Why is Coda so cool? | Sheet Talking Episode 6

What is it about Coda that people gravitate to? Why Coda and not notion, google docs, excel, glide, spread simple.... what does it do? Find Scott on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecodaguy and at Coda School: https://www.codaschool.io/

Why is Coda so cool? | Sheet Talking Episode 6

What is it about Coda that people gravitate to? Why Coda and not notion, google docs, excel, glide, spread simple.... what does it do? Find Scott on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecodaguy and at Coda School: https://www.codaschool.io/

Watch it here:


Welcome back to another episode of sheet talking today. We're talking about spreadsheets and Coda  we're talking with Scott, the Coda guy. He goes by TheCodaGuy on Twitter, and you can find them at CodaSchool.io, which I'll put a link in the description below. Enjoy the conversation.

, I wanted to ask you first, like how did you get into Coda?

I was a public school teacher, so I worked in public education at the high school level, and there was just these nuts of things that I was asked to do.

Specifically I taught students with disabilities, and that realm of teaching is very different from normal teaching, aka it's governed by federal law. So there's a lot of things that as a teacher, you have to do in this order and in this way, and by these times and by this deadlines, and. In my mind I was like, because this is so reproducible and it's so like you have to do it exactly like this.

There's gotta be systems that people have in place that help them organize this information or that help them automate these really redundant flows. And so I spent, first like six months of my teaching, asking people, asking senior teachers like, what do you do? Like how do you handle this?

And it was just insane. They were, I quickly learned there was nothing, people just had Google sheets or they literally wrote it on a notebook and were like, I just have to remember to check my notebook every morning. And I was like, you send all those emails automatically and every morning have to go check every single email that came back to see if someone responded and then resend.

I was like, no. So I started looking to build my own. And so I actually first look at Google Sheets and different stuff and tried some different things and it just wasn't working out for me. And then I stumbled on Coda, stumbled on it really early when you still had to apply to get an account so you couldn't just sign up and start using it.

You had to like actually request very beta. Yeah, totally. I think they were originally called Krypton, so even before they were called Coda, I entered, so they were called Coda when I started using them. But I was right around that like maybe Switchy time. And that's how I stumbled on Koda and I've been using it obsessively ever since.

And what was the like value proposition that you, you might not remember this, but was it. What I see in a lot of things that are trying to take over,  Google Sheets and Excel sort of market. They'll say things like, some products will say, we go beyond sheets and we'll take your existing d data and move it, like glide or spread simple.

And then there's other products that. Oh, where we're beyond spreadsheets where we don't even consider they exist, we're this other thing and that's like Rose and Coda, at least in my mind. Yeah. What was the like value proposition? What was the, or the job to be hired that you were like, oh, this is the thing that's going to do the thing that I need done at that

exact moment?

Yeah. I don't, part of it is just chance and coincidence. I don't have a technical background. I don't have a software engineering or I think even. Five years ago, I didn't really even understand what a Google Sheet formula was. I was like, what the heck's a formula? And so I didn't make this very informed decision about oh, Koda is technically a relational database and it's benefits over a spreadsheet as this, and that will help me.

I think I just fell into it because it just seemed easier.

Yeah, it was. It was. Oh, this is the thing that I wish spreadsheets would do all this other stuff and these automations. So it was almost like, was it like,  yeah, I think some of it

was like I knew I needed to send emails for example, and I think I was like, that just feels hard.

Or like, how do I automate that off a spreadsheet? Oh, I think I have to write an app script. And of course, Back then, I had no technical experience. I was like, that seems way too hard. And there was this other thing where I connected with the Google Sheets expert and they're like, oh, to do that you have to write this macro.

And I was like, I don't know what's happening. Go to have these like buttons. And I was like, I can understand a button. I know what a button can do.

