Stupid Google Tricks: How often do you cut your hair?

The other day I realized that I enter my haircut appointments into Google Calendar, so I can search for “haircut OR (the place I get my hair cut)” and see when I’ve gotten my hair cut:

Dates of my haircuts

Then I was reading Google Apps Hacks and Hack 25 caught my eye: “Show the difference between two dates”. A formula like “=INT(A2-A1)” will automatically compute how many days passed between the date listed in cell A1 and the date listed in cell A2.

If you copy and paste a date from Google Calendar’s search results into a cell, it will automatically format a nice string like “May 2, 2007″ to “5/2/2007″. So it was easy to copy/paste when I got haircuts into a Google Spreadsheet. Then I used the date formula to compute the number of days between haircuts. As Philipp Lenssen points out in his book, once you’ve entered the date difference formula “=INT(A2-A1)” in one cell, you can click the cell to highlight it and then use the handle in the lower right of the cell to copy the formula. Just like that, you can see how long you waited between each haircut:

Graph of my haircut periodicity

Then it’s just 2-3 mouse clicks to add a graph of the time between haircuts. And if you use the “=AVERAGE(B3:B10)” formula, you can see that on average I wait 45.75 days between haircuts, or about 6-7 weeks.

This tip does have some practical value. When the haircut place asks “Do you want to make your next appointment?” you’ll know how far ahead to schedule your next haircut so that you don’t get too shaggy. :)

47 Responses to Stupid Google Tricks: How often do you cut your hair? (Leave a comment)

  1. As silly as this first seemed it could come in real handy in lots of industries. Time to start playing with Google calendar in the office.

  2. You really need to get out more.

    (but I know what you mean!).

  3. lol, this is one of your funnier posts, eh?

  4. You gotta *love* silly examples such as this one.
    They make things easier to understand, as I can project myself in the situation easily (despite the fact that I only get haircuts like twice a year… being a woman can hold some advantages) ;)

    Thank you for the tips, Matt !

  5. Who still makes hair cut appointments?

    I’ve just walked in to the barber shop and waited no longer than 10 minutes every time. It’s much easier and lets me get it cut on a whim.

    Also, doesn’t Google have barbers on campus? Or do you still have to make appointments with them?

  6. I reckon you could also use gcal to note time between changes in rankings up or down for any site, as a potential way to spot which sites are up to

    trickery,
    mischief,
    shenannigans,
    hijinks,
    monkeyshine
    and even
    tomfoolery

    Google has made me more productive in the past year via their free tools than I was the past ten years I used cluncky ms apps

    -ew

  7. So Matt, is your birthday around the middle of September?

    That would explain the first unusually short gap, if we assume the second earlier-than-usual haircut is for visiting relatives at Christmas!

  8. Really cool. I look forward to seeing tighter integration of features like this in the future. My only issue with using something like Google Docs is that if my data disappears, oh well. The user is at the mercy of your backup systems. Granted yours are likely a ton better than the average users so I suppose its mostly a win win.

  9. The beauty of being bald. Haven’t been to a barber in 4 years. ;-)

    Brent D. Payne
    Just a Bald SEO Guy ;-)

  10. Mine is two to three days on average. Longer than that and I feel like a hippie.

    Another Bald Guy

  11. Wow, if my wife saw this post she would realize that I am not that geeky at all!

  12. Harith

    Matt,

    “I wait 45.75 days between haircuts, or about 6-7 weeks.”

    45.75 days is too much. Is it a forest or something :-)

    I wait only 21-28 days, or about 3-4 weeks!

  13. It’s about my average time. But I am not so geek to speak of it in this way! :-P
    Bye,
    Emanuele

  14. Ryan, I’ve tried the “get a hair cut at the drop of a hat” and the “make an appointment in advance” approach. Scheduling the haircut in advance seems to get me slightly better results.

    Nullvariable, it’s easy to export your data out of Google Docs. Here’s one write-up of how to export everything you want, for example: http://www.avirtualexit.com/2007/06/09/how-to-backup-google-docs-and-spreadsheets/

    Harith, you are clearly much more talented in the hair-growing department than me. :)

    Dave and Emanuele, you knew I was a geek when you started reading me. :)

  15. ErnestHemingway

    Matt time to go on another vacation lol
    funny post
    I will try out some stuff like urz..

    Cheers

  16. Matt, Just wait until you have kids!! and then you will see how much time you have left in your day for such activities.

  17. The main problem with Google Calendar is search.
    When you search for something and press the Enter key, it searches within public calendars, instead of your own calendar(s).
    Do you really think Google Calendar users care about public calendars at first when they are searching for an event??? I don’t think so.

    PS : I just did the same thing than Matt. On average, I get an haircut every 109 days, 3.5 months :-S

  18. “This tip does have some practical value. When the haircut place asks “Do you want to make your next appointment?” you’ll know how far ahead to schedule your next haircut so that you don’t get too shaggy.”

    Yup, Matt. It’s time to get out more.

  19. Ryan

    Sorry, but that’s rigoddamndiculous :o)

  20. Matt, I need more data! Do you use clippers? I shave my head but used to get a high and tight with the #2 guard on the sides or #3 on top. If you have the hair dresser / barber style your hair then the length would be different each time. Did any conferences force you to get a nice trim before being a keynote? I’ll shoot you a reminder on June 17th.

    “When the haircut place asks “Do you want to make your next appointment?”
    Just ask them to pull up a Google spreadsheet so they don’t have to count out the days. A great plug!

