Facebooked: Clickbait and Customer Manipulation in the era of Social Internet

Challenge Lab

INDENG 185 (4 Units)

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Class Description

Technology is now manipulating us at a level that is unprecedented. Many problems have emerged with the rise of new media and technology, from effects on our individual mental health, manipulative product reviews, to social influence on individual beliefs. This course asks students to identify an underlying problem in different types of platforms — social networking, social audio platforms, disappearing stories, social live streaming, shoppable social platforms (finance, music, health and wellness, games, etc.), and business social media to create novel solutions that will help foster more meaningful experiences and prevent mass social level manipulation.Traditionally, customer discovery is taught to center on individual user experience. In this class, we are looking at the ways in which user experience can help us identify the problems, where participant behavior, culture, and complex systems of new media and platforms are the medium of solution design. In this experiential class, students are encouraged to explore and apply understanding about how we interact with media and technology on the psychological level.

This class will ask students to build multi-disciplinary teams from all fields to collaborate and develop a new business from the ground-up by applying design thinking and other innovation frameworks to see through the wicked problems and come up with innovative solutions. How might we imagine a social network that appeals to our better natures than Facebook does today? How might we design a stock trading product like Robinhood that avoids mass purchase of worthless stock? Working in teams, students will invent novel solutions that leverage tech, prototype solutions, and explore customer value propositions, business models, and go-to-market strategy, all while gaining fluency in the behavioral and cultural principles that might shed insights on how these tools are applied for ethical innovation. Our class will culminate with a series of fast pitches to tech executives and investors to present the startups they worked on during the semester.

Challenge Lab

Challenge Labs (INDENG 185) are classes for students of all academic backgrounds who seek a rigorous, interactive, team-based, and hands-on learning experience in entrepreneurship and technology. This course uses a unique pedagogy, The Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship that involves the use of games, industry guest speakers, team exercises, videos and labs to cover the early part of the startup lifecycle. Each Challenge Lab has a different theme. In this highly experiential course, students form start-up teams to create technology solutions or services to address a broadly-defined problem posed by an industry partner or social challenge.


Takaaki (Taki) Hirakawa is a technology product manager turned professor, and joins us after teaching at Kalamazoo College in Michigan and spending the majority of his career in the corporate world. He has held product management positions with Yaskawa, a global leader in industrial robotics, Hoechst AG, German life-sciences company, and SAP SE in Europe and the U.S. His experience includes strategic partnerships, product concepting, customer retention development, brand and media strategy. Earlier in his career, he held many different hats, including a stint as Wall Street investment banker at Drexel Burnham, advertising agency executive at Dentsu, and technology research consultant at Gartner. He is a professor of Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Evergreen State University in Washington. After 20 years in the tech industry, he studied innovation at Stanford University, and obtained a PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2017 while simultaneously enrolled as Intercampus PhD student in Tech Entrepreneurship and Behavioral Economics at UC Berkeley. BA, Macalester College; MS, University of Wisconsin-Madison; PhD University of California, Santa Cruz

Mr. Mehdi Maghsoodnia has over 25 years of experience building high technology companies in Silicon Valley. He is currently serves as Chief Executive Officer at 1health.io and General Partner at Combustion Ventures where he does early stage seed investment in digital health and internet related startups.  He previously served as CEO of Rafter and SVP of CafePress, SVP of Intellisync and Founder of FaceTime communications. He has served on the board of many tech companies including Spinezone, Medcorder, PBWorks and Actiance. Mr. Maghsoodnia is also an early investor in Dollar Shave Club, StrongDM, Swiftly, TubeMogul, SpineZone, TurnCare and other technology startups. He did his undergraduate studies at Berkeley and his graduate studies in computer science at Stanford.

View current and previous class offerings of Challenge Lab.

Refer to our Courses page for a full list of SCET courses and current class offerings

and our Certificate page for more information on our Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Technology.


See the Enrollment FAQs on our courses page and certificate page and contact scet-academics@berkeley.edu for additional questions.