So and I think it just, I so you have this like non-technical background. You're like, I wanna get execute this thing. The thing that I wanna execute, it happens to say it on, it's one of the like, bullet points of this product. And you also seem to have an open,  one, you were looking for a solution at that moment. But generally speaking, it seemed like you have a, an openness to adopt new technology that doesn. That doesn't cons render you the technical person. So macros, app script, vba, anything that has some technical coding, other language, you're like, eh,  I don't really wanna step on that,  third rail yet.

But I want to have something to execute these things. So now this is, you said five years ago. Five or. Five or six. So like somewhere in there. Now would you, if without Coda, if you didn't know that co. If Coda didn't exist now, what do you think there's more solutions out there that are like this, that are like for non-technical people to do things?

Or would you go the other route would be like, oh, I'll actually, like I will program this. This is, this should be a

Python, I think co. No, I think code is the solution. I do code now, so I do code in JavaScript and I,  spend all day in APIs and I write app scripts and do all sorts of that stuff.

But I think code is just a, such an enormously like powerful tool. With a lower barrier to entry to access these more programmatic things than a coding language or than an app script. So I think it has all the like abilities. With easier to access interfaith. Yeah.

And so definitely, in my experience, awesome.

Same exact thing, about five, or I think four or five years ago, I never knew about a different name, so must have been maybe three or just bef maybe 2018 or 2019, I think. I tried Koda, and it was really cool. But I've also tried other things and it always scrambles my mind. I, in my, in retrospect, I don't remember what I used at Wyn because I've tried Airtable, I've tried rows, I've tried Glide, I've tried Spread Simple.

I've tried Coda. I've tried all, almost anything or everything that has said will replace a spreadsheet I've tried, but they all mix together. What separates now that like the deep, dark,  recesses and abilities of coda, what is the thing? You just said it generally, you said it eases the learning curve into coding.

It's a, it has a gooey, it has these sort of automations already baked in, but what separates coda from, everything else.

Yeah, I think it's.

Co likes to use the terminology of a high ceiling in a low floor. In terms of high ceiling, the ceiling being, what is this tool actually capable of? Where does it hit its limits? And low floor is, okay, can I start using it today? What kind of prior knowledge or experience or skills do gonna have?

And while of course there I think are gains to be made in both of those to raise Coda ceiling and to lower its floor, especially lower its floor, I think Coda ha easily has the highest. Online with the spreadsheet. I think a Google sheet in Excel. Those things are insanely powerful, like what you can actually do with those.

And I think code is the only tool that's on par with those. In terms of a sense of endless customability of I want this tool to do X may not know how to get there, but I know there's a way, and I think there's a lot of other tools like arose or an air table where. You're just more in a box.

Like they're built for a specific purpose and you can stretch 'em this way or that, but they reach their limits and you may not be able to do X, Y, or z. And I think the reason why I love Koda so much is cuz it's in line with the almost like endless potential of a spreadsheet.


That reminds me, when I tried Air Table, I was trying to do this one specific thing in Air Table, and this is almost 10 years ago now, like probably eight years ago. Let's try and do this one thing in Airtable, and it, I got onto Airtable because it had this,  interface where you could have the data and then two different views of it automatically, and you can change all the views.

And that was like, originally what Airtable was pushing out was like, it's not a spreadsheet where you have to change the structure of the data to view it. You have this data and this structure differently and. Again, that was like the main value proposition. So what I'm about to say is you can see the problem coming a mile away.

I didn't, I was like, okay, let me try this. And then I tried to also execute things as if it was a spreadsheet. So I tried to like iterate things. I had to take data away, put it back and iterated and count it, and then like I kept getting into these very quickly. I kept getting into, Cul-de-sacs or these dead ends where I was like, I don't think this can do this Simple thing that can do.

Yeah. Yeah. And then I would read in the documentation, they're like, Airtable is not a database. I was like, Oh, but I want it to be like, oh, oh, shit. Like I really, yeah. Got into a real tiny hole and they knew it, and they wrote it in the documentation of this, it doesn't do this. I was like, yeah, no.

