Cogo Labs Reviews | Glassdoor

Cogo Labs Reviews

Updated July 12, 2017
28 reviews

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3.7
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Cogo Labs CEO Mira Wilczek
Mira Wilczek
6 Ratings

28 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Got to be part of a strong team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Got to be part of a strong team, got to work on a variety of fun, creative projects, although not all of them took off or went very far. Was also lucky to have a manager who actually worked to understand what I wanted in my career, and tried to help me reach my goals. EVen though ultimately my career took me elsewhere.

    Cons

    The type of projects Cogo is building are very early stage. Most of the work does not require deep data science skills. And for that reason there wasn't a lot of mentorship in data science.

    Advice to Management

    Try to focus on product creation, revenue is important but don't get so distracted by marketing that you lose sight of the opportunity to build cool things. Also please keep investing in the culture, make sure Cogo is always a positive environment for the employees.


  2. "people and culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing people, I really enjoyed everyone I worked with and the mentorship from senior people

    Cons

    Wanted to focus more on a product.

    Advice to Management

    A code review system would be helpful. I would have liked more feedback on my work.

    Cogo Labs Response

    Jul 14, 2017 – VP, Talent & Culture

    We totally agree, code reviews are super helpful, and our engineering leadership team is putting in more process in place around this. Getting thoughtful feedback and learning about best practices... More

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great early career choice for learning skills"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Cogo Labs is an excellent place to start your career. I've had many opportunities to learn new skills and take on projects that push my boundaries. The best part about the company is the people. Everyone is talented, intelligent and willing to share their knowledge with you to help you grow. While the project goals may not be great (see cons), you do get the chance to build and contribute to interesting projects that will better your technical skills. If you're a self starter who works productively without constant supervision, you'll fit in and excel at Cogo Labs. The company also has a good work / life balance and fun culture.

    Cons

    The biggest downside to working at Cogo Labs is the business model, which is heavily focused on sending affiliate mail. While the company does start and accelerate companies with actual products, the goal of improving these products and providing value to users is often pushed aside in favor of email monetization.

    Advice to Management

    My main suggestion to management would be to better align the actual goals of the company with what is promoted to new hires. I've seen many fellow employees have a great first year, only to become jaded as they learn more about the company and discover how reliant it is on affiliate email marketing. There is a disconnect between what is said and what actually happens, and when employees notice that disconnect, it can be jarring. That being said, they should continue to foster and improve a fun culture and career development skills, as those are the biggest selling points as to why someone should join Cogo Labs.

    Cogo Labs Response

    Mar 29, 2017 – VP, Talent & Culture

    Thanks for writing this -- I shared this with the senior leadership team & they all appreciated hearing your thoughts. We totally agree about better demonstrating & communicating the alignment... More


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Pretty good first job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Quantitative Data Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Quantitative Data Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very laid back work environment, great engineering support, and overall a really fun technical environment that challenges you solve problems in creative ways

    Cons

    Questionable business model. Sending spam is not a great way to earn a living.

    Cogo Labs Response

    May 18, 2016 – VP, Talent & Culture

    Thank you so much for the review! We're glad to hear you had fun here, and that you appreciated the amount of creative freedom people have at Cogo. We wish you the best, wherever your career takes... More


  5. Helpful (13)

    "Setting the record straight"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Quantitative Data Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Quantitative Data Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    EDIT - sorry for the poor formatting. Glassdoor doesn't let you format well.

    - Scalable, repeatable, easy-to-understand business model
    - Merit-based career advancement opportunities
    - Startups rarely have to take outside money, which leads to employees owning a higher % of the company
    - Maybe the fastest place in the Boston area to advance and grow your career. If you work hard here, you can literally be running a company by age 30

    Cons

    - Laser-focused on a particular model of growing companies, which isn't for everyone

    Advice to Management

    I'm going to use this section to address some of the recent reviews written here about this company, which have not-so-coincidentally overlapped in timing with a few departures on the Analyst team.

    Scanning the reviews, it seems like there have been two main concerns voiced about Cogo:
    1) The company largely sends "email spam" and has no vision.
    2) A "frat culture" where select employees are chosen to get promoted or get interesting projects for non-merit based reasons.

    I think the first concern is half-legitimate. Yes, Cogo sends a lot of unsolicited email for revenue purposes and to test email marketing deliverability. However, these activities are part of a larger plan to scale and grow startups without having to take outside money, and eventually create a market-disrupting product. This vision is repeated ad nauseum during monthly company meetings, so for people to write reviews claiming there is "no vision" is confusing to me. I feel like I'm bombarded with the vision every month.

    Maybe what these reviewers really mean is that they don't agree with the company vision, and that's ok. I understand that we're not exactly saving the world here with our activities, and if this isn't for you, then no hard feelings. But, please don't confuse "I don't agree with the vision" with "no vision" when writing a review. It's very unhelpful to prospective employees who are looking at Glassdoor for real info on the company.

    Moving on to the second concern - the concern of a culture of managers hand picking superstars (the connotation being that this isn't a "fair" merit-based approach). Of course, I can't personally guarantee that every promotion or new job responsibility is 100% awarded on merit, but this is a suspicious concern in the world of internet marketing and software development. Cogo is incredibly data driven, and every project is evaluated on clear, objective metrics. It should be obvious even to the most incompetent of managers which analysts are doing well and which ones aren't, because we work at a company where everything is objectively evaluated with data and statistics. In my experience here, employees who are consistently delivering quality analysis and results are promoted, and those who don't, aren't. And it's plainly obvious across the company which people fall into which category because of the transparency and objectivity of the metrics.