    Thanks for the educational laugh. I did pick something up from that.

  21. Morris Rosenthal

    Matt,

    I didn’t have to worry about the Y2K bug messing up my own haircut calendar because the periodicity is 100X yours, say, 20 years.

    Morris

  22. June and December are pretty big outliers did you get your hair cut in October and just forget to put it in the calendar? A spontaneous act? Letting your hair down?

  23. Dave (Original)

    Is the INT function needed? I would have thought it’s only needed for dates AND times.

    In most spreadsheets, dates are stored as whole numbers with 1 representing the start dat for the Application. Times are stored as decimal portions of 1, with 1 being 24hrs.

    Therefor: 5/16/2008 10:53:00 AM has a TRUE value of 39584.4534722222

    Matt, off topic I know, but you are not answering me in the relevant topic.

    Matt, if don’t like Google to be seen sponsoring ‘how to spam us’, why not raise the concern WITH relevant Google department as apposed to removing my link that shows Google sponsor the SMX?

    This is a serious question from a VERY concerened white hat Webmaster.

  24. That actually has some great uses for tracking sales and aiding forecasting for regular customers. (or at least it seems a lot easier than our current system) thanks Matt – I’m off to implement it in our office right now!

  25. Thanks god you took your last haircut just before the web2.0 .. Lol

  26. Way to much time on your hands!!

    Never really put that much thought into scheduling a haircut.

  27. Harith

    Matt,

    Would you be kind to tell us how to remove the URL of a robots.txt file which got indexed by Google (for example http://www.sample.com/robots.txt) while continue making robots.txt file available for googlebot to crawl it?

    Thanks.

  28. Matt, You may want to check out the standard deviation, and the correlation to handsomeness. Handsomeness() is an asymptote: as you get shaggier and shaggier most women would be turned off but there will always be one women who thinks your sexy so the handsomeness function never really reaches 0 but only approaches it. Thank god for wifes. : )

  29. Not just geeks on wheels … geeks on blogs now :)

    Watch how fast that domain gets taken (geeksonblogs) it is available as of right now … I don’t have any use for it but maybe you do Matt! Geek up the good work. :)

  30. JR

    I think you need to go one step further for the less inclined and create the “Time Between HairCutts” gadget…
    Seriously… time between oil changes, dentist appts, calls to your mother, etc…

  31. Harith

    Matt,

    Here is a very practical twitter tool; Twitter Karma :-)

  32. Matt:

    I don’t know what makes me more jealous, the fact that your one of the baddest SEOs or that you can go 2 months without a hair cut.

  33. Hi Matt,

    You don’t seem to surprise me, but Google can rather put all those functionalities in one box..Anyway..funny enough I remember when next by just when the hair starts itching lol..

    Jay

  34. I’ve just walked in to the barber shop and waited no longer than 10 minutes every time. It’s much easier and lets me get it cut on a whim.

    Dude, it’s even easier than that if you’ve got the right head.

    Step 1) Examine hair.
    Step 2) If shagginess > acceptable level, hand razor to GF/wife/significant other/all three and wait 10 minutes.

  35. I don’t know which is more nerdy, the post itself or the fact that I actually read the whole thing. Interesting post though.

  36. david2tm

    If only it was possible to show in Calendar reminder to “cut hair” based on “average” time + last time… and do all that stuff automatically… well almost automatically

  37. Matt Cutts gets his hair cutts.

    omg I am clever.

  38. Michael

    This seems like a lot of work for a “labor saving” trick… My time/effort/etc saver for haircuts was to figure out how frequently I want to cut my hair–every three weeks for me (I’m a guy with relatively short hair)–and then have a “standing” appointment, every three weeks, same person, same time, every third Thursday. I used to do it every fourth thursday, but that was too long (though luckily I didn’t require graphs to figure that out).

  39. At first, I thought to myself “wow, google stock options helps it’s senior employees work on silly questions,” but then just sat back and realized you were giving us a stupid example to probably a useful tool.

    Looks like you’re hooked on this book lately…

  40. Chilli, glad that you got a good idea out of the tip!

    Harith, I think the url removal tool would let you do that.

  41. Harith

    Matt,

    Thanks for reply. However the url removal tool requires:

    1. use a noindex in a robots meta tag
    2. return a 404
    3. block with robots.txt

    Options 1 & 2 not applicable. So we are left with option 3. WOuld you be kind to tell us how to blok http://www.sample.com/robots.txt while continue allowing Googlebot access to robots.txt?

    Thanks a bunch.

  42. Don’t get me wrong, i love Google App’s…but hasn’t MS Excel been able to calcualte the number of days between dates…forever now?

    You make this sound like the most amaziing revelation on earth…

  43. Harith, now that I think about it more, why not use a noindex directive in the robots.txt file?

  44. Harith

    Thanks, Matt.

    That sounds reasonable. Haven’t thought about it :-)

  45. Brenda

    i try to go by moon phases. the only problem is, i have looked at three to four sites and all of them differ. i know i missed the 11th and 12th of october, but i also read the 30th. can anyone tell me what day and time is best for cutting my hair to grow? thanx

  46. Rupert

    @ Tim & Matt: It’d be great if this function can be use to connect the numbers of dates you managed to get in any given month as well as the average rating of those dates and how recent the haircut was at the time you asked that person out. How’s that for geeky?! ;)

  47. Ron

    Funny… good post, the real question is where do you get your hair cut…?
    Ha…and if you notice some missing hair you can always check our blog:)

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