Yeah. But that's why I think I love Koda, right? Like you don't really hit that, it doesn't do this piece. You can just keep extending it to do more and do more. And yeah, I think it's like, it is so different,  from just like a, an air table, right? Like I think someone built, rebuilt the snake game.

Like you can literally like build from scratch the snake game on Koda and it's like you ain't gonna do that on notion or on an air table or on these other things. And so that's I think where I just love Koda.

Yeah. And it sounds like you don't have to connect,  Zappier either, right? It sounds like it does some automations, no.

Yeah. Yeah, I used to. That was like a Zapier expert and did a ton of Zapier for people. And I actually don't have a Zapier account at all anymore. Cuz Coda has just replaced all those pieces for me in every part of my business. And we actually have, in my agency, we have some internal, like I have contacts with subcontractors, so if we need to call on it,  a make Integra or Zapier expert, we can, but we've never had. Because code is able to just handle every business use case

that we throw at it. Do those contractors know? You're like, I'll call you when I need you and then, yeah.

That is unfortunately the case right now. But,  hopefully still keep, good connections with them and sometimes they'll have be doing their own code of stuff and they'll last meet and help them out. But yeah. No, that's why I love code. It is, they call themselves the all in one doc and again, there are reasons why you might wanna use Sapir instead. I don't suggest everyone go that route either. I. Zapier's a way easier interface if you're gonna start doing automation. Zapier's gonna be way easier to leverage than using Coda for automation, cuz it's an automation first product and they do that really well.

But that's where Coda is this like huge platform. And they have those capacities though, that's not their main focus.

Yeah. I feel like they're orthogonally different. Correct me if I'm wrong. Or correct my angle. Cause I know I'm wrong, but like the angle might be off, not the substance.

It's is Coda mainly for,  internal tools? Like you, you have a set of data or you have something you wanna do inside of your company and you do it inside of your company and you have some external,  pieces like such as sending an email or something, whereas,

Zapier is you wanna connect to existing data somewhere else like Coda. You might wanna like start and a seed and grow. You could do

both. You can connect to data elsewhere and pull it into the, I think what Coda calls himself is the all in one doc and instead of okay, now I gotta go to this tab for my Salesforce information, then I gotta go to this tab to do this thing and I gotta go here to do that.

It allows you to bring in all your data from all these different places into a single,

Bring it in. So it's bringing, bring it in, whereas Zapier's we're gonna go connect to the DA data where it is

and do something. Yeah.

Not there. And Twitter, out Twitter, our thumbs. Yeah.

Which actually phenomenal

for internal tools,

which happens a lot. I feel like I spend a, an in exorbitant amount of time literally looking for things for Zapier to do. I just literally, I've known Zapier and I've had an account for a long time, and then for a long time I didn't, and I think literally weeks ago. I started using Zapier again cuz I was like, ah, there's some things I really have to do here. But I've spent within that, those weeks, not months, but weeks an in exorbitant amount of time just scrolling through,  zaps that like pre mitten, zaps. What else can I do? Like I really need

ideas of what you can automate.

Yeah. Ideas. Totally.

That's a lot of ideas. Do you find,  where do you find your ideas? To do something in Cota? Are you doing like me where I'm like, okay, I want Google sheets to do X because something else does it. So I'll, okay, how do I do that? I

think, I don't know, I don't know exactly what you do as well, but all of our ideas come from clients, so the client comes up with the idea, the client says this is their business problem. You gotta. And then we solve it. And so that's where I get home ideas. It's from clients telling me their issues and from me solving them. And

that's because your business is as an agency, right? Like you, Yeah.

You don't exist. Professional services

consulting agency client, right? Yeah. I have some other stuff. So I own the Coda School and it's Premium Coda course, like an AZ coda course,  with community and things like that. So that's checking along. I sell templates. I do YouTube, so I have some other, there's some other like revenue streams associated with my Coda work.

