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Next from Dan Bricklin: A wiki-spreadsheet combo

Spreadsheet pioneer Dan Bricklin is at it again. The father of VisiCalc is now working to bring the spreadsheet’s productivity to workgroups.

Bricklin, in his trademark flannel shirt (it’s nearly 100 degrees out!) said hello before heading into Ross Mayfield’s Enterprise 2.0 keynote. Mayfield is chairman, prez and co-founder of Socialtext— the company working on Bricklin’s “Social Spreadsheet.”

What this thing will do is combine the collaborative perks of wikis with the structural finesse of a spreadsheet, Mayfield said. That means it’ll let you do wiki-like things — searching, linking, authoring, tagging in the familiar row-and-table UI so beloved of Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 users.

“You can include a wiki page in a spreadsheet cell,” Mayfield said.

The analogy was made to the original compound documents, which melded graphics and tables and text from different sources into a (hopefully coherent) whole.

“We hope to have 80% of the features of Excel but create a better process for working across workgroups,” Mayfield said.

That would mean workgroups could work across organizational structure, geographies, you get the picture.

Barbara Darrow can be reached at

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