The Official Blog of Cogmap, the Org Chart Wiki


Archive for the ‘Cognotes’ Category


Cogmap’s Home Page is actually fairly awesome

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Cogmap’s home page is awesome. It is awesome like an Apple product. That is how awesome it is.

I was contemplating Cogmap’s home page today and how I could change it to make you love Cogmap more. (Cogmap is both severely under-resourced and was created pre-good tools for split-testing, so no other home page has ever really existed.)

Here is my story:

One of the great things about Apple marketing is that all they do for marketing is show you how to use the product. When people go buy an iPhone, they already know how to use it because the commercials they saw that made them want the iPhone trained them how to use it.

The Cogmap home page is fairly similar in that way. It does a great job of showing you what the product does and how to use it – it’s usability, much like a good Apple product, is its best feature.


Cogmap’s host, Media Temple, got hacked. Pardon the interruption.

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Yeah, that malware notice Google flashed was kind of the real deal.  Our illustrious hosting provider got hacked.

Sorry about that.  We have taken efforts to ensure that we cannot be hacked in this fashion again, regardless of what happens to Media Temple.

Cogmap Voted A Hot Startup in 2010!

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Baltimore Business Journal votes Cogmap one of “10 Startups to Watch in 2010“!

Thanks Baltimore Business Journal!  We love you right back!

Cogmap Updates

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Fixed some minor bugs and moved Cogmap over to PHP 5.0.  Shoot me an email if you see anything buggy!  brent @ cogmap dot you know what.

Cogmap Proves That People Stop Selling on Second Tuesday of December

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

True factoid, based on Cogdata, your sales people are not working as hard as they usually do.

Due to the business cycle nature of Cogmap traffic, there has always been a dip in Cogtraffic as the holidays approach, as our data shows.  If you point to one day that I look at and say, “Ah, a slightly unusual decline starts here”, it is the second Tuesday in December.  Each year, traffic started to decline there in an unusual way.  Isn’t that neat?

So your sales people started slacking there, in case you wondered.

This is also born out if you look at Traffic:

Or jigsaw:

So there you go, people shut it down on the second Tuesday of December.

I like to get emails like this

Thursday, December 10th, 2009


I’ve been looking for something like this for, God knows, how long?!? And here it is, you’re here, here to stay!

Just thought of letting you know, because with the type of work that my organization and I do, this is the magical pill.”

Cogmap Product Adoption

Monday, October 19th, 2009

It has been a little while since we had a nice Cogmap blog post, so without further ado:

Cogmap new charts since inception:


You can see the traditional initial PR burst and then how adoption has grown over time.  In May, 2007, we added a lot of maps internally, so that is an artificial spike.  March 2008 saw the introduction of private maps.   Adoption has fairly consistently grown since then.

What does it all mean?  Comment away.

Tradevibes Acquired, Can Cogmap Be Far Behind?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

logoYay!  Venturebeat recently announced that they had acquired Tradevibes, a crowd-sourced web site of company information, for an undisclosed sum.  A huge victory for Venturebeat, as the acquisition of crowd-sourced company information is a key strategy for success in the modern economy by any company.  Surely Venturebeat is just one good acquisition away (hint, hint) from dominating the tech news market.

Tradevibes is an interesting company.  Great pedigree: 4 paypal guys raise $900k from Ron Conway and Dave McClure, some of the best angels out there.  They blew past 10,000 companies in the database a year ago and I eyeball that they probably have more than 20,000 companies in their database today.  Is the data good?  I checked out Facebook:


  • Mark Zuckerberg, Founder & CEO [x]
  • Dustin Moskovitz, Co-founder & VP of Engineering [x]
  • Owen Van Natta, Chief Revenue Officer, VP of Operations [x]
  • Matt Kohler, VP Strategy & Business Operations [x]
  • Chamath Palihapitiya, VP of Marketing & Operations [x]
  • Gideon Yu, CFO [x]
  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO [x]
  • Jonathan Heiliger, VP of Technical Operations [x]
  • Elliott Schrage, VP Global Communications & Public Affairs [x]
  • David Fischer, VP Online Sales & Operations [x]
  • Christopher Kelly, General Counsel [x]
  • Ben Ling, SVP Development

A lot of those people are gone.  Dustin is gone, Owen is gone, Chamath is gone, Gideon is gone and Ben is gone.  And those are just the ones I know about, and I know nothing about Facebook.