But the bulk and the majority of it is where a professional services agency that helps small to medium businesses, Create custom internal tooling, automate their processes, get insight into their data, create dashboards,  X, Y, and Z. Oh

my God, that is like the most boring things ever, which it's like, it's so fun.

You would want, I love data. Someone who likes doing those things to be doing those things. Like that's one of the reasons why. I had a job as a Google Sheet guy was because all of those things that are boring, I was like, oh, is that's like a puzzle. Oh, how do you do that? Oh, how, I don't know.

I have to go figure it out. I'm like, people's eyes would just roll back in their head of I need this to do this thing. Yeah, I have this business problem, and I'm like, they're bored. Even just saying the problem.

Yeah, but we, but I guess that's where it's good that we're there cuz we find it a lot of fun.

Yeah, I mean we're dealing with so many different services all the time. We're using Coda as like this anchor or this core, but we're using so many other services. So there's this one company and they sell, they're The Airbnb for clothing. So if you are going to the snow and you want the coolest, hippest $800 snow jacket to look awesome on the mountain, but you don't have money to buy an $800 snow jacket, you're gonna rent it from somebody.


they're like that middle person. I thought the Airbnb of clothes would be like, if I have only one leg, I can rent the other leg of my trousers out to someone.

That'd be really sweet. Like you wouldn't rent a single leg, but you could rent your own clothes out. So you could go into your clothes and say, I've got some really cool jackets.

I'm gonna put 'em up on this platform.

Parts of your closet, not parts of your clo you can rent parts of your closet out. You can't rent parts of your clothes out.

Not the sleeves or the buttons, but yeah, a jacket. So I've got a really cool snow jacket. Maybe I'm gonna, since it just sits in my closet for half the year, I can put it up.

On their site, and then someone else can look and see that's available. And they're kinda like that middleman, right? But so the problem we have to solve is they're like, we're doing all these manual processes of someone requests to borrow this jacket, and then we have to go and we have to text the person who actually owns it and say, this is when they want to do it.

Are you free? Is your jacket free by then? And if it is free, then they have to develop and print a label with a shipping provider. And then they have to text the person who wants to rent it and say, Hey, you're good to go. Your order's been processed. And so we're just automating that entire thing with them by hitting Twilio's API and hitting like shipping APIs.

And so we're automatically connecting, a buyer to a supplier. But code is just like the engine under it at all, right? Typically that would be a problem solved by an engineering team that it would take a engineering team some time and some money to get that done. And so we're able to stand that up, in a couple weeks on top of a Coda infrastructure, hitting all these different APIs and things like that.

So we find that super

fun. What is the like most fun thing you've done?

What is the most fun thing I've

done? Or like the hardest problem that you're like, I solved that because that's fun to me when I solve like a really hard problem and I'm like, I couldn't, I can't even believe I figured that out.

For example, it took me seven years to figure out how to sync two tabs on a Google sheet because that's what like Airtable does. It's two different views. And it was literally like midnight. One night I pop like very comically,  almost like in a movie. I popped up in bed and I was like, I know how to do it.

And I went and I coded it in 20 minutes and then I went back to sleep and I was like, did I woke up, I was like, did I do that?

Yeah. Trying to think. There's a lot of fun. I have had those moments literally too, where I pop out I'm going to bed. Wait a second. I know how to do this. I had a brain blast.

I come from the era. Where Jimmy Neutron was a thing. And so I speak in brain blasts if anybody knows those, oh, the most.

I stole this from Dali Salvador. Dali would have this,  thing where he would take a nap in a chair. He wouldn't take a nap laying down. He would take a nap sitting up with a bell in his hand, and when he was going to sleep in the liminal space between, Wake and sleep when he was there.

He always got an idea, so he, like the bell would ring as it fell from his hand and wake him up, and then he'd write it down, record it. But I do that. People do that with their phones. I don't know if you notice, like I, I will have like my phone and I'll drop it on my face. I don't know if that, yeah.

