Cogo Labs Reviews | Glassdoor

Cogo Labs Reviews

Updated March 19, 2017
23 reviews

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Cogo Labs CEO Mira Wilczek
Mira Wilczek
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23 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great early career choice for learning skills"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to launch your career; skeptical about future of business model"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time

    Pros

    - fast paced environment contributes to high rate of personal growth and immediate responsibility
    - data driven company, where ideas supported by data are accepted regardless of who they come from
    - really intelligent, caring, hard-working, fun group of co-workers

    Cons

    - business model predicated on revenue from sending third party offers (email spam)
    - sending email gets in the way of potentially successful startup ideas and obfuscates actual focus of teams spinning out
    - promotion standards are very different across teams. employees are occasionally not put in a role to succeed. need to be lucky with role and manager to get quickly promoted.
    - salaries are low and equity is effectively meaningless unless an internal company has an exit (very unlikely)

    Advice to Management

    - people get burned out when they work solely on email marketing for years. particularly when they are lead to believe that they will be creating new startups during the interview process.

    Cogo Labs Response

    Dec 7, 2016 – VP, Talent & Culture

    Thank you so much for the review. You raise an interesting concern about promotions and I think there's more we can do to increase transparency of those standards across departments. As far as being ... More


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Pretty good first job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    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


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  5. Helpful (8)

    "Great Place to Start a Career"

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

    Pros

    Cogo was a fantastic place to start my career. Coming out of college, it's virtually impossible to find a job where you know how your work matters to the company, can directly measure your impact on the organization, advance rapidly, and advise senior leadership about what direction you think your project should go-- when you back it up with sound data, they'll nearly never turn you down. Instead they're more likely to reward you with resources and advancement and welcome your initiative.

    Cons

    Frat/drinking culture with pressure to drink and be 'one of the guys'

    Advice to Management

    Not all smart people are a fit for this fast-paced, growth-oriented environment, so stop wasting your time on them. Regular house-cleaning of people who simply aren't a fit will just enrich the experience for the rest AND grow your bottom line faster.


  6. Helpful (11)

    "Good place -- if you're young and like to party"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time

    Pros

    Cogo is a great place if you're new to tech and/or right out of college. You get a lot of responsibility fast, and Cogo is usually happy to pay for you to take additional classes or buy books if you need them. Very supportive of learning. There are a lot of good perks, like catered lunch every friday and all the snacks you could possibly desire. The vibe is casual and laid back. Competitive salary. Fast promotions, if you're an analyst.

    Cons

    The culture can get out of control. Picture 30-something exec levels doing shots in conference rooms with recent grads before the holiday party. Lots of drinking openly in the office, pressure to drink at social events. Some of the younger employees don't understand professionalism, even if Cogo is a pretty chill place.

    Advice to Management

    Get the bros under control.


  7. Helpful (12)

    "Setting the record straight"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


  8. Helpful (12)

    "Email Spam Firm"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 (3)

    "Most interesting job & best co-workers I've ever had"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time

    Pros

    Cogo has great engineers--some of the best I've ever worked with .
    Everyone--regardless of title--has the opportunity to learn new skills. Campaign managers & analysts can write code; engineers get into business analysis.
    Co-workers are amazingly smart and supportive of each other. It's a very rational & low-ego environment.
    Significant financial upside for employees when big successes occur.

    Cons

    Sometimes priorities change abruptly in an attempt to be agile and take advantage of new opportunities. If that's the right call, it's great. But sometimes it's the wrong call and can cause confusion and misspent effort.
    Extreme focus on working on the most important business priorities. Sounds good in principle but some potentially valuable projects with long-term payoff are consistently under-worked.
    Senior managers spend a lot of time in meetings, which cuts into time to working with their teams.

    Advice to Management

    Put more resources into training up-and-coming managers.
    Limit time spent in regular weekly meetings to make more time for ad-hoc meetings and small-group collaboration.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Best co-workers!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cogo Labs full-time

    Pros

    The team I work with at Cogo Labs is the smartest, most innovative, ambitious, and fun group I've been a part of. I genuinely like spending time with my coworkers whether it's tossing around ideas at work or getting drinks on a Friday or renting a house for the weekend to go skiing. They're awesome.
    Other pros:
    - stocked kitchen
    - cold brew coffee on tap
    - great benefits (they pay for your transportation to/from work)
    - catered lunch on Friday
    - generous raises
    - fun team and company outings (boat cruise, bowling, Codzilla..)

    Cons

    - half the office is brand new, but the other half hasn't been renovated yet
    - there are a LOT of acronyms and it takes a while to learn the technical lingo here
    - we always know the super high level plan and our day-to-day, but maybe not always the goals in between

    Advice to Management

    - communicate goals (long and short term) more frequently
    - celebrate small successes more


  11. Helpful (12)

    "Lack of vision"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


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