Obviously, I live in a glass house, so I won’t be throwing stones, but the data is certainly no better than ours and in many cases sparser.  The page was viewed 50,000 times and has 100 edits.  The most recent edit was 9/30/2009, so you have to like that it was edited recently – although many obvious errors were not corrected. 1 in 500 users makes an edit, which seems realistic.

On Cogmap, Facebook has had more than 3,000 views and has 20 edits, so we are getting edits about every 60 views.  A more engaged community?  Hard to say, we have fewer maps: Slightly more than 7,000.  It would be interesting to compare their most popular companies and our most popular maps head-to-head, or global site activity, however we don’t have that data.

Anyway, enough head-to-head battles, let’s talk about the transaction: I bet it went poorly for Tradevibes.  VentureBeat has raised $300k in capital and doesn’t seem like it is awash in cash, so it is unlikely that Tradevibes saw the kind of exit that returns 10x to the investors.  Certainly, VentureBeat probably doesn’t have a plan to use Tradevibes in a way that generates the kind of value that would justify a 10x payout.

Did Ron and Dave get out with their initial investment?  I bet they did not get out at all.  I wonder if they realized Tradevibes was not working out and simply became investors in VentureBeat.  I checked LinkedIn in an effort to discover if the Tradevibes founders had stuck around.  All I was able to find was that Peter Chu, the CTO, left a year ago.  I had heard that Tradevibes was struggling, that is more evidence that the business was going sideways.

One of the funny exercises in small companies selling out to other small companies is that, if it is not an all cash transaction,  it is not simply about valuing Tradevibes – it is about valuing VentureBeat.   Assuming VentureBeat was not going to write a check for more than a million dollars (probably the only scenario where the investors get out whole), they took some cash and some stock – probably more stock.  If they took stock, then the question you wonder is how VentureBeat was valued relative to Tradevibes.

Here at Cogmap, we look forward to working with Matt and the VentureBeat team – or anyone that wants to crush them.  We love business development deals!

Couple of nagging bugs fixed

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Just a quick note since I have not posted a note of late.

Fixed a bug in version tracking for private maps.  That is nice!

Also, fixed a bug in chart creation that should make for fewer accidental public charts.  It now remembers the state of the radio buttons.

Look forward to posting more, but it is super busy this holiday season.

If you want to hear a funny story about me, I tell a funny story about myself over at Stoop Storytelling:

Using Screengrab to fix Cogmap printing problems

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Drumroll please!

Oakland A's Org Chart

One of the most common emails we get here at Cogmap Intergalactice Headquarters is that printing huge charts is bad, putting charts in a powerpoint is bad, and doing anything other than playing with them inside Cogmap is bad.

While nothing is better than playing with them inside Cogmap, we have found some solutions! The printing problem, interestingly, is not actually a Cogmap problem. We actually have a fairly nice print.css that renders charts nicely for printers. Unfortunately, web browsers do a terrible, terrible job of printing web pages that are very, very, very wide and they all basically explode trying to print things like Cogmap charts.

Here is what we have found works pretty well:

  1. Install Screengrab in your firefox browser:
  2. Go to the chart you want to print or put in a powerpoint
  3. Zoom to large (this makes the chart show titles)
  4. Press the Esc key (this makes the chart go full-screen in your browser)
  5. Use Screengrab to capture the complete page

Now you have a giant image of the entire org chart.  You can compress this into a powerpoint slide or use how you see fit.  Good luck!

Feel free to post more printing tricks in the comments below.