That doesn't happen for me. I don't know. There's so many things I could say that are fun. I really like the technical aspects of what I do, of digging into APIs and connecting different services or using webhooks to strike up automations and things like that. But I think I also really love.

Developing new workflows within Coda are new kind of like standards of building, like here's a best practice and because I've seen it like really work with, right? Not everyone's technical, but if I'm able to, in the end of the day, build a tool and there's a team who's not technical at all, who's using it and loving it and this is working so well for our team.

I might be able to identify, oh, it's because I did X, or I put this color in this button that triggered at this certain time, and it just like really helped everyone. So I think when I recognize kind of new standards or best practices in Coda that can really help people who aren't techy, I'm like, that's really fun.

I really enjoy that. That is like a very small. But powerful thing to have best practices and to acknowledge that they are best or better practices. Yeah. To know that, to analyze it, to have the forethought to say, oh, instead of me thinking like I'm doing this and I'm getting it done, okay.

That's one step is okay, I am able to do this thing, able to do a thing done. That's probably the first step people take in spreadsheets and,  software. Sorry, is I want to just get the thing done. But to take that's like next level shit is like understanding that just getting something done is not the most optimized way, nor is the most optimized way, always the best way.

Having the, yeah. I don't even know what, it's not really meta knowledge. It's the, you gotta have a little imposter syndrome, you gotta have a little insecurity, but you also have to have good, like technical or not technical. You have to have good chops to be like, okay, I can get things done.

And so triangulate all of these of and this question, is this the best way to do it? I have personally tried to stay away from the term best practices. Because I don't ever think that I, what I do is the best. I think, oh, it could, everything could be better. And that's where like better sheets comes from.

It's like ev, everything can be just like a little bit better. So Yeah. But that's like a great underrated skill to have is to acknowledge yeah. Oh, here's the operation thing you're doing. Here's what I'm doing. Let's just get the winner of these two and then do that across many years and many


Yeah. I just think it's something that only comes with years of experience, right? Because you have to actually have done something. And then gone, oh crap. Like I didn't foresee that effect on a team six months down the road with, under these circumstances. And I think it's, yeah, having done things wrong, a.

And realizing you're gonna wanna do it this way. Trust me, you may not see it yet, you may not see why, but you're gonna wanna do it this way. The,

an example I have, like literally just from last week, I had, I ran a workshop and someone,  and this is a classic problem and I even, I admit it, whenever anyone brings me like a problem they're having in their spreadsheet and they're like, here's this problem I'm having.

This ha What happened is they put some data in a spreadsheet and then they started,  formatting that data in very specific ways, like merging cells and merging row, like having a whole row for one piece of information that sort of locked in this section. And they started visually formatting this data around what they needed to thi how they needed to think about this data.

And then they. Their actual problem was then the next step, okay, I have this visual format, but like I want these pieces of data to be this like sh this strict structure. I want it to be flexible in this particular way. I want this data to flow here and when I add something here, I want it to automatically do this.

And I'm like, oh, great. Okay. Yes. Like technically you can solve that one problem, but you actually created the problem like years ago when you set up this data area and then started formatting it to your thing. And this is a classic problem in spreadsheets. The spreadsheet is versatile.

Like you can do anything. And you don't realize that that is a part of the problem. Yeah. It's a superpower and it's a super problem. Yep. And so I was like, okay, what we really have to do is, yes, okay. The thing you're trying to do, yes you can fix it, but hey, let's go back like 20 steps and let me show you this like way to organize your data versus a view.

And yeah, it seems complicated because you've been doing it this one way and you've been like editing these pieces of information for a year or months or weeks, whatever. But like it is going to be better. And funny enough, I don't think of those two things as like best practices versus worst practices.

It's. I think of them as okay, you can do that. Like you can do both of those things. And if you're never going to change this data, if you're really just gonna take this data from point A to point Z and you wanna do all these processes, do that. Yeah. Hopefully like that is the easiest, fastest thing is just take that data and morph it to what you need.

