Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Coghead customers, developers and partners: where are you?

It’s been already a while since Coghead collapsed and we can get some things straight here now.

Well, 2 years ago on TechCrunch I was surprised to find that 17 000 of developers were working on Coghead platform. There is quite a difference between paid subscribers and free trial users, and it looks like CogHead counted their trial users as actual developers utilizing their platform.

Anyway, it has been already 2 years since this data publication to actual Coghead failure. I think that’s been enough time for gaining even more customers, developers and partners. And the thing that really bugs me is: Where are they?!!

To my opinion, this entire affair was just a giant soap bubble regarding business. Keeping these doubts in mind, I visited "CogHead to QuickBase - Migrating Your Data" webinar that didn’t last long. I couldn’t believe it lasted just for 5 minutes, with 3 participants. But even if not take this particular case into consideration, there are many other things. Apart from all above mentioned info I monitor Twitter and Internet on the daily basis, but see no activity there. No news, no migration assistance requests… Nothing!

Here are just a few facts I could find. Delivered Innovation former Coghead partner switched to applications developed and delivered on the SalesForce Force.com platform. Caspio Bridge was the first vendor that announced a successful migration, you can check it here. And QuickBase was the second one to be proud of the next migration case, what can be seen here.

Can any of vendors that helped Coghead customers disclose real numbers?

Is there anybody who knows former Coghead partners that turned their partnership with Coghead into a profitable business?

Summing up all this, the last, and the most important question, is there any of Coghead customers who is looking for help? And needs any assistance in transition?


  1. Jane, you are correct to conclude there were less Coghead clients than you might have expected. Remember though that it is very early days for these platforms - Coghead itself was still relatively immature, as are many of the other platforms. It's really not surprising that there weren't thousands of clients with real applications - the tipping point has certainly not been reached.

    That being said, we have indeed converted our clients Coghead applications to other platforms, and we have helped a bunch of other Coghead partners migrate their applications.

  2. Jane,
    I absolutely agree that CogHead customers and partners are really hard to find..
    It looks like there is a number of companies working hard to find at least a few CogHead customers in hope to migrate them to their platforms.
    TeamDesk, like other vendors, was quick to offer help. Sure enough, we quickly developed a powerful migration tool to automatically convert CogHead applications to the TeamDesk platform and started the rescue operation.. It was nice to see CogHead applications got a new life, and it was a pleasure to hear lots of compliments toward TeamDesk functionality, but it was also a kind of disappointment that we managed to help fewer partners than we expected, and it looks like other platform vendors got comparable results.

    I agree with Jonathan that the tipping point hasn’t been reached and we shouldn’t expect thousands of customers using each particular platform, but the question is: did CogHead at least have hundreds of them. Furthermore, assuming this is more or less a typical situation, I am afraid that we’ll see more collapses among the vendors depending on investors capital rather than their own profitability.

    Thank you,

    Val Karmazin

  3. Val and Jonathan, thanks. Thank you for paying attention. The thing is I am always intrested in exact numbers for you can't rely on such data as "many"..

    So, can you diclose precise numbers and share your statistics?

  4. I think there are 2 things to consider:

    1. It's a matter of degree rather than a matter of how many. I know a lot of Coghead users who were experimenting with the platform, but had not gone all that far yet. We have to remember that this was a very young company and this is a very new market. So even if there were thousands who were using it, they hadn't gotten all that far, so they could easily abandon what they had done so far.

    2. Coghead is a "situational" application platforms. Therefore, it was often used for a quick solution to a specific problem that didn't last very long. Again, easy to abandon.

    So I think it would not be meaningful in this case to look at absolute numbers and draw any conclusions from them.

    I also think that if the vendors who entered the frenzy over Coghead refugees had sat back and thought about their own client base and wondered what would have happened if they had been in Cogheads positions, they would have been less likely to get so excited.

  5. Jane,
    there is really nothing here to hide. So far, about a dozen CogHead partners used our CogHead-to-TeamDesk migration tool to convert their applications to the TeamDesk platform, and most of them are still in the trial mode, fine-tuning their applications. As our migration tool is capable of merging several CogHead applications into a single integrated TeamDesk-based solution, some of the applications are really mature.
    For example, one of the partners' application is based on a complex relational database consisting from 32 tables. Such applications may bring us many more customers when our partner starts reselling subscriptions based on our dbFLEX platform.

    yes, the SaaS industry is still pretty immature, and, naturally, some vendors are trying to look more mature than they really are.
    Good news are that the industry still has plenty of room to grow, which means that better days are ahead,
    however bad news are that most of the companies' expenses are already scaled for a much more mature revenue.
    If the company is profitable, with no dependency on investors capital, it would never come to a CogHead situation.

    Val Karmazin,

  6. I agree Johnathan, I think that the noise here did not equal the real business opportunity.

    The big question is, can these other tools match the functionality needed by coghead users and the answer is yes if users were using coghead as a simple database and mostly NO if they wish to do anything more complex than that and not have to code.

  7. I think Coghead users will have problems while data migration not because the tool they have been working with was so powerful, but because of the very concept of Coghead app development. Everything should be calculated on the form before data saving. And as far as Coghead backend base didn’t contain relation database it was the reason why one had to write twisted algorithms to support data consistency.

    Don’t want to make unsubstantiated statements anyway. You can take a look and check yourself what it took to calculate Running Total in Coghead

    and just compare it to QuickBase

    or TeamDesk solution of this issue

    What Coghead actions were all about? To be honest and call things by their right it was all about writing a program presented visually as flowchart construction.

    There is another example. It seems Zoho Creator is a simple product with an easy drag and drop app design, but in case you need more than simple form Deluge scripting is the only way out.

    If anybody extends app functionality by coding he should be ready to rewrite his code on the new platform.