    I'm going to make a hypothesis here - maybe, just maybe, those people who were sitting in the back of the company meeting and playing with their phones every month (and therefore weren't hearing the vision) are the same people who weren't constantly delivering quality work. And maybe, when they weren't promoted or were told to seek employment elsewhere, they were more likely to cry foul about how they were "never given a chance" because managers "liked other people better." This could explain why these concerns seem to go hand-in-hand.

    And it's not exactly a new phenomenon that people are more likely to blame circumstances out of their control instead of themselves when their career isn't going how they planned. That's just how people are.

    In conclusion, you can probably tell that my experience at Cogo has been different than the experience of those one-star reviewers. As long as you buy in to the vision, and continue to work hard, there is no better place to start or accelerate a career than at Cogo.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Lack of vision"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Like everyone mentioned there are some great people at Cogo and while the company did have some unfortunate frat like qualities - certain groups and teams were as tight as family and that's an amazing culture to have. Cogo is also always close to the cutting edge on using new technologies and there is a huge opportunity to learn (given you get the right projects). However, the growth you will get technically is counterbalanced by the fact almost everyone works in sending email spam and the industry for that is withering, so your industry experience will likely not be viable outside of Cogo.

    Cons

    Poor outlook - focus is entirely on sending unsolicited email (most would refer to this as spam) and even if you are okay with that as your daily , the improvements to spam filters make are making spam struggling industry and there was always the looming threat that all of our revenue (and job security) could be gone any morning we walked in.
    There are also a slew of other issues that have been mentioned elsewhere, but the outlook at Cogo was what drove me away.

    Advice to Management

    More effort needs to be put into diversifying revenue outside of email. You have amazing employees and amazing technology that could be used for things other sending spam.

    Cogo Labs Response

    Dec 11, 2015 – VP, Talent & Culture

    This is such a thoughtful review, thank you so much! Diversifying (and growing!) revenue streams is definitely a priority for us and something that we are thinking a lot about. Our marketing platform... More


  7. Helpful (13)

    "Don't be fooled by their good PR"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Analyst in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs (More than a year)

    Pros

    Modern infrastructure, friendly work place, free food, smart colleagues, good work life balance, opportunity to learn a lot of technical skills

    Cons

    Extremely focused on email marketing, majority of which you may consider spam. No focus on innovation AT ALL, rampant favoritism (in fact managers decide who are 'stars' right off of interviews and give them interesting projects), a lot of hierarchy for such a small company. Getting good projects depends on your manager liking you or not. The C-Staff is incompetent, works like a frat. The turnover rate is increasing.

    Advice to Management

    Be customer focused

    Cogo Labs Response

    Nov 24, 2015 – VP, Talent & Culture

    OK. I really value your feedback, because I have no illusion whatsoever that Cogo is perfect and done evolving. This is why I love reading Glassdoor reviews! But I have to say: I think your comments... More

  8. Helpful (13)

    "Email Spam Firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Analyst in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great people - everyone's smart and most people are willing to help. Neat technology - you get to learn and use whatever technologies you want and can analyze tons of data.

    Cons

    Initially, Cogo's a great company to work for. Until you realize what exactly the core of their business is...

    Cogo is an email spam company. When recruiting, they pitch you on the "startup incubator" side of it, but all the startups under incubation are really doing the same thing - sending unsolicited commercial email. If you want to be a professional spammer, Cogo is the place for you, but otherwise you will wake up every morning in order to send users ethically bankrupt email offers.

    Advice to Management

    I get that spam makes money, but so do lots of other ethically / legally grey areas. Moreover, spamming isn't all that stable... with changes to spam filters all your revenue could dry up in a few months. You have a ton of smart people - why don't you diversify so that you're actually a startup incubator?

    Cogo Labs Response

    Dec 11, 2015 – VP, Talent & Culture

    Thank you so much for sharing your feedback—I really hope you’ll come talk to me or your manager about this, we’d love to continue this conversation and try to address your concerns more directly... More


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great people & culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The people, the culture...this is without question a great place to work at. You'll learn a lot and have fun while doing so. If you catch on in the early stages of one of the startup companies and make a big impact, you can see your career (and bank account) really take off.

    Cons

    One of the big drivers (at the time) of the company is getting people to open and click on e-mails, ads, etc., without actually caring about the end-user. This leads to a job where you may feel there is little impact but being a revenue-generator. Also, most employees understand that you'll usually be underpaid compared to what you would expect in the open market.

    Cogo Labs Response

    Sep 29, 2015 – Director, Talent Development

    Thank you for the review and the feedback! I would say that in a world where there is increasing attention paid to how online advertising works, we are motivated to care *quite a lot* about the... More


  10. Helpful (12)

    "Spam. End of story."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cogo Labs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    There was a kitchen, and the food on Friday was pretty good. Most team leads were great.

    Cons

    The people. There are two halves of Cogo, Engineering and the Vertical side. The engineering team was a fantastic group of people, and I wish I was working with them, but like most teams at Cogo they are also extremely "cliquie". If your title isn't analyst or you're apart of that team, then forget about friendliness or getting help with something. You'll be on your own trying to navigate the enigma that is email marketing.

    Advice to Management

    Stop hiring from the same three colleges. Ex-employees aren't joking about it being a professional frat. Also, stop telling people that you're an incubator. Cogo is an incubator the same way a machine gun is a hunting weapon.

    Cogo Labs Response

    Aug 5, 2015 – Director, Talent Development

    Sometimes we get reviews and I think: Interesting, we should think about that more. Sometimes we get a review and it confirms things that I already suspected, and I’m thankful to receive the signal... More


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