But if you are wanting to take this process and work workflow and. Do it again next month, you're gonna have to, that literally doesn't scale. It's a one x thing. You will have to do all of those steps again and again. Yep. I don't know. I just, this,  I don't know. This is a weird rant about best practices ever.

I don't know if you get that too with working with clients. You're like, oh, the problem you are having is this, but actually, like your problem was down.

Yeah. Yeah. I think that's part of the crazy work we do, helping not always trusting the client's not always right. But that's part of the reason why that is to help us surface those problems and figure out what's going on and propose solutions.

Yeah. And do you ever have huge,  breakthroughs with clients that they're like, this has changed everything? I do now. I see the world in like the Coda way or something like, oh yeah,

sure. I wouldn't, I would probably wouldn't keep getting business if I didn't. But yeah, code is awesome man.

And you talked about, you are an educator yourself? You have this Coda school? Yeah, I do better sheets. I have classes too. But like your particular journey. You got it. You, as you said, you went from non-technical to technical. What was that? That was a pull, right?

Or like a push, like what happened in that moment when you were like, I ne, or did you not even realize it did? You were like, oh, I'm coding now. What was that transition like?

Oh, actually becoming technical. Yeah. Interesting. I would say about, I've always been like interested in it. It's just seemed magical, like this thing people do.

And I'd say about four years ago I tried it. I tried like getting like Code Academy or some sort of course, and I started going through it probably, a good amount of time. Not just like a quick hot minute, but like two weeks. I just didn't get it. It just didn't click for me. I was like, I just don't understand what they're talking about.

And I left it and then, Last year,  Coda launched Pax. And I didn't code at all. At all, nothing. And I signed up for a, no, I don't even think I signed up for the beta. But PAXs, what PS are integrations on Coda and it's an ability for your Coda doc to integrate with another service like a Gmail and send an email or with a spreadsheet sync a spreadsheets data.

And I was like, that's not. I can't make my own packs cause I'm not a coder. And I think someone from coder reached out to me and they're just like, Hey, how's your experience with the PAX beta bin? I was like, I don't know what you're talking about. I'm not a coder. I'm not in the beta. And they're like, yes you are.

You're in the beta. Tell us how it's been. I was like, fine. So then that gave me the nudge. I was like, you know what? Screw it. I'm gonna learn to do it. I always, I've always had this desire to get Starbucks. I'm alar, I'm a big cyclist runner. And I was like, I would love my. Exercise data from Strava to come into a Kodi doc so I could analyze it and figure out how many miles have I ran, how many miles have I ran this week,  what's my pace?

And so that's what I set out to do. I said, I'm gonna learn coding enough so that I can build that. And I jumped into another course and it was a wholly different experience. It was a really weird experience where I was like, I already know this. And I just kept going to the lessons. I was like, no, I already know how to do this.

Like this is everything that Coda has been teaching me. And I think Coda. Coda's formula language, it's internal formula language. It's very enormously similar just to JavaScript, just how everything works. So it was like I was learning like, Spanish to Portuguese, right? They're different, but they're, they share so much common roots that if you learn one learning the other is far easier.

And so I think because I've spent so much time in Coda, I went to go learn in coding and I was like, wait a second. Coda has been teaching me how to code and stealth this whole time. And that's what I think is sneaky about. Platforms. So they call themselves like a no-code platform. But I think that's just a sneaky marketing.

They're, you're programming, like in these tools you are programming and you need to give yourself that credit. It's just in a different language. And so if you wanna make that jump to actually learn some different stuff, it'll be a lot easier.

Yeah. But that's a long process, and how to,  it is so like your journey.

A strict,  that's not for me. I'll try it. Even though it's not for me. I will attempt this. And it was an attempt that you wholeheartedly attempted. You're like,  I'm going to learn to code, so I'm going to go take a class. Here's a course. That exists. This is telling me I'm gonna learn how to.

