Mary (cc’d) forwarded me your latest soft/hard bounce rate report this morning. I must admit, in my seven years of marketing I have never encountered a set of data such as this. The tenderness and raw emotion you convey in such a simple medium touched my soul. My heart, which I thought had hardened in the face of so many soulless depictions of keyword optimization results and B2C market segments, ached from the sheer beauty. On this grey workday I wept at my desk.

I was immediately struck by your choice of font. Letters sans serif shows your desire to cast off the fetters of movable type. We have entered into a world no longer reliant on crude slugs of metal smashed against paper. Without these physical bonds, our SQL queries can transcend the world and rise to their rightful place in heaven. It’s the data-driven equivalent of Rembrandt’s The Ascension. To be in the presence of such beauty in no way makes me regret my degree in art history.

And don’t think the significance of Tahoma, a standard font in the initial release of Windows 95, escapes me. Using a twenty-one-year-old font, one at the beginning of adulthood, is a statement that your artistic childhood is over. Your work has matured since your 2015 SEO Keyword Preliminary A/B Testing Results. It’s ready to make a name for itself — to excel, if you will — on the world stage.

Oh, but the colors! Most traditional report builders bold the top row but you do away with such tradition, choosing instead to change the cell’s fill color to #BFD2E2 and leave the font untouched. Clearly, this is an allusion to the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat as described by Marx. Instead of superficially bold leadership, separate from and superior to the other cells, we have a ruling class that is identical to the true heroes, the workhorses that convey the bounce rate data we need.

“But we bring order to the data. Without us it is meaningless!” the imperialistic column headers bawl, secure in their high towers. But behind the pale blue curtain, they are no different from the working-class. Deep down we are all 11-point. It’s a sly wink to the marketing assistants who will be forwarding this report to other marketing assistants around the globe in the service of middle management.

But yours is not an idealistic representation of the labor struggle. You chose to include the campaign “End Date” column, even though it’s well known that our recent upgrade to Cognos 8 is unable to access this specific row in the database (to the great frustration of our IT department). The result is a conspicuous white line of empty cells in an otherwise rich tapestry of data — an obvious memento mori. We all have an end date, your work declares, but “we know neither the day nor the hour.” Every row in the cosmic spreadsheet of the universe ends in a question mark that not even our modern-day soothsayers, the business analysts on floor 7, can answer until it has already come to pass.

When faced with such perfection I admit I was eager to find some fault. My gaze came to rest on the first column, “Item id.” Surely, I thought, David knows our internal style guide requires all abbreviations include a period. How could he make such a glaring error? Then it occurred to me: this is no abbreviation of “item identifier”! It’s a reference to the primacy of the id, Freud’s concept of humanity’s basic, instinctual drives. To have this in the first column and the first row, cell A1 — Adam, the first man — indicates that no matter the rigidity of the framework, this piece of art, and by extension all of man’s creative endeavors, are subordinate to our baser desires. I have yet to discover your allusions to the ego and superego in the spreadsheet, but I am certain they are there.

From the moment IT hired you after 18 months of temping, I knew you were something special. But I could never have imagined you would reach such enormous heights with your work. You have created art that transcends time and space; a perfect entity that no doubt will change humanity for the better.

Mary brings up a good point, however. It’s still defaulting to paged format when you export it to Excel 2007, which is a huge pain to sort. Can you fix that in the next iteration? It’ll have to be before Thursday. Russell thinks we’ll increase our conversion rate by starting the campaign before the holiday weekend.


— Kevin