Existing Coda users received an email update in late December with the subject line “New features, and a gift.” The gift was a limited number of beta invites to allow existing users to explore Coda and it’s collaboration features with their team. The new features highlighted included: improved copying and pasting with automatic column format assumptions, table lookup column format and formula, and automatic revision history. Current Coda members can view the release updates from the Gallery.
Medium: It’s a new day for docs.
Coda co-founder Shishir Mehrotra posted the first and only official blog post on the Coda Blog in October. In it, he poses this question…
In the 70s, we started digitizing documents. We turned the leaf of paper into a word processor, the accountant’s ledger into a spreadsheet, and the professor’s slides into a presentation… [but] what would we build if we started from scratch?
The answer, of course, is Coda, which Shishir describes as “a new type of doc that blends the flexibility of documents, the power of spreadsheets, and the utility of applications into a single new canvas.” Shishir also reveals his inspiration for Coda, which occurred while working for YouTube and relying on a “handful” of highly personalized documents and spreadsheets instead of pre-built tools.
The Verge positions Coda as a solution “designed to make Excel a thing of the past.” Personally, I’m not sure I agree with this angle. A more measured description might be to make using Excel for everything a thing of the past, as opposed to what it was supposed to be for ー a grid of numbers for financial and statistical computations. The Verge also highlights Coda’s $60 million in venture funding, and a few more use cases for Coda:
A few employees who had expertise in spreadsheets ported over some of Uber’s data from Google Sheets. Then less Sheets-savvy employees began building new views of the data … The ability to link documents together, infused with live data that updates automatically, has led Uber to use Coda like a wiki in some cases. In others, engineers build complex views of databases that showcase data with a high degree of granularity, while the marketing team relies on a summary document that only displays key numbers.
Greylock: Our Investment in Coda
TechCrunch highlighted another possible inspiration for Coda…
Explaining a spreadsheet to a 6-year-old, it turns out, is pretty difficult and [co-founder Shishir Mehrotra] says he had to come up with a convoluted example to describe how to use it rather than starting from the primitives. ‘What we’re trying to do with Coda is building a new set of primitives. Some we built to be intentionally familiar. We start with a frame that feels like a document, but the set of primitives are really [intended] to be building blocks … They’re re-imagined in a way that we think it should be done in the first place.’
Mashable highlighted Coda’s flexibility…
Coda starts with a blank canvas like a document from Google or Microsoft, but then allows users to build on top of it. One of the platform’s beta testers described Coda as a “Minecraft for docs,” referring to the video game where people can build their own virtual worlds block by block.