And I'm gonna go in attempt to learn to code and it's a one-to-one thing. This seems so simple. I just have to see this course through and I will learn to code. It sounds so simple. And then in the middle of it, you're like, Oh my God, this is not what I signed up for or this is exactly what I signed up for, but it's not for me.

They might have been a hundred percent truthful and it's, it is the way to learn to code. But then you found a very similar path that I think most people actually take. Cuz I also took this path myself and I feel like it's a very underrated path to learning to code, which is.

Over a long amount of time and a lot of different tries of learning to code. Absorb this knowledge in different ways in Yep. You took the course. You went through some lectures,  you worked in a coding, a program. I don't wanna say coding language, but it probably is Yeah. Different language of coding.

Is this no. Code platform has a coding language you interact with a gooey or a visual. Sometimes people call it visual programming instead of no code. You interacted with it and then you realized, oh, I've been in it the whole time. Oh,  I've been technical and this happened to me too as a,  and it was literally almost, it's the same story every time where.

You end up, you need something done, which is, in your case, you had some external pull as well. You had the internal push for years. But it was the external pull of Hey, come on, join you. You are here, you're one of us. And you're like, am I? And then you're like, wait, I wanna get my straw, wanna get my exercise information?

I have an actual application that is bigger and. Not bigger, but like different than this technical thing. When the technical thing is the thing you wanna do and you're trying to go to it, it feels so far away. But when you have some application of that technical skills and you're like, oh, technical is the way that I get to this ultimate thing.

Everything opens up. Everything. Just oh my God, I've been here the whole time. It's been within me. It's the whole hero's journey the whole time. It's oh yeah, the magical gem is inside me and I'm, I just need to break the source. Maryland is

right. Yeah. But I think, yeah, learning to become technical, I.

Requires, I think it's similar to learning an instrument. If you just set out to learn an instrument and all you're doing is this wrote like press this key, then make that chord. It's not fun. But if you have in your mind like, I love this song, like I'm so passionate about this song and I want to learn that song, right?

You have this like goal in mind. You have this thing you're working towards. So I think that's what was for me. If not just I'm gonna learn to code whatever that means, but it's no, I'm gonna get Strava data. Dakota. And now I'm gonna learn what that actually means and what that actually takes to do that.

And so learned about APIs and learned how to read json, learned how to write JavaScript and learned about authentication models and all these technical things along the way. But was made, yeah, was made a lot easier by having code and knowledge prior, but I

think it's two, two different things that not many people talk about.

One is, I think you were. Technical, technically adjacent for many years. And you absorbed that information? Yeah. Yes. Going

through a technical adjacent is a good way to put it. Yeah.

Going through a course knowing I want to code and seeing What a function is, what is a variable? What is the syntax of this?

How to parse json, what is dot notation? What is Bren notation? Those things are truly like the parts that make up the coding, but it's yeah, the sum of those par the, some of the parts are much more valuable than each individual part and. By the way, I do this exact thing. I've tried to reverse engineer how I learn to code, and I've screwed it up.

Like I have courses where I have all of the like parts, but I'm like, I only have these parts because people have asked later on when I'm going through something, they're like, Hey,  what is that? And I go, okay, let me answer that over here. And so I myself, in my own courses and the own classes that I created, I have fallen into the same trap of, oh, here's a bunch of stuff you need to.

And then let's move on to oh, here's what you need to know. Yeah.

Also, that was really weird. I have a new mouse and I pressed a button on it and it muted me and stopped my video. Nice. That was surprising that

like a good button to have the like

fail. No, just, no, I just gotta figure out how to reproduce that.

That was silly.

What el The other way that I think of this is do I just. Instead of doing that, do I create a course where all we do is just a bunch of projects and it's actually that might be really fun. It's like we, because cuz how I learned it, and it sounds like you learned it too, is like he just did a bunch of stuff and you were Yeah.

