A year ago, Coda launched in beta and announced their $60M funding round. I don’t normally keep up with venture capital news, but for some reason, I was skimming through my email and came across this announcement. Nothing too special: software launches and funding happen often enough. Yet I decided to click on Shishir’s, CEO of Coda, Medium Post linked from the email.
What he and the rest of Coda had to say was special and way different than the software tool / app noise. Having spent a few years in the Enterprise SaaS world, I felt a deep connection with their observations and mission. They were on to something. Shishir writes:
I’d ask friends what tools they used at work. They’d rattle off a list of packaged applications (Salesforce, JIRA, Workday, and so on). But when they looked closely, they’d admit documents and spreadsheets were running the show.
The way we use documents has completely shifted…we’re using documents as tools to run our teams….but surprisingly, documents, on a fundamental and structural level, haven’t changed.
What would we build if we started from scratch? How do we empower the growing class of people who stretch docs and turn them into ingenious tools?
Coda came as an answer to these questions. I was so amazed by this new type of doc / system building block that I sent an email to email@example.com:
I just requested Beta access, so I’m hoping it’s as good as it looks.
I’ve been working on Enterprise SaaS, where developers and designers craft systems for a large set of end-users. In my conversations, more businesses are using Zapier to connect best-of-breed work management tools (yes-even Google Sheets) and are using open platforms like Quip, Podio, and Pipefy. I think users should be their own designers; our role as technologists isn’t to build the app but rather to educate and make an easy-to-use sandbox for them to create their own operating system.
Is there a need for specific roles on the team? I’d love to have a conversation.
Well, my email caught their attention, and after months of conversations, I’m now sitting on the other side, helping to make this mission a reality.
Today marks another big step in giving makers the power to build their own docs/ apps. Makers can use Coda Packs (Product Hunt post) to tie together their tech stack, allowing them to design their own unique systems to make things happen in their businesses and in life:
- Recruiters adding candidates to Greenhouse and sending a Slack message when offers are out.
- Students organizing Wikipedia articles for their research reports.
- Designers adding their latest mockups from Figma into their project management and feedback docs.
- Photographers planning an outdoor shoot, texting the crew with directions and live weather forecasts the night before by combining Twilio, Weather, and Google Directions.
Check out the many other ways to connect docs to the world.