Listen, language and culture, it’s time to stop hogging the limelight. Sure, you’re endlessly fascinating and enriching, but so are the people who bring you to life with fun, effective language-learning resources. We’re talking about the awesome brainiacs (okay, mad scientists) that make up the Mango family tree. They’re bright, bold, and just the right amount of crazy, and it’s time to shine a spotlight on the Mangos in the Grove.
We’re kicking things off with the man behind the Mango. Eon Rodrigo is our brilliant In-house Designer; it’s been said he was born with a silver pencil in his hand, and he’s the reason Mango’s newly redesigned user portal makes you feel all warm, fuzzy, and motivated inside. We revoked his Photoshop privileges for the hour to pick his brain, talk shop, and try to get some dirt on him. Instead, we’re just crossing our fingers for an invite to Eon’s Friday night hang-outs; filled with good food, friends, and whiskey.
Tell us what you do at Mango.
I'm the In-house Designer at Mango Languages. I have my hands in many different aspects of the company, from design, marketing, and brand identity development all the way to UI/UX (translation: User Interface, User Experience). Working for Mango is the first time I'm working as a design professional. I've been with the company for almost 3 years and I have learned so much from marketing to branding and now, product design.
Mango’s new user portal is awesome, and you designed it. Talk about that process.
At first, I was only assigned to create the language icons on the Mango Connect user portal, but looking at the project as a whole, it inspired me to work on everything from the menu all the way down to the course cards. I wanted the language icons to give you this feeling that you’re looking out of an airplane window towards your destination, and you can see a landmark in the distance. I feel that if we try to evoke this feeling of adventure and exploration out of the interface, it adds to the motivation of our users to really engage in learning a new language.
It's also now more user-friendly because we've reduced the steps it takes to get in and get started. Before, as a user, it would take seven clicks just to get to a course. Now, it only takes three. It's also easier to log in or create an account from within Mango Connect. It was exciting for me to take on the challenge of weaving our marketing into the product so that we as a company can better communicate with our users.
Now let’s talk about you. Tell us about your interests, background, and – of course – your language and culture.
I was born in the town of Batac, Ilocos Norte, Philippines which has now grown into a bustling city. I moved to the U.S. when I was 12 years old. I speak Tagalog (national language of the Philippines), Ilocano (another language of the Philippines), and English.
Growing up, I used to go to an internet cafe with friends to play video games. One day, the owner of the cafe was working on something on the computer and out of curiosity, I asked what it was. This is when I was introduced to Photoshop. It was intriguing for me to see how you can create art on the computer. As a kid, I grew up drawing and sketching. So much so that I would get teased and people would say I came out of my mom's womb holding a pencil. Just the idea of creating something from nothing is almost freeing in a way, it’s therapeutic.
Outside of Mango, I enjoy doing art, drinking good whiskey, eating good food, and traveling. I have this belief that food is what really brings people together from all over the world. I think food is a great reflection of the different cultures that the world has to offer. In my down time, when I'm not stuffing my face and getting culturally intimate with food, I cut hair, which is something I find peace in when nothing else works. I'm also into sneakers, cars, and the art of rhyming. Anything that involves some kind of creativity, I find fascinating.
Final question: why Mango?
I love working at Mango because of the company culture and the people that work here. I wake up every day eager to learn something new. I get excited knowing that I have room for growth personally and professionally within the company. It's a great feeling when parts of my ideas end up inside the product. I love when we have Cultural Potlucks and everyone brings in food from their own culture. Without fail, I always get seconds and I end up loving and hating myself at the same time for over eating.
Sometimes, it’s a bit surreal for me that I design for a living. It's like a mixture of delight, disbelief, and amazement. It's like having a pile of puzzle pieces and the one you happen to grab fits perfectly with what you've put together so far.
That’s how we feel about you, Eon – you were Mango's missing puzzle piece (awww!). Stay tuned for more Meet Your Mangos, coming soon!