Open. Yeah, that's a. It's like a whole theory. Coming from a traditional education background that's, it's called project-based learning, and there's a ton of research down on it that like that is the best way to learn. And so there are whole like schools that are literally just project-based learning.

Like you don't have an English class in a history class, in a math class, you. Have just large projects that are, have real life applications and then embedded in them. You have to use things like math and stats and writing and different things like that. And so it's this sneaky teaching, but you're incentivized because you're like working towards a real goal that you can actually materialize and actualize and.

And c Soly Sony, man.

But this is like a, I and I don't really, this is really a big problem, right? Like I'm having right at this exact moment in time, three years into better sheets, creating courses. Like I have, I've had to create a specified course and I fell into that trap. But better sheets,  the complete.

Better Sheets platform was built originally. Exactly. In that ideal is saying, I'm just gonna show you this really interesting thing and we're gonna learn a lesson that's embedded in there. Yep. But it doesn't necessarily work it unless the marketing of the thing is done well, and I didn't, I don't think I've marketed it very well.

Or it's just a number of years, like I'm three years into this thing and I feel like I haven't even started yet. I'm like, yeah, so many things I wanna do in so many things. What have you? Done in Coda School, that's different. Is it project based learning or is it like, do you have also courses? Cause I've, I'm in, I have a foot in both.

It's a both and,  right now the core that is teaching you formulas. And so the idea is how do we teach formulas? There's a lot of documentation on 'em. So just like technical and interactive documentation to learn wait, what does this actually do? And then most of it is activities.

And so you may learn about the formula called. And you'll have a little interactive sliders and toggles that like show you how it works in a coda setting. And then after you've read about it, learned about it, interacted with it, to understand what does this actually do, it gives you three mock scenarios and gives you like a whole context.

So we'll say okay, imagine that you're,  a marketing expert on a small team that sells shoes like. You have some form data coming in from customers and this is your end goal. This is what you wanna do. And so every single one of these activities is like embedding you in a mini project.

Cause again, I can't anticipate every single need someone will have on Coda, but try to anticipate a lot of like common business use cases or things that might happen. And now you've gotta solve that problem and oh, you have to use filter to do it, which you just learned about.

You just said something interesting that, I don't know if, it's interesting you said there's common business problems, but it seems okay, so you have the school that sort of takes care of, if you have common business problems, here's how you like, get the base knowledge.

But then you have the agency that when someone has an uncommon problem, because most people actually have uncommon problems, they don't, they do realize it or they'll say, people ask me all the time and. Questions and they'll start with,  I don't know if this anyone else has gotten into this problem or this is a unique problem.

They'll always say,  and 50% of the time they're correct, but 50% of the time they're wrong. They're like, oh, I get this question all the time. Yeah. Yeah. And so it, it sounds like you also have the agency that can handle those uncommon, deep problems that you're like, oh, let me help you, like really get through all of this.

But then the school that's here's the most common things that we've found. And we can also,  get you through on your own time, right? It's, is it asynchronous video or you have workshops

too? It's a, we have live office hours that happen, which are optional, happen every other week. So it's mostly a large asynchronous learning activities that you move through at your own pace.

That's awesome

When you're working in spreadsheets, are you an A one or a B2 kind of.


my gosh. A one, I don't know how to answer that, but that's what my gut says.

You wanna be right there on the board. You want the full spreadsheet to work in. You don't wanna, you don't want padding, you don't want extra space. You just want the data to be in its place.

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Absolutely. Yep.

That'll be it. What's your favorite formula in spreadsheets? Yeah. Or Coda for Coda has different things. They call it formulas, right?

They call 'em formulas. Yeah. I can't really say with spreadsheets. I don't really,

In Coda, what's your favorite formula? Filter A man of my own taste.

I've, I love it. I love filter. Yep. It's in my top five.

If you enjoyed that conversation and you want more conversations about spreadsheets, check out more here, spreadsheet talking. I have an entire playlist here on YouTube And check out the latest video here from better sheets here on better sheets, YouTube channel. Enjoy.