My Photo


  • Chat with me
  • © Copyright 2006
    Rodrigo Madanes


  • Location: United Kingdom

One-Line Bio

My personal blog on user experience. Yes, personal.


I work at eBay, crafting its Strategy. It's fun being part of a company that helps so many people earn their living.

Before this, I put together and led the product design team at Skype. I hired the best designers and design managers from across the world, and brought them to London and Estonia to design the next generation of communication products. When I joined in 2005, it was a fast-moving VC-backed startup, with folks working on cheap Ikea desks in a single large room. Very startup-y. It was fun helping Skype setup its usability and design team, put in place solid processes, and nurture the team to become a high performance organization -- crafting world class products. Now Skype is a good solid global infrastructure company in communications. Cool!

Before Skype, I have had the pleasure of working with brilliant colleagues who made some amazing systems. Among these were Andy diSessa (Boxer, LOGO), who was my PhD advisor, and a colleague of Seymour Papert in the MIT AI lab. And also Dave Smith (KidSim/Stagecast, Xerox Star), who was the principal designer of Star at Xerox PARC. Dave was a fantastic mentor, who taught me a lot about how to design fantastic innovative systems. He's credited with inventing and coining the term "icons", designing the desktop metaphor, dialog boxes, and generic commands (you know, "cut, copy, paste, save"). You can read his classic 1982 article describing the Xerox Star desktop UI here.

I also learned lots from my colleagues at Oracle in the late 80's (SQL*Forms group), and the jumble of energetic minds I met at MIT in my CS undergrad, and at the Media Lab where I worked for a while.

A long time ago, I used to live in San Francisco, and worked endless hours finishing a PhD, while immersing myself on things like mental models, affordances, activity theory, metaphors, social cognition, ethnography, and of course usability and user-centered design.

Say hi to me via Skype! I'm rmadanes. Or send me an email at rmadanes at