Online collaboration is a hot space right now. As many knowledge workers (such as engineers, designers, sales, marketing, support, operations) adapt to remote work, the need for working together while apart ー especially in different timezones, in vastly different functions ー has increased. We're seeing tools like Zoom and Slack become mainstream at companies, and even homes, around the globe.
Two tools that have fast-tracked companies' distributed collaboration capabilities are Notion and Coda. They blend writing and tables in one space so that teams have a central hub to do their work... or simply share baking bread recipes. It's like building your business workspace with LEGO blocks.
entered the world in 2016 as re-imagined wiki. Their insight was that file cabinets and paper were an antiquated way of tracking work, so you shouldn't have to use the same metaphors on your computerーespecially online. They have since raise 50M in funding with customers such as MetaLab and Loom.
came out of Beta in 2019 as a new doc for teams. Their observation was that while the physical analogs to documents and spreadsheets might be separate things in the real world, that doesn't mean digital versions must adhere to these constructs. Despite Microsoft (and later Google) perpetuating these constructs, Coda is re-imagining the doc with no barriers between words and data and have raised 140M in funding with customers such as Uber and Spotify.
Each platform takes a slightly different approach, so I've gathered from personal use, working with clients, and watching countless videos and reading many articles and forums (I've included the top
) how their unique designs are benefiting their users.
The collaboration surfaces of Coda and Notion feel a bit like documents (Google Docs) or spreadsheets (Sheets), and sometimes like work tracking apps such as Trello or Salesforce. You can organize information in a structured way and shape your trackers how you'd like, with inspiration from templates (both small forms as well as full blown examples from other users).
focuses primarily on organization. Everything is a Page, even rows in a table. Within each Page are Blocks which can be text writing, or can become code snippets, embeds, or tables.
feels like writing in a doc with a blinking cursor, text formatting, and share. In a doc, you can add Tables which provide spreadsheet formulas and interactivity you'd expect in an app, like Buttons.
As for the setup of your work, both tools house words and data within a Workspace, though there are a few differences that you’ll find in these diagrams:
What people are making
Both tools have an active community with webinars on Crowdcast (
), meetups, and a gallery of staff and customer examples (
) to highlight creations. Common business scenarios include running meetings, documenting processes, and tracking workflows like tasks, tickets, and product features.
is used by companies like
to communicate on research & development,
to keep client work organized and collaborative, and
as a team-wide wiki.
is used by teams at
to track goals,
to run distributed meetings, and
for 1:1s and career development.
Some companies use both, sometimes even for similar uses. Companies like BCGDV use
for managing scrum development and
for product delivery. Figma uses
for a product roadmap with their feature launch calendar and
for a wiki.
Using a tool goes beyond the product. It involves your working relationships and partnership with the people involved.
has a full-time support staff and an active community forum where makers trade tips and collaborate. Dedicated support, additional security, and admin controls are available for Enterprise Plans.
's support comes primarily from in-product content and their community of makers.
See how Coda compares with other tools: