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Archive for September, 2008


1,000 Private Charts!

Friday, September 26th, 2008

We launched private charts less than 200 days ago and have seen more than 1,000 private charts created.

Go Cogmunity!

(I frequently wonder if that word should have one or two “m”‘s.)

Watching the growth of private maps made me wonder: Is it growing faster than public maps when we launched Cogmap?

To answer that question, we cranked out a graph:

chart of growth

We can see a couple of interesting conclusions.  You can see the powerful growth in public charts thanks to the fantastic press that Cogmap launched with.  You can also see that our efforts to generate press around our free private maps was a dud.  Bleh.  You can also see a bump where we hit the home page of Delicious for no apparent reason other than the fact that Cogmap is cool!

Even given these phenomenal traffic bumps, private charts have kept pace!

Ignite Baltimore – October 16th, don’t miss it!

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Ignite Baltimore #1 Debuts on October 16th at The Windup Space

If you had five minutes on stage, what would you say to Baltimore?  What if you only had 20 slides and they rotated automatically every 15 seconds?

On October 16th at 6 pm, 16 artists, technologists, entrepreneurs, writers, bloggers, painters, and philosophers will answer this challenge at Ignite Baltimore #1.  The event will take place at The Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave in Baltimore’s Station North Arts District.  Admission is free.

What is Ignite?

Cities all over the world are organizing Ignite events, where thought leaders come together to share what they know and make new connections.  Full details can be found at  The official Ignite website is

Ignite #1 Speakers

Full topic descriptions and speaker biographies are available at, but here’s a summary:

Ignite #1 Schedule

6 pm: Mingling, drinks, and free pizza and pasta from Joe Squared

7 pm: First wave of presentations

7:50 pm: Mingling, drinks, and free food

8:15 pm: Second wave of presentations

9:00 pm: Informal festivity/merriment


Ignite Baltimore #1 has been made possible through the generous support of IntrideaGreater Baltimore Technology Council, Roundhouse Technologies,, and Smart Logic Solutions.


Admission is free, but please RSVP via EventBrite so we know how much food to order.


The event will be webcast live on is a project of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, in partnership with the Maryland Institute College of Art and Johns Hopkins University.


Please email Mike Subelsky at or call (443) 928-7417.

“Too Big To Fail!”

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Apparently, AIG istoo big to fail“.  This made me wonder: What is “too big to fail”?

It makes sense to me that if we are going to declare that a company is too big to fail, then if we are going to introduce new regulations, the first regulation we introduce would be that companies cannot become “too big to fail”.

I think it is safe to assume that when they say “too big”, they don’t mean market capitalization.  If they did, then Google went from not existing to too big to fail in record time.  I doubt they mean profit as these financial firms results can swing wildly year to year (AIG had $18.5 billion in losses the last three quarters, so their profits were clearly not being protected).  If they meant customers then McDonalds or Starbucks would be too big to fail and I think we can all agree that no one bails out Starbucks.  So we must mean revenue, right?

Let’s look at the companies we need to break up if AIG is “too big to fail”.  (Although obviously most of these companies promptly relocate to Switzerland, so that would have to be figured out.)  AIG had $110 billion in revenue, making it a top 20 company on a revenue basis, so the list is actually fairly short – and the fact that this is true maybe implies that if it is possible to be too big to fail than maybe AIG is!  Maybe the legislation would draw a clean line at $100 billion in revenue?

  • Wal-mart – hard to figure out what breaking up Wal-mart looks like.
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Chevron
  • General Motors
  • Conoco Phillips
  • General Electic – easy to break up
  • Ford Motor
  • Citigroup
  • Bank of America – hmmm
  • AT&T – breaking up AT&T would be funny, right?
  • Berkshire Hathaway – easy to break up
  • JP Morgan

After that, HP and IBM both appear on the list with ~$100b in revenue.  Once again, break-ups that would trouble no one.

Frankly, Wal-mart is the only company on this list that I think it would be strange or bother me some if they were broken up.

I Heart Behavioral Targeting

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Always appreciate it when someone takes me up on an offer and the result was that I had a super fun dinner last night with Greg (one of my favorite bloggers), Emmy, and Azeem.

Greg let me rant and rave most of the night about behavioral targeting and I came out of it thinking, “that was only helpful to Greg if he wanted to feel like that was never going to work.”  I spent some time after that, as Emmy would have said, “trying to think about something nice”, and I had a few realizations:

  • It is very hard to understand the value of behaviors, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have value.  Personally (i.e. my gut instinct), I would rather show ads to someone that I know visits finance sites every day, regardless of where they are at that moment, than someone that is on a finance site right now.  So a behavior that shows consistent interest + random current inventory > expensive inventory without a guarantee of true interest in a subject.
  • Great optimization, the best thing an advertiser could possibly have online, can theoretically happen two ways: Awesome algorithms; or OK algorithms combines with awesome data.  This is well-known.  So advertisers want what behavioral data exchanges are selling.  That has to be good!

Greg can also now testify to the awesomeness of Cogschwag, so enter my contests and win some prizes already.

AdRoll Strategy Review

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

adroll logo

I know its the political season, so it is all sound bites, but AdRoll has piled up favorable press in a way that I can’t understand.

So they are building ad networks but only selling them through their self-serve interface.

“Adroll assembles blogs into co-ops and promises to pay more than the average $2 CPMs that many sites in the middle get.”

“Unlike Federated Media or Glam, Adroll doesn’t go out and try to sell ads for the blog co-ops that have signed up with it. Federated Media and Glam charge their publishers a pretty penny for doing that (about 40 percent of the revenue they bring in), but they do come back with high-paying ads, typically $10 CPM or higher. By automating its offering, Adroll will serve ads that typically pay publishers less than that, but much more than the $2 CPM typically paid by your average ad network.”

Now, I will say that if your point is just “we will sell what we can and sell it at high prices, ensuring that if we actually sold something, you would make a lot of money”, that’s fine.  How do they drive traffic to the site?  Why will people shop there?  I can’t make heads or tails of that.  If you don’t push inventory, you never make money.

Furthermore, I went and looked at one representative network: Alt Music Community.  Why that one?  It was the first on their list.  Anyway, here are the problems I see:

  • The majority of the traffic is international.  That means it is basically worthless.
  • Tons of below the fold impressions in small sizes – the one site I looked at was AudioPorn Central – I loved the name! – and the 160×600 was 6 page dn’s down.

Is that worth $2.53?  (or $2.37 if you agree to take all those international impressions)

It’s a hard sell.  Especially with no frequency cap.

I will say that I like how they show you where on the page the ad is and they show you impressions by slot by publisher.  If they showed you ctr by slot – while there are data problems with just that raw number – it would go a long way toward helping advertisers value inventory appropriately.

Cogmap is looking for a few good testimonials (Awesome prizes!)

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I have been thinking it would be great if I went back and pulled some of our enthusiastic emails, but then I thought, “Why not make it a blog post! There have been too few of late!” So lo, there was a blog and a post was posted upon it. Prizes were found!

We are looking for some sweet testimonials to help prop up our guerilla marketing activities. In the comments below, give me your best stuff.

Here is what we need:

  • A good two sentences praising or despising the product, however you are feeling.
  • Your name/Company
  • A URL if you want us to link to it

Remember how success stories sound: “Before we had a terrible problem, but then we used Cogmap and now we are happy.” Keep it lively and active, keep it fun, and details make it better. Facts & Figures > *.

The most awesome testimonial will get a “Cogmug” and some stickers in the mail!

Thanks for the support!

Cogmap coming to a city near you!

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Lots of travel coming up.  If anyone wants some super sweet “removeable laptop” stickers, leave a comment or shoot an email to brent at cogmap and we can get some coffee.

  • NYC – Sept 10
  • SF – Sept 13 – 22
  • NYC Sept 23-24 – MIXX/Ad Week
  • NYC Oct 7-8
  • Baltimore Oct 16 – I am speaking at
  • NYC Oct 22
  • Baltimore – Nov 1 – SocialDevCampEast
  • SF – Nov 5-7

Busy month!