Beyond Excel I: Productivity Tools for Lean Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Freelancers

Al Chen, Excel Trainer & Coda Evangelist

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13 Videos (1h 24m)
    • Introduction: Beyond Excel 1

    • Intro to Productivity Tools

    • Productivity Tool Workflows

    • Why Coda and How to Sign Up

    • What's Different about Coda

    • Using Tables to Boost Productivity

    • Custom Views of your Data

    • Filtering and Sorting your Data

    • Basic Formulas

    • Mixing & Matching Data in your Doc

    • Comparing Excel with Coda

    • Asking for Help

    • Outro


About This Class

If you have used Excel, you will love this class! This 3-class series dives into Coda, a modern productivity tool powering freelance consultants, lean startups, and bigger companies such as Uber. 


  • A framework for understanding the productivity tools modern businesses and startups use today
  • The basic features of a modern data and project management platform called Coda used by companies such as Uber
  • Skills to build your own tools that don't require you to be an Excel guru or computer programmer
  • How to organize data for your projects including content marketing, HR, operations, and more!


  1. Create a free Coda account by signing in with Google using this special link (first 500 Skillshare students bypass the waitlist and get instant access)
  2. After you have created an account, open the Workbook & Syllabus for this class (copy the doc) with this link or this link


The spreadsheet has not changed much in 40 years, but your team and business have evolved quickly. In today’s Slack-a-fied workplace, real-time updates and collaboration are the norm. Why are we still stuck in Excel and Google Sheets?

This class will explore productivity tools that are meant for today’s modern worker and team.


This class is meant for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and businesses who need to stay productive with SaaS-based tools over expensive software programs. You will need to have an account with Coda to take this class. Coda is in beta and invite-only, but will be free for Skillshare students.


  1. Make sure you have a Google account
  2. Register with this special link for Skillshare subscribers and click "Sign in with Google"
  3. Follow the on-screen steps to integrate with your Google Drive
  4. Open the Class 1 doc for Skillshare via two methods 1) Copy doc from this link or 2) Open the doc directly with this link (It will say "View-only" in yellow)
  5. If you opened the doc via method 2, click "Copy Doc" in the top-left corner dropdown menu dropdown menu next to the doc title):


6 of 7 students recommendSee All

This class is easy to follow and Coda is simply amazing. Although Coda is still missing some small features here and there as compared to Excel i.e. merging cells, other Coda features outweigh the slight "down-sides" of which. I believe Coda will keep evolving and I simply can't wait to explore further. Well done.
The underlying premise of this app, combining tables and text into a unified database, is intriguing. The class offers a good overview of what Coda is and how it works. Coda makes reusing data easy and quite flexible. It's easy to see its potential to streamline workflows for individuals or teams. I was disappointed to see that at present the application runs only on Chrome. After 30+ years in corporate America I dislike in principal seeing applications tied to specific platforms. However, this appears be a temporary situation.
Great class, Al!! Thanks. I've been a fan of Excel for years, and Coda has already sparked the same kind of interest I had way back then in Excel! I can't wait to try and develop something for myself in it. Thanks for the links to bypass the Coda invite system.





Al Chen

Excel Trainer & Coda Evangelist

I have been an Excel power user for 10+ years. I started learning Excel when I was a financial analyst at Google. I used to think people who were good in Excel were accountants who thought a fun weekend meant writing formulas in spreadsheets! Boy was I wrong.

I founded KeyCuts, an Excel training and consulting company to Fortune 500 companies. If it isn't clear I'm addicted to Excel, I also blog about Excel once in a while on my site.

Over the last 4 years...

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