(Click arrows to scroll through pix.)
Meet Al Baker
Al was born in Toronto, Canada; his family moved to New York when he was 8, and he has dual citizenship between Canada and USA. After earning varsity letters in tennis and wrestling in high school, Al attended the University of Toronto, graduating in 1975 majoring in Commerce and Finance.
He spent 5 years at Price Waterhouse in Toronto before leaving for a long-time client, Royal Doulton China as Manager-Corporate Planning and Accounting. Al revamped the corporate budgeting process there with state-of-the-art IT apps. After 3 years, Al left Royal Doulton for Radio Shack where he managed their Computer Center in Scarborough, Ontario. Bitten by the spreadsheet bug in 1983, Al went to work with the Information Center at Hudsons Bay Company in downtown Toronto where he honed his skills in spreadsheet model building and design.
EPS Consultants, a software vendor of The Bay, lured Al into the world of consulting where he specialized in Executive Information Systems, OLAP, and Data Analysis. Several years later, EPS split into EPI Canada Inc. where Al was their VP-Product Management focusing on activity-based costing solutions and business development in Canada.
In 1998, EPI was taken over by ALG Software in the UK and Al started to work directly for the US division. ALG was acquired by Business Objects in 2006 which was, itself, acquired by SAP AG in 2007. As Sr. Principal Consultant for many years, Al brought his experience with Activity-Based Costing, Predictive Planning, and Data Analysis to the federal government in 2009 as an internal consultant with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of the Chief Information Officer, International Technology Services.
When not trading online, or editing videos, or playing competitive tennis, Al is concentrating on his 3 lovely daughters and grandson!
He is an active member of Toastmasters International and has achieved his Advanced Speaker and Leader designations.
"What I learned from my years of working with many people and companies is that people will learn best when they have a particular need for something. You can have all the fancy product videos and promotional campaigns you want for sophisticated, state-of-the-art software solutions but the bottom-line is, people want very specific solutions to their own needs, and they want it fast and simple with as little cost as possible. Enterprise solutions are necessary for the big corporations, but even then, the many millions of dollars invested in those solutions can sometimes end up being worth far, far less. I think a healthy dose of common-sense and adherence to the K.I.S.S. principle is best. Solutions that are "elegant" and "idiot-proof" are rarely worth the money and effort to maintain them."
"There is almost infinite information available on Excel by doing a simple search. The problem with that is becoming immediately overwhelmed with the mass of videos, demos, how-to's, etc. by millions of so-called Excel experts. Most of the time, people have a very specifc need within a particular context; watching a 20-minute video on something loosely connected to what they want quickly becomes a waste of time. The best answer is direct communication to identify the user's needs and context, then providing a solution to address that directly and specifically. With web technology, that can easily be accomplished even if the parties involved are thousands of miles away."