines, age level of passes, day ticket prices and the question of “How many ski-days does it take to pay off a season pass?” And of course I use Quantrix Modeler and the Quantrix Qloud to do this analysis.

With the first purchase deadline approaching, I put a model together quickly with one formula driving the entire calculation. The model is expandable so when new season pass deadline comes, I can easily expand the dimension, add the new pricing figures and the model will just… work. No formula editing or copying and pasting things around. There is also a nice canvas I built to show the model results that has links to the Saddleback website. I use a picture of my son skiing as the canvas image background.

While we market Quantrix as a tool for business, it certainly has many personal finance applications as well.

– Mike

Mike Salisbury is the Sr. Product Manager for Quantrix. In his free time in the winter you can find him somewhere on a ski slope.

Adding Value with Quantrix Modeler Skills

I’ve spoken with many finance executives over the years and a question often comes up – how do I motivate the spreadsheet gurus in our company to embrace a different tool for financial modeling?  This kind of question is not unique to Quantrix; it is often the case in any implementation of new software that people express some reluctance to taking the time to learn a new skill.   One of the reasons in our particular domain is that many individuals who have gained mastery in spreadsheets feel that part of the value they provide to their company is being the “go-to” person whenever anyone has a question about how to do something.  They have spent many years learning how to make spreadsheets do things they weren’t necessarily designed to do.  However, in my experience, most of these spreadsheet gurus catch on to Quantrix Modeler in very short order.  When they begin to use Quantrix, a light often goes off in their heads with the realization that they can do their tasks with much more speed, nimbleness and accuracy than they could have with the spreadsheet.  In a real and tangible way, they are able to take their financial modeling skills to a new level and offer even greater value to their organization.  That is a great motivating factor!  On an organizational level, this is a major benefit to finance executives who are asked to make their teams more productive with fewer resources and is one of the key reasons they come to Quantrix.  On an individual level, proficiency in Quantrix Modeler is a desired skill in the marketplace.  Quantrix has over 1000 customers in 50 countries and we are often asked to refer individuals to employers who are looking for talent.  So, investing the time to develop Quantrix skills will pay dividends in one’s career.  For those who use LinkedIn, I highly recommend adding Quantrix Modeler to your skills in your profile.  Simply log in to LinkedIn, go to Profile|Edit Profile, scroll down to Skills and Expertise, click Edit (blue pen icon), and type “Quantrix Modeler”.  Then hit the Add button.  You never know where your Quantrix Modeler skills will take you!

David Phillips

dphillips@quantrix.com

www.linkedin.com/in/davidphillips11/