Is Coda profitable?

I love Coda. I rely on it for my work, and I am building a business around creating solutions in Coda for companies, so I really don’t want this product to go away in a bankruptcy or an acquisition where Coda becomes, I don’t know, the engine for Microsoft Loop 2.0

So it comes down to two questions:

  1. Does Coda earn more than it spends each quarter (is it profitable)?
  2. Do Coda’s owners have a philosophy on whether to, and how to cash out if the opportunity arose (is it reliable)?

I really like the philosophy of companies like YNAB and 37 Signals that don’t take investor money and grow by being profitable. Companies that don’t require perpetual, exponential revenue growth to stay afloat.

I know Coda has raised a few rounds of funding, with the latest one led by Snowflake, so clearly investment money is piling up with corresponding expectations for investors. But that doesn’t have to mean that Coda is destined to the startup-trying-to-make-it madhouse.

I would just like some reassurance that this isn’t the case. Will the Snowflake investment help Coda consolidate and grow profitably, or will it grow and tighten a bubble of unrealistic expectations?

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Coda is not a listed company, so we do not know what it’s profitability status is. But there are other ways to measure company viability.

Most important, is the quality of the product. And there is no doubt about the quality of the existing product,. Nor about its future taking into account the Pack functionality implications. There is simply nothing else like that out there.

Next is the quality of management, and Coda has a very experienced CEO, with a team that constantly delivers good results. Coda has consistently improved in leaps and bounds since it has been introduced. The new partnership with Snowflake pairs an extremely flexible doc and app builder in front, with a very strong database at the back. Snowflake is also becoming a major participant in AI.

This will further improve Coda’s position with its core market: enterprises. Which is probably much easier to make money from, than an army of hobbyists.

While nothing in life is certain, I think Coda is as sure a thing as you get.

But, is just a ramble,
Rambling Pete

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Every investment comes with a certain amount of risk. You must take this into account when building any kind of business. For example, you can create an endeavor around Excel and there will always be a tiny chance of Microsoft deprecating it (though relatively small).

Coda is, at least for me, not in the risky side of things as of right now.

It’s a really valuable product, one users are willing to pay for (key in understanding if there’s product/market fit or not). Also, it has a vibrant community, which is a really strong network effect for them. Finally, their team is really good (check them out on YouTube or articles).

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Also, a very active developer community - both of docs as well as packs. I am an SAP consultant, so I am used to working in an ecosystem of implementation partners and consultants around the core SAP (R/3 & S/4 HANA) product. These guys range from Tier 1’s like Deloitte’s, Tier 2’s like InfoSys, all the way through thousands of independent consultants.

I believe we will see a similar ecosystem develop around Coda. We already have makers that have grouped together in companies that do developments, both of docs and packs. With the agreement with Snowflake in place, I foresee that this will accelerate greatly.

This acceleration will happen in multiple dimensions - not only will the docs grow in the functionality that they provide to their users, but there will also be a growing number of people coming to Coda. Both from existing Snowflake users, but also from new customers seeing the benefit of the Coda/Snowflake synergy.

P

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Do you suppose that a 3rd party might write a good backup for Coda? I would pay money for the peace of mind, knowing that if they do disappear, I’m not up a creek.

It depends with what you mean with backup.

But the short answer is no. It will cost hundreds of millions - you would basically need to replicate functionality.

Are you worried about your data in Facebook, Google photos, slack, basecamp, Gmail, SharePoint, Dropbox, etc, etc?

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Sure, good point. To produce a perfect form and function replica would not be practical, you would go broke. Agreed.

All I’m saying is, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

need to replicate functionality

Not really. I just want to get my company documentation back out. A lot of our people spend a lot of time writing this stuff, and yet it feels uncertain since it can all vanish at any time.

I don’t need automatic table filtering and webhook links to external services and all that jazz. It’s just wiki holding company documentation, and some tables holding project todo lists. Plenty of pictures. It’s a wiki.

It could all render out to dumb ol’ markdown. The worst effect would be, for example, a fancy user pick list column showing “Joe” would revert to simply the text “Joe” Tables would not be sortable, just static rows and columns.

But the data would be there, disaster would be averted. The instructions on how to operate the nitrogen pressurizer, with it’s photos, would be there. The instructions on how to enter an RMA would be there, along with screen shots of the RMA entry screen. The west coast project list would be there. Page links would work. That kind of thing.

The existing Coda backup is awkwardly placed (only one user can do it) and what it produces is unintelligible. The whole-doc PDF export has all the text (yay!), but the links are gone and the pictures are all tiny. The PDF is definitely better than nothing though, and we are glad to have it.

are you worried about Facebook
We don’t store any company resources on facebook. Do companies do that? Maybe some do.

google photos
We don’t store any company resources on google photos.

slack
We don’t use slack, but I understand it to be a type of company chat. I think the need to keep backups of company chat would depend on the business? Maybe lawyers need it? Maybe slack does have backup, I don’t know.

We have a different company chat, and I admit we do not keep backups of it. It would suck a little if we lost it, but not much.

basecamp
same comment as above

gmail
We don’t use Gmail for email, but we use our company mail server, and we keep very good backups of that. We actually needed to use them once, and they worked!

sharepoint
We don’t use sharepoint, but a buddy who does says that he keeps backups of his server.

dropbox
We don’t use dropbox, but we do use google drive, which is similar. It can be instructed to replicate all files locally, so if you back up the local files, you then have a backup copy of the google drive. We do this. But we avoid storing critical company info there – we just use it for easy comms with subcontractors.

etc, etc
We keep backups (on and off site) of our ERP system data, our files and indexed documents, our devops repos, various websites and our application servers.

This is all pretty ordinary. Keeping backups of company resources is just what you do.

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“Are you worried about your data in Facebook, Google photos, slack, basecamp, Gmail, SharePoint, Dropbox, etc, etc?”

Anybody who isn’t either doesn’t care about their data or is extremely naive - especially as the data becomes more business critical.

Coda’s profitability and investor philosophy aren’t publicly detailed. Snowflake’s investment aims for growth, but specific financial strategies remain unclear.