Originally published 5/9/2018
I feel a personal affinity with . Mostly because its unlikely genesis coincided with my unlikely genesis here at Coda. I’ve been nurturing an irrational fear of spreadsheets for decades, so I surprised myself last year when I decided to join a stealth startup devoted to reinventing them.
On my first day, I walked into our building on Alma St, helped myself to a cup of coffee, and meticulously Swiffered my desk. Not even an hour in, Shishir, our CEO, approached me and said, “Welcome to Krypton. Please help us rename Krypton.”
Naming is the most grueling task you undertake as a corporate writer. Long, contentious, high-stakes. Fraught with lawyers and localization specialists. And plagued by a maelstrom of docs, all containing different subsets of the same relative names. Naming is an honor, but man it’s a SLOG.
I began my usual process, except this time I used what was then referred to as a kryptodoc. Instead of the usual tower of words, I started writing names in a table, with a view for each stakeholder to select their favorites.
Then I wrote a few relevant sentences up top so I could stress test the names in context. It looked something like this:
Then I caught the Coda bug. These fill-in-the-blanks could be fancier, more efficient. I could build a little multi-select picker that could fill in all the sentences at once, a construct I started (inaccurately) referring to as my Madlibs formula.
FWIW you can also see this in this .
When our office started getting into puzzles a few months ago, I reached for my Madlibs trick. Not only does it showcase a particularly cool part of Coda, in that you can reference structured data in unstructured prose, it’s an accessible yet layered puzzle — conceptually simple with lots of opportunities for hidden subtleties.
For our fourth puzzle, we're asking you to create Mad Libs inside of Coda. Come up with questions, then bug the cubicle over for answers.
(Tip: You can use it again to write peer reviews later!)
Hint: No filter necessary.