I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people throughout my career. Largely without burning bridges too badly.

Sometimes I’m asked by one of those great people to make an introduction to another.

Few things give me more joy than making connections between impactful people. Likewise, being the one to make a meaningful introduction is usually valued, respected and remembered by the people you connect.

But making such connections, differs a bit from introducing oneself, an art which Inigo Montoya has taught us all how to master:

The thing is that not all introductions are appropriate, timely or a match…

With the rise of low-code products, many have realized that not only are spreadsheets programs, but the syntax that today’s spreadsheet software uses for formulas is the most used programming language in the world.

Microsoft is doubling down on this, expanding the use of the Excel formula language across many of their products, including Power Apps and other products in their Power Platform.

Not surprisingly, many of the “next gen spreadsheet” products — despite their various different approaches and use-cases — also make use of the Excel formula language. The familiarity to most users, lowers the barrier to entry for…

What are Product Principles? Why are they important? How to establish them? …and an example from GRID

I realized the value of Product Principles when working on my previous startup — DataMarket. As a group we found that we would often have lengthy conversations on things such as how to approach a certain design or implementation, what to prioritize and when to compromise. We also found that in the end we’d often come to a conclusion based on the same set of relatively few arguments. Why not identify those, discuss them thoroughly and formalize? So we did, and the DataMarket Product Principles were born.

These guided our work for years, and often referred to. I also believe…

GRID is now officially out of Beta, and our Pro Plan commercially available.

This is obviously a major milestone for any company, so I decided to jot down some reflections on the journey so far — and where we’ll go from here.

It’s been 2.5 years since two of us founders sat down in a small office here in Reykjavik and started typing away on our keyboards. $16.5 …

I’ve been starting companies for 25 years, GRID being my fifth as a founder. So I guess that if you buy into the 10,000 hours rule, I’m surely an expert by now.

And yet I don’t feel like one. I’m still making mistakes and learning every day.

Nevertheless, when I meet with younger entrepreneurs, or those that are new to it, I realize that I can indeed provide value by listening, asking the questions I know they will be asked by customers, investors and partners and sharing some of my experiences, mistakes and successes. …

Spreadsheet software is one of the market segments where at any given time there has been one dominating market leader. I believe that understanding how the leadership role in this market changed hands over time can teach anyone trying to disrupt or simply enter an established market some valuable lessons.

First a bit of history


The first spreadsheet — VisiCalc — was released in 1979 and held ground as the clear market leader in the early years despite dozens if not hundreds of other spreadsheet solutions being released in the first few years of personal computing.

VisiCalc (~1980)

Lotus 1–2–3

Lotus 1–2–3 came along in the 1983. It grew…

BBC’s news report on the matter

As you’ve probably heard, about 16,000 cases of the coronavirus in the UK went unreported because Public Health England used Excel and an old Excel-file format, unable to handle the amount of data in question.

Excel is what people use when they don’t have time to wait for proper IT support or the purpose-built tools to do their job. It’s usually a great way to get started, but too often becomes the “production system”.

It’s a testament to the power and flexibility of spreadsheets that “ordinary people” can use them to take care of so many of their day-to-day IT…

Two weeks ago, GRID announced a $12M Series A funding round led by NEA. I thought it might be interesting for fellow entrepreneurs to read a bit about our process and take-aways for fundraising in the — somewhat uncharted — post-Covid funding landscape.

For those of you that are not familiar with GRID, reading the backstory may be good for context.

To make a long story short from where that post leaves off, we raised a $1M Angel round about a month after the company was founded and a $3.5M Seed round 6 months later. …

Although we’ve only been working on GRID for a little over 18 months, the backstory is certainly somewhat longer.

In many ways it starts back in my DataMarket days. DataMarket was an early Data-as-a-Service company, started in 2008 and built by some of the same people as now work on GRID.

DataMarket was acquired in 2014 by Qlik, a pioneer in the “Modern Business Intelligence” space and still one of the leaders — together with Tableau, Microsoft (through Power BI), and most recently ThoughtSpot — according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant:

As DataMarket was all about delivering market intelligence data to…

This article has also been published on the GRID blog.

The other day I was listening to the Financial Modelling Podcast where host Matthew Bernath was talking to Kenny Whitelaw-Jones of Gridlines.

Their conversation was interesting, but one sentence in particular stuck with me:

“If you understand the financial model, then you understand the entire deal. It’s the one place where the entire deal […] is really captured.”

They then went on to talk about how this often means that the spreadsheet person on a project is the one that has the deepest understanding of a deal or a contract.

Hjalmar Gislason

Adventures in data. Founder and CEO of GRID (@grid_hq). Proud data nerd. Curious about everything. Founder of 5 software companies.

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