Archive for the ‘Human Behaviour’ Category

The Magicians of Big Data

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Beauty & Engineering met to shape a new era for the Internet. In this post I’ll talk about the beautiful side of engineering, and how creativity should be requirement #1 in any product development process, including the Internet of Things.

During my business education in Boston I was taking the HBS’s course Marketing and Innovation and the most important lesson I got was that ‘marketing is not about what you feel about a product but what a product makes you feel about yourself’.

After three intensive years executing product roadmaps in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley, I almost forgot that beauty is the final driver for people to embrace changes. We always require to product makers to include the desire functionality that make the product easy to use and reliable. Functionality is the key for a new product adoption in the market. However, customers are human beings. It is in our nature to get excited about extraordinary things such as atmospheric phenomenon, magic, music, art, stories, special visual effects and technology. We all know that there is a trick behind it, but what we really love is the way that magician, artists and designers create the beautiful illusion that distract us from the reality.

cesar eyeo eyeo festival

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take a break. I asked in my company some personal time off, I bought a ticket to Minneapolis to attend the famous EyeoFestival (thanks Ali Almossawi for the suggestion). As a product designer and also oil painter in my free time, I felt the need to reconnect with the ‘real world’ and the art of creating beautiful things. What a better way that meeting more than 500 artists, musicians, creative coders and data designers.

eyeofestival 2014The festival itself was stunning: at the Walker Art Center theater we could attend presentations from practitioners who are shaping the way people understand reality. Cesar Hidalgo provided a great visualization on how communication technologies had influenced our perception of global leaders. His project Pantheon helps us to understand the process of global cultural development. We listened to Paola Antonelli who bravely set new definitions for contemporary art leading MoMA’s acquisition of video games. Sarah Williams presented a very exciting crowdsourcing project in Nairobi to document and build the very first city transportation map. I particularly enjoyed the presentation from Lauren McCarthy who illustrated the ability of technology to mediate social interaction. I’m still thinking about her thought-provoking approach to solve social identity and self-representation challenges using crowdsourcing experiments.

Rafael Maranon paintings

This festival opened my eyes. I’ve been painting since I was 8 years old and I always had special passion for art [see my painting collection]. However, I was shy to identify myself as an artist within the high tech industry. After sharing ideas and experiences with such talented people at Eyeofestival, who seamlessly combine engineering and art, I feel today proud to be both an artist & engineer.

Actually, I already started contributing in this space by sharing during the Eyeoefestival’s Show and Tell a project I’m working on weekends: is a social ‘on/offline’ platform that allows people to like, share and save for later their favorite panting by ‘waving’ their hand over a sensor. I built this platform based on Raspberry Pi and Django in collaboration with a very talent student from Malaga University Antonio Sanchez.

eyeofestival rafael   eyeo likeart

This solution provides a lot of value for those who are tired of screen time and want to connect with the real world and real people using our primary communication tool: our emotions and gestures.

I really believe the world need to simplify technology interfaces to such extend that we reestablish the magic and the beauty in our lives…. One. Two. Three. Open your eyes now. (Snap finger)

Rafael Maranon

Social Games – Zynga in Facebook and Sega in Video Arcade

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

I have recently made a brief immersion into the social games developed by Zynga.  FarmVille and Cityville are the most popular one. More than 60 millions of Facebook’s users play this game everyday around the world.

I have to admit that last week was my first time playing Farmville. I have been among the first four millions Facebook lead users when I joined in August 2005 while attending Rowan University, NJ. Also I have contributed to increase adoption of Facebook among my network in Europe (the German copy StudiVZ never convinced me, and the Spanish Tuenti did not allow me to interact to my international network of friends). However, I am asking myself: why a $800M company like Zynga that has been running since January 2007 and has engaged almost a 10% of the Facebook population did not engaged me as well?

I consider myself a videogame person, and social as well. In fact, I grew up in my hometown in south Spain,  playing at home  in the early 80’s the Pong Console and later the Atari 2006 Jr, and also socializing with school friends while competing to get the battle records in Arcade games such as Green Beret, Tetris,  Golden AxeKung-Fu Master, OutRunDouble Dragon, etc. Although we also played with traditional social games such as table football, spinning top and pinball, my generation was in loved with the new video interaction.

Most probably this lack of adoption of new social games in certain demographic groups is because companies on this industry underestimate the power of social technology to change human behavior. I would pay more than $50 a month if a company provides me with a social game that help me to improve my Russian, German and Chinese languages skills. If, beside allowing me to interact with other people having fun and updated information about my network, those social educational games help me to improve my health habits (see Dailyfeat or Medhelp) or professional growth, I will pay even more (or maybe my employer will pay for it!)

Technology has changed the way we socialize, and now that Facebook is on its way to be soon bigger than Boeing, it is time to consider this kind of human interaction very seriously. Society has already changed the way indiduals have fun by using social technologies. How much time we are going to wait to prepare our educational systems and organizations in order to change the way we learn and work?

If during the 20th century technology assisted our muscles (energy, transportation and architecture are already achieved challenges), I am convinced that during the 21st century technology will assist mainly our brain: Social Technology for collaboration has already taken off!

… I forgot to mention that the arcade game City Connection changed completely my life when I was 7 years old: since then I always wanted to travel around the world and learn about great cities, people and cultures! Enjoy recalling those video games that shaped our life… and think about what kind of tools need the kids of today

City Connection:



Golden Axe:

Kung-Fu Master:

Double Dragon:


Atari’s Home Pong